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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Gallery Thirty-Five: How style and interpretation combine as expression > No hindsight, Haynes, Arizona, 2006
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No hindsight, Haynes, Arizona, 2006

No hindsight, Haynes, Arizona, 2006

Compare this image with the previous photograph. In that one, I used metaphor to symbolize blindness to the future. In this one, I turn the metaphor around to imply blindness to the past. The future, on the other hand, is in full view. I abstract the cab of a restored 1930s oil truck by photographing its windshield from the outside. It wiper blades are at the ready, prepared to keep the glass pristine. Yet the cab’s rear window is opaque – the tanker behind it blocks the view to the rear. No hindsight here – this image is geared to imply only full speed ahead. Some of the elements of my personal photographic style should be easier for you to recognize by now – metaphor, abstraction, incongruity, human values, implication, symbolization, and the use of color, in this case a deep yellow, to energize the image.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30
1/500s f/8.0 at 30.5mm iso80 full exif

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Phil Douglis30-May-2006 20:40
Thanks for mentioning symmetry, Roberto -- actually this image features a symmetrical frame, (the windshield of the truck), playing against strong asymmetry (the wiper blades in differing positions and the steering off to the right hand side.). The yellow color is energetic and certainly complements the fulls speed ahead metaphor.
Rob Rosetti30-May-2006 17:41
I think the simmetry here play a strong role. The metaphor of "going ahead at full speed" is improved by the massive volumes and strong colors, imho.

Phil Douglis26-May-2006 22:59
You make a good point about my style here, Celia. I have never been afraid to confront my viewers with an idea, and I ruthlessly crop in the viewfinder until I feel that confrontation in my bones. You are right -- confrontation creates energy, intensifies color, and often abstracts the subject at the same time. You also are dead-on right about variety also being at the core of my style. I try not to say things in the same way. I vary my vantage points, my use of frame, and above all, the points I am trying to get across. Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful and very accurate observations, Celia.
Cecilia Lim26-May-2006 21:53
I think your vantage point and proximity to your subject is what expresses the concept of speed and moving forward so well. Being up this close to the cab, there is a very confrontational feel to the image, kind of "in-your-face- I'm-charging-right-through-so-get-out-of-the-way" threat. The dark shadows behind its windshield strongly imply that this cab does not care what's behind or in the past and that it is only keen on charging forward. The vivid yellow also plays an important role in expressing the energy and alerts us like a warning sign.

One thing I can conclude about your style is that you're never afraid to get really close to your subject or use colour to say what you need to say. When you do this your images leap off the page, punctuating the pace of your gallery with variety and energy. Your galleries are always so engaging, and perhaps we can say too that your style lies in its variety!!!
Phil Douglis24-May-2006 18:46
Thanks, Shirley and Kal, for commenting on this image. The color energizes the image by surprising us. As you say, Kal, this is an old vehicle, yet somehow the yellow makes it seem alive and new.
Shirley Wang24-May-2006 18:08
Very interesting idea powerfully expressed with the color.
Kal Khogali24-May-2006 14:13
A powerful and graphic image. I don't know what it says to me, but I do know that the brightness of the yellow contradicts what I instictively know is an old car...this is something old "energised" as you said. K
Phil Douglis24-May-2006 02:02
Thanks, Tim, for giving all of us still another way to interpret this image. I know what I wanted to say, but you see something here quite different, but equally important -- the divided self. All of us must live with some degree of duality, and this image can certainly function as a metaphor for the path we must negotiate.
Tim May24-May-2006 01:38
The metaphor here for me is the light and shadow. The way that one window is so clearly in the light and the other so in the shadow - it is for me a metaphor for the divided self - The wiper blades can keep us on a clear path as we negotiate this duality.
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