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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Seven: Making time count > Artwalk, La Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2004
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Artwalk, La Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2004

While walking the art-lined streets of this Buenos Aires neighborhood, I came upon a sculpture painted in subtle, earthy colors, beautifully displayed against a background of yellow, blue, and two red tones -- all the primary colors at once. A promising subject, indeed, but it needed more than just attractive art and color to make the scene function as an expressive photograph. Eventually, a group of three people approached. They were as tightly grouped as the people portrayed in the sculpture, I made this picture the instant they entered my frame. A touch of shutter lag resulted in bringing them well into the midst of the frame by the time the picture was actually recorded. The key to this shot is the arm of the woman leading the group into the picture. It is at an angle, as are the arms of the two women who dominate the sculpted group. The men who make up the rest of the art-goers carry their heads in a perfect spatial relationship to hers. There is a just enough space between each of them to avoid mergers yet still create a tight grouping, just as the heads appear in the sculpture. The result is an instant in time and space that creates a bond between art and life, making this image successful at all levels.

Canon PowerShot G2
1/640s f/4.5 at 14.6mm full exif

other sizes: small medium large original auto
Phil Douglis03-Dec-2005 03:38
Thanks for picking up on the tension flowing here between the live people and the sculptured figures, Jude. Group interacts with group, although only one of the humans seems to take notice.
Jude Marion03-Dec-2005 02:52
I like having people in images ... they can add a certain life to an intersting, though potentially static scene. In this image, there is an interaction between the scultpture and the people just begging to happen ... creating a tension between the two. The womans arm enters the scultptural space, but she is looking elsewhere ... but the tension is relieved by the mans glance.
Phil Douglis27-Oct-2004 17:45
Thank you, as always, Zebra, for this comment. This shot was "previsualized." That simply means that I knew what I wanted to express before those people ever got there. My composition existed in my mind, and so did the color contrast, the scale contrast, the action contrast and, hopefully, that physical connection you mentioned. I was prefocused and exposed on the art, so I knew my people would be abstracted in shadow. All I needed were the people themselves to walk into my frame. And there were plenty of them walking up and down that street. What you see here, Zebra, is the one shot that worked out of the twenty that did not. As my idol, Henri Cartier Bresson, the "Master of the Decisive Moment" has said, "you have to get a lot of milk from the cow to make a little cream." This, Zebra, was the cream.
Guest 27-Oct-2004 16:12
Phil,I doubt your time is far slower than mine.In less than one second,you can correctly decide when you shot!Perfect composition,color contrast,big&small contrast,bright&dark contrast,still&moveing contrast,and the woman's arm which connects all this contrasts together,you did all of them well in a so short time!How can you do it?
Phil Douglis07-Feb-2004 20:47
Thanks, Carol -- yes, I did use the G2 here. When I am out walking alone in a city known for camera-snatching, I always carry my backup instead of my regular camera. In that way, if the worst happens, I have only lost a backup. And I was alone in LaBoca when i made this shot. You are right about the incongruity of the art in living color and the people as shadowy abstracts. All of which helps this picture make a point to you that I had never considered before -- the art pleading to be noticed. If pictures can mean different things to different people, they can be all the more effective as expression.
Carol E Sandgren07-Feb-2004 06:26
I just noticed that you shot this one with your G2 instead of the G5.

i like the way the viewers are in silhouette(almost) and walking right by the artwork, and the artwork is in full living color. The figures in the artwork seem to stare at the dark passerbys, the middle one pleading for someone to stop and pay attention to them. Is the art piece more alive than the real people? the colors are so bright and the shapes are flat giving this one a really graphic quality about it (you know I love that!)
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