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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Two: Travel Incongruities > A sense of time and place, Austin, Texas, 2009
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A sense of time and place, Austin, Texas, 2009

Austin’s 19th, 20th, and 21st century architecture offers stunning contrasts in time. The most impressive commercial structure in town, the 515-foot tall Frost Bank Tower, dominates Austin’s skyline. In this image, I contrast its sleek silvery blue glass façade to a vintage advertisement, featuring a stolid cowboy, painted on the side of an old brick structure standing just a few blocks away. In doing so, I incongruously compare Austin’s iconic rustic western image to a symbol of its present day economic muscle. I also try to offer a glimpse into its future – I imply here that Austin can benefit from finding ways to preserve such relics of its vintage western charm, while at the same time continuing to flourish as an economic entity. I photograph both buildings from their corners to give them a sense of spatial dimension. I tilt the camera to create diagonal rhythms within my tight frame that incongruously fuses both structures together. In doing so, I try to express a sense of time, as well as sense of place. Instead of tearing down its past, Austin incorporates it into its present and future.

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Phil Douglis06-May-2018 19:21
I like your turn of phrase here, Merri. You call the Frost Bank Building "easily bendable." I guess that's because I tilted my camera to make this image, deliberately destabilizing a structure originally designed to appear as solid as its assets and reputation. However, I also tilted the old building in the foreground along with it, so as to mimic the tilt of the contemporary skyscraper, and to give "Joseph" that body-language of disapproval. Thanks for appreciating why I did what I did here.
Guest 06-May-2018 00:36
What a great juxtaposition of past and present! The old building here seems solid, well-built, permanent. The new building looks flimsy and easily bendable. Joseph does not approve.
Phil Douglis09-Jun-2009 15:45
Thanks, Carol, for pointing out the contrasting colors here, and what they imply. You are right -- the colors of the past are warm and textured, while the colors of the present are cool and slick. As for how Joseph is taking all of this, I would guess that his dour expression is appropriate to the cowboy character.
Carol E Sandgren09-Jun-2009 05:10
Joseph doesn't look all too thrilled with his new high tech architectural neighbor. Talk about contrasts.... the colors also add to the contrast between the two times. Slick blues of the glass skyscraper and warm tones on the painted brick. In a way that's the way many people react to modernization, too comfortable with their present to agree to progress.
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