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Phil Douglis | profile | all galleries >> Gallery Seventeen: Memories in Metal and Stone: How monuments, sculpture, and tombs express ideas. tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Gallery Seventeen: Memories in Metal and Stone: How monuments, sculpture, and tombs express ideas.


For centuries, people have reached for immortality by creating monuments, sculpture, and tombs that are meant to endure for the ages. Societies honor their leaders and heroes with statues and memorials. Such monuments have come to symbolize or represent entire cities or nations. For example, we associate Egypt with its Great Pyramids. India is forever linked to the Taj Mahal. The Statue of Liberty most frequently symbolizes the United States of America.

It is no wonder that when we travel, this kind of subject matter is often at the heart of what we photograph. We can photograph such places and feel that we have truly been there.

My very patient wife has long maintained that I prefer to shoot statues and tombs because my subjects never move. But I try my best to go beyond that. I like to shoot memories in metal and stone because they can often express the very essence of the culture and history of the places I visit. To be able to do this, I must do more than just record the appearance of the monument. I must somehow interpret its meaning, visually telling you how I feel about it so that you, too, will come to understand the nature of what I have seen.

That’s what this gallery is all about – making the collective memory of nations, expressed through their monuments and burial places, come to life in our photographs. I launched this gallery with a series of expressive images of statues, monuments, and burial places I photographed in the summer of 2004 in Europe. Since then, I've added more such images, made elsewhere. I’ve selected most of these images from my archive of digital travel articles posted at: http://www.pnd1.smugmug.com/ .

This gallery is presented in "blog" style. A large thumbnail is displayed for each image, along with a detailed caption explaining how I intended to express my ideas. If you click on the large thumbnail, you can see it in its full size, as well as leave comments and read the comments of others. I hope you will be able to participate in the dialogue. I welcome your comments, suggestions, ideas, and questions, and will be delighted to respond.