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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Sixteen: Story-telling street photography > Lunchtime, Phoenix, Arizona, 2007
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07-MAY-2007

Lunchtime, Phoenix, Arizona, 2007

When I photographed these restaurant windows from across the street with a 170mm telephoto lens, the subject matter within them becomes flat making these windows seem almost as if they are paintings or color photographs on a wall. It is a slice of street life expressed here as geometry. The two women at the window counter seem oblivious to all that is going on around them. Behind them is a chaotic jumble of lights, color, signage, and reflections, yet from our vantage point, this jumble is neatly contained within a large window frame. The window on the right offers a more restrained view. It offers the head of just one abstracted diner. A fragment of a huge poster lends a splash of vivid red color to the scene, echoed by similar colors in the other window. The juxtaposition of these windows offers a sense of contrast and tension the levels of activity are different, as are the sizes and shapes of the windows. They raise some interesting questions as well. Are we looking at two scenes from the same restaurant? Or is there an inside wall between these windows, giving us views into two different restaurants at once?

Leica V-Lux 1
1/160s f/4.0 at 35.7mm iso100 full exif

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Phil Douglis21-May-2007 05:16
I wish I could see every light as a nipple, Ceci. Alas, I can't.
Guest 21-May-2007 04:54
No imaginary areoli here, Phil! There are nine (9) different "nipple-shaped" bumps in this image, in plain view, they are literally all over the place. Five on the top left (the lights), two little white lights at the very top, and two on the right at the top of the green panel. See 'em? I am NOT making this up!
Phil Douglis21-May-2007 04:38
Your striking comment breaks open an entirely new line of inquiry here, Ceci. I did not see the ad at right as promoting a tasty loaf or bun until you mentioned it. I had to study the graphics of that ad on the wall closely until the bun even came into view for me. I did not even notice the pregnancy of the woman in green -- I just thought she was wearing her shirt loosely for comfort. But you have changed it all for me now -- I see the play on words here, too -- the "bun in the oven" becomes the theme for me rather than isolated wall graphics. My mind does not stretch all the way to those nipples, however -- they are purely imaginary, yet if you see them, they must be there for you. The fact that you can make a woman-themed image out of it does not surprise me. As a feminist, that is how you view the world. If my image gives you such pleasure and offers fertile ground (pun intended) for your imagination to flourish, so be it. I am delighted with your comment, Ceci.
Guest 21-May-2007 04:19
This is a fascinating, vibrant picture, filled with suggestive detail and despite the reflection of a man, feels like a woman-themed comment. One luncher appears to be pregnant, next to an ad for a toasty loaf, or bun, a euphemism for a child in the womb. The shapes above the lunching couple are circular, fat, rich in color, echoing her round belly, and the fence-like reflections seem to speak of the confines that accompany gravidity. There are lights/buttons at the top, reminding me of nipples, that are such a large part of this imagined scene. There is a warmth and calmness in the two eating women, but the one in turquoise appears to be waiting, or deep in thought, both characteristics of a woman with a "bun in the oven." This is such a pleasing and layered photo, such fun to see.
Phil Douglis18-May-2007 17:54
Yes it is, Dandan. And we can comment on that world with our cameras -- by making ordinary scenes extraordinary experiences, we prod the imaginations of those who may view them.
Guest 18-May-2007 17:46
It's twisted unreal world out there...
Phil Douglis17-May-2007 23:40
Thanks, Christine, for this comment. You are right -- the whole point of expressive photography is what happens in the viewers mind. Everyone should see this picture according to what they may bring to it. As I note in the caption, I hope this image raises questions that the viewers can answer for themselves.
Christine P. Newman17-May-2007 21:55
You are witness to reality. It is up to the viewer to interpret the way he/she sees it.
Phil Douglis11-May-2007 00:55
Thanks for the Timesque view of the "order" sign in the window. You cleverly change the meaning of order here to make it into an incongruity, and thereby immeasurably enhance the expressiveness of this image. I am in your debt.
Tim May10-May-2007 23:48
I also like the the word "order" seems to be trying to organize this visual disarray.
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