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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Gallery Fifty Three: creating energy through tension > Mending nets, Nha Trang, Vietnam, 2007
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Mending nets, Nha Trang, Vietnam, 2007
25-DEC-2007

Mending nets, Nha Trang, Vietnam, 2007

Fixing broken fishing nets can take more than two hands. It can require the dexterous use of two feet as well. Instead of showing the whole person fixing the nets, I use only the feet, simultaneously drawing on both abstraction and tension to express the unique nature of the task. The tension here is in the negative space between the toes of two different workers at the top of the image. There is a sense of energy crackling in that tiny space, an energy symbolizing cooperation and teamwork. There is also a spot of tension between another big toe and the left hand edge of the picture. That toe is almost in danger of being cut off by the edge, yet there is a sliver of space that saves it from amputation.

Leica D-Lux 3
1/50s f/2.8 at 6.3mm iso100 full exif

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Phil Douglis19-Apr-2008 03:33
Glad you spotted the triangle, V. We in the west are so used to doing things with just ten digits. In some countries, all twenty are put to work.
saltzman4012-Apr-2008 19:15
By zooming in on just the feet, you introduce us to a common occurrence in a culture that is very difference from us. If there had been hands involved we likely wouldn't have noticed the feet as our eye would have gone to what we are accustom to seeing mending a net. It is also interesting how you have incorporated the triangle here; another one of your chapters. Three feet rather than four.
Phil Douglis26-Feb-2008 20:37
Thanks, Tim, for seeing the symbolic chaos here. Somehow, these people always seem to sort things out. And that is what this image is all about -- a sorting out process. And yes, I do try to say more here by showing less.
Tim May26-Feb-2008 17:30
My friend Phil often speaks of the power of abstraction. Here so much of the scene is unseen. Yet the sense of the place and the chaos of the culture are strongly told.
Phil Douglis27-Jan-2008 19:02
Tense is a good word for this image, Carol -- which, of course, is a matter of tension at work. My toe placement was deliberate -- it increases tension. The confusion here is essential context. One wonders how they can ever make sense of it all, especially by using their toes to sort things out.
Carol E Sandgren27-Jan-2008 06:00
Ouch! (almost) Yes, that toe to the left certainly is lucky not to have been cut off! I have never seen this net mending with toes and feet but it makes for a fun, tense and confusing sort of image.
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