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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Gallery Forty-Seven: How using words in pictures can expand meaning > Broadway, Denver, Colorado, 2007
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Broadway, Denver, Colorado, 2007
08-JUL-2007

Broadway, Denver, Colorado, 2007

At first glance, this appears to be descriptive rather than expressive. But the longer we look at it, the more ironic the words in this image become. Broadway is a commercial street, and as it flows out of the downtown area of Denver, it is lined with cheap hotels, pawnshops, and saloons. I made this image on an early Sunday morning there are no cars parked along the street, and not much traffic, either. The Burte Hotel no longer exists. More recent signs tell us that it has become the Jumping Jack Pawn Shop. As the eye moves down the street, it notes, in reverse, a giant sign advertising Jonas Brothers Furs. That incongruous sign becomes the ultimate irony here the ghost of a luxury business dominating a strip of buildings that no longer dispense luxuries.

Leica D-Lux 3
1/500s f/7.1 at 13.4mm iso100 full exif

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Phil Douglis29-Nov-2007 23:30
Thanks, Patrick. Everything is changing. Every minute, every hour, and every day. As photographers, we can explore these changes, and compare the cumulative results, as I do here.
Guest 29-Nov-2007 18:10
I love this image. A fascinating record of change over time.
Phil Douglis11-Jul-2007 17:42
Thanks for reading so much into this image, Celia. That was my intention here -- to gather detail from both past and present, and let the words and colors and textures speak for themselves. I purposely walk the line between description and expression here in order let the scene speak for itself without any intrusion of photographic effect or technique. It is what is called "straight" photography, or documentary photography. What makes it all so expressive is what you have called the eerie mood of quiet that embraces the scene. Here is all of this commercial information, both past and present, yet not a person or an automobile can be seen. The image is absolutely silent in terms of activity, yet it is still full of contrasts and details that can resonate in the imagination. As you note, it does seem like a ghost town, a place lost in time. Thanks for seeing it in very much the same way as I saw it, Celia.
Cecilia Lim11-Jul-2007 10:17
What I love here is the quiet, eerie mood that you've created this early Sunday morning. With the absence of cars or people, you create a ghost town-like feeling which seem to imply the death of this commercial street's hey-days : the Burte Hotel, it appears has long gone, with its windows all shuttered-up. Another wall advertisement on its side representing a different commercial venture has been painted over. The furs business with a backwards sign seem to struggle against the flow of things. And the feeling of luxury and commercial wealth has been taken over by businesses that cater to people who are not looking to spend, but on the contrary, need money and need it quick. There also appears to be a strange mix of different style buildings which add to this queer mood. The changes that we see on this street tell us of the transcient and impermanent nature of life in this commercial part of Denver, which appears to be evolving any which way it can just to stay alive. This image is indeed beyond descriptive because there are so many details we can find in there that expresses the life and death of this neighbourhood. The more I look, the more is revealed to me. It's always such a joy to discover and interpret your images Phil. Thank you again for another wonderful treat!
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