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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery One: Travel Abstractions -- Unlimited Thought > Firemen, City Hall, Scottsdale, Arizona, 2010
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12-MAY-2010

Firemen, City Hall, Scottsdale, Arizona, 2010

I use three forms of abstraction here to activate the imagination of my viewers the two firemen, arriving at City Hall for a meeting, are obscured by both backlighting and my vantage point, while the building itself is reduced to just a doorway and a small patio. Other firemen had arrived before them, so I had ample time to compose the shot. I wanted to catch the men side by side, yet keep them from overlapping either each other. I wanted them contained by the geometry of the diagonal shadows that will soon envelope them in darkness. The white negative space that crackles between the men, as well as between them and the shadows that surround them, creates tension that defines this abstracted moment in light, time, and space.

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Phil Douglis17-May-2010 18:22
I am honored to mentioned in the same breath as Henri Cartier Bresson, Iris. He based his art, as you note, on not only the decisive moment in time and space, but also "a recognition of an order" -- how the image is composed at such a moment. I am always thinking of both aspects when I make my images, and certainly did so here.
Iris Maybloom (irislm)17-May-2010 01:29
Having just seen the HCB exhibit, this image, like so many of his, speaks, not only of timing and patience, but also of light and shadow and shapes. It's something I still have to remind myself to be aware of.
Phil Douglis16-May-2010 23:42
Glad you noted the role of the tree on the left, Rose -- it does soften the severity of the architecture and imply the building's park like setting.
sunlightpix16-May-2010 20:04
Perfect timing! I also like the patch of green on the left; it imparts a natural counterpart to the lines, geometry, whites and shadows.
Phil Douglis16-May-2010 18:18
Yes, Claudia -- we are all like "cats" waiting to pounce on an idea when cameras are in our hands. I knew what I wanted this shot to look like before I made, however I never expected to be able to get these men placed so well in relationship to each other and the framing shadows. Thanks for the comment.
BleuEvanescence16-May-2010 13:34
With the description of your successful intention, it certainly gives us even more ways to appreciate all of what is there...seen and unseen :) and is, as always, an inspiration to not only "catch" what we can in the heart of the moment but also, like a cat, wait until we see what we want to get and...get it when it shows up...;)).
Phil Douglis15-May-2010 19:33
Thanks, Carol -- it's all in the light, shadow, timing, anticipation, and appreciation of how geometry shapes ideas.
Carol E Sandgren15-May-2010 18:38
I like the shapes and angles that the dark shadows create. To me, it suggests the firemen are entering something of a funhouse, or something out of Alice in Wonderland although I know in reality this is an entry into anything but!! Creating shapes with shadows and light add real interest and even more meaning to your image.
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