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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Seven: Making time count > Street scene, Amsterdam, Holland, 2003
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Street scene, Amsterdam, Holland, 2003

The narrow streets of the Netherland's largest city are filled with pedestrians -- surging crowds crackling with energy. I wanted to make a picture that would best represent that energy. I put it together as I would a sandwich -- the couple in the left foreground have just come from the nearby Van Gogh Museum and are waiting for a tram that is slowly making its way towards them. The tram appears in the right background -- the curve of its track will carry it right to them. I needed something to happen in the middle zone of my sandwich to provide the "meat" -- something that would capture the eye and make my point about energy. Fortune smiled upon me as a woman pushed a stroller into the space I had reserved just for her, kicking her heel into the air as she sailed through the crowds. The camera stopped this action and recorded what some might call a "decisive moment" -- an instant where everything fell into place to tell a story.

Canon PowerShot G2
1/320s f/4.0 at 21.0mm full exif

other sizes: small medium large original auto
Phil Douglis24-Jan-2006 02:31
At last -- this image has been sitting here unnoticed for two and a half years until Mia arrived. I am glad you see the point I am trying to make with it. To be able to snatch a moment out of time and make it live forever is truly, as you say, magical. Yes, photographers do make time count. This mundane moment on an Amsterdam street -- all these people thrown together by accident for that instant in that place -- suddenly becomes a coherent idea because of one woman who suddenly hurls herself into the spot I had imagined for her, heel flying, and kid gaping. I revisited this same spot just this past summer when our barge trip took us back to Amsterdam. There was no crowd, no woman, no stroller, no picture. This particular moment was very special -- it happened just once, and forever.
Mia 23-Jan-2006 05:21
We can look at this picture as a specific moment in time, precious because it will never happen again, where these specific people were there, in Amsterdam, as the tramway came, as it was spring, as it was sunny (or not), as it was a specific time of the day, etc. I often think of photographers as magicians who make time count because they stop it to record history. I think it is also your main idea for creating this gallery (my favourite).
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