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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Two: Travel Incongruities > Life imitates art, Sisters, Oregon, 2008
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Life imitates art, Sisters, Oregon, 2008

Just outside of the town of Sisters, Oregon, we passed a horse farm that featured a display of life sized flat metal horse sculptures. Incongruously surrounding the sculptured horses were real horses, a perfect opportunity for a striking photograph. I made about fifty images within ten minutes of shooting, and this one was my favorite. Why? Because of how perfectly the real horses have integrated themselves with the metal horses. I include two real horses and two sculptures here. The featured horse at left looks right at us, as if to show off his metal friends. At first glance, the raised hoof seems to belong to it. At second glance. we see that the raised hoof is part of a sculpture. The mane of the real horse appears just below the flying mane of the metal horse, linking the two in tandem. Meanwhile, the black horse at center provides a bridge between the two metal horses. I liked the way the shadow on the tail of the sculpture at right seems to be an extension of the black horse’s head. All four horses, real and imagined, link perfectly here, and take incongruity to a new level.

Leica V-Lux 1
1/125s f/4.0 at 88.8mm iso100 full exif

other sizes: small medium large original auto
Phil Douglis21-Jan-2010 15:55
You are on the mark here, Zandra. I did not intend this image to be humorous. Incongruity is not always funny. In this case, it becomes a matter of life imitating art, and yes, there is a spiritual dimension to it
Guest 01-Jan-2010 23:23
This is to me a some what ghostly and at the same time spiritual image.More so than humorous. It is as if the living horses are being accompanied by the souls of those who has passed, there forefathers. The way the horses are placed, small step behind the ghostly guardian, makes me think they are being guided on their way in life...
Phil Douglis24-Nov-2009 03:04
Thanks for coming back to this shot, John -- I knew what you meant. I just wanted to use your comment to make the point that photography is really not about luck at all, but rather about our intentions and how we work to achieve them. You are right -- we all should try to make the very best of any situation we may find ourselves in. And that often involves a bit of time, a lot of frames, and a dose of patience.
John Vass24-Nov-2009 02:56
So true! I wasn't saying this was a lucky shot! You had the luck of coming across a scene that had so much potential and of course you saw something and did what we all should do! You made the best of it!
Phil Douglis23-Nov-2009 22:00
Yes, John, it was shot in the morning, with good light. As for being lucky, I have always believed that photographers can make their own luck. Someone once said "luck is the residue of design." In other words, I knew what I was trying to accomplish here. I could not control the horses behavior, but I could make more than 50 images of them moving among the sculptured horses within ten minutes of shooting. And because I made those 50 images, I had a better chance at getting one of them to work as I had hoped.
John Vass23-Nov-2009 21:15
Nice! I have been by here a few times and never thought someone could be so lucky! I like the shadows in this! The front horse throws his shadow to the right and it looks like it belongs the back horse, it ties it in even more. To me, this speaks to the all the layers of living in a heard.
This must have been shot early morning?
Phil Douglis05-Oct-2008 00:33
I did not notice the humor here until you mentioned it, Jenene. I saw an incongruous relationship. Now, when I look at this image, I see the horse at left as not so sure about his new metallic friend.
JSWaters04-Oct-2008 23:51
What an amusing opportunity to blur the lines between fantasy and reality.
Phil Douglis27-Sep-2008 18:30
Thanks, Rosemary, for enjoying this unique moment. I've never seen anything like it before.
sunlightpix26-Sep-2008 21:29
Amazing! Voted!
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