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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Six: Vantage Point makes the difference > The Waltz King, Vienna, Austria, 2003
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The Waltz King, Vienna, Austria, 2003

This gilded statue of composer Johann Strauss II draws hundreds of tourists. Most of them simply want to make pictures of their friends and family standing in front of it. My own photographic objective was different -- I wanted to make a point about Strauss and his music. Since the sun was behind the statue, I had to move behind it to stress the glitter of the gold. This rear vantage point also made the statue more symbolic and less descriptive. I moved as close and low as I could, aiming my camera towards the clouds to make the arch over the statue work as a frame within a frame and help thrust Strauss towards the heavens. The spirit of the Waltz King and his music will always float over Vienna. And that's the point I tried to make with this picture.

Canon PowerShot G2
1/640s f/6.3 at 7.0mm full exif

other sizes: small medium large original auto
Phil Douglis06-May-2006 00:32
This is one of the most famous tourist sights in Vienna, but most visitors would never think of walking around behind the statue to photograph it. By shooting Strauss from the back, I abstract him, and involve the viewer's imagination more directly than I could if I had photographed this statue from the front. Thanks, Shirley, for your comment.
Shirley Wang05-May-2006 12:38
Great vantage point. I remember taking pictures of his front when I visited:-) During my stay of three months, I saw this statue painted red, black, and ...not sure for vandalizing or renovation.
Phil Douglis28-Sep-2005 17:28
Glad my vantage point works for you, Ramma. That was exactly what I intended to imply here.
ramma 28-Sep-2005 10:24
still playing his music, Strauss travels from one world to another.
Phil Douglis14-Nov-2004 18:50
Glad you understand why I made this image as I did. Not because it was "different" or "more interesting" but because the vantage point creates both abstraction and incongruity that makes you hear this music, right?
nut 14-Nov-2004 07:41
Blue Danube :) I see. My father always play this song since I was young until now. I see.
He is an original of "Blue Danube".

I understand why you shot him in this way. If you take this photo from the front, I will hear
nothing and won't feel like I am here and listen to violin from this him.
Phil Douglis13-Nov-2004 06:52
Strauss is playing the Blue Danube Waltz. I can hear it, as it soars to heaven, up to those clouds. And that is why I took this vantage point, Nut. And that is also why I abstract the statue by shooting it from behind. So you can imagine both the man and his music!
nut 13-Nov-2004 05:42
I know you want to make a point of Johann Strauss and his music only. Sun bring his statue
become like golden suit. And you put the clouds (I won't tell you to cut these clouds, I know
your reason why). Which song he play by now? Do you have some idea?
Guest 10-Dec-2003 20:51
Encore un Magritte! Non c'est du Phil Douglis.
Mais voyons soyons respectueux.Très belle photo,
l'élavation est superbe.
Phil Douglis30-Nov-2003 00:59
Good point, Northstar 37. Strauss was a great performer and showman -- and yes, this can well be interpreted as a "backstage" look at the Waltz King himself. It never occurred to me while taking this picture -- I was thinking this shot as a symbol of his music rising to the heavens as the spirit of Vienna. However the arch is certainly framing a stage and all of us are, in a way, on stage with him because of this vantage point. Thanks for the comment -- it is quite helpful.

northstar3729-Nov-2003 11:39
This also makes me think of being behind the scenes or 'backstage'.
northstar3701-Nov-2003 11:44
I always like to try and take a picture from a diffrent position. Especially if it is a well known subject. It's not always easy though. Sometimes you just can't help it!
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