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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Two: Travel Incongruities > Snowy morning on Canyon Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2003
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Snowy morning on Canyon Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2003

This subject is incongruous in itself, a visual pun. A bronze statue, blinded by wet snow, pleads for help. Sometimes the worse the weather, the better the picture opportunities.

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Phil Douglis24-Aug-2010 17:37
Yes, the weeping wall is critical here, River King. Glad you studied it -- the more you looked at the image, the more you saw in it. The same principle can used in looking at our subjects -- we must train our eyes to see, not just to look. And that takes time and patiences and perseverance.
Guest 24-Aug-2010 05:47
I have to admit, that at the first, I was more attracted by the contrast and brightness of the picture. I felt this was more of abstraction than incongruity. After watching this picture for a little while, It became really awkward to see the statue's eyes and hands were covered by snow and that awkwardness made me want to wipe those snow off! So the incongruity is working, because it is clearly telling the viewer that statue is crying for help, and the wetness of the back wall added this feeling even more... I have learned something new from this picture, that is, try to be more patient and stay longer on a photo, and perhaps we'll get a lot more than what our initial thought... thank you, Phil.
Chris Sofopoulos31-Aug-2006 19:54
You are absolutely right for the wetness of the wall. I hadn't notice it!
Phil Douglis31-Aug-2006 16:47
The orange wall is important, Chris, not just because of the contrast, but because of its wetness. It seems to weeping, which offers an appropriately symbolic context for the pleading statue.
Chris Sofopoulos31-Aug-2006 09:00
Strong image. So incongruous indeed with the snow in its face begging for help.
Again you have chosen the right angle with the orange wall at the back, perhaps for more contrast and clearer result.
Phil Douglis28-Jul-2006 23:40
I like the way your mind works, Emi. You always manage to see incongruities that I had never even dreamed of.
Guest 28-Jul-2006 11:51
The incongruity to me here is created by the red(orange) wall and the white snow. The colour of the wall usually represents warmth and heat, while there the white snow is supposed to be very cold. This makes me think of two things :1) The heat is melting the snow on the statue so that the statue will come back to live. 2) The statue is in hell - because he/they are placed in between 2 extremes, who can stand the extremely cold and extremely hot at the same time?

Phil Douglis23-Dec-2004 20:27
Thanks for your vivid interpretation, Mikel. No matter what the reason may be for this gesture, the snow covered face and hands will be incongruous enough to stimulate the imagination of the viewer. And that is why I made this image.
Guest 23-Dec-2004 17:28
I don't see it that much as a person who is asking for help since the streching of it's features are not that extreem, anyway, it looks more to me as a theater protagonist that after the show and while she salutes at the public someone throws a kake at her face (for putting a context in to it)
Phil Douglis02-Dec-2004 03:50
Humor is based on incongruity, isn't it, Clara? You found the same humor in a similar situation. In this case, the pleasing gesture telling the Snow Gods to stop, makes the image work.
Guest 01-Dec-2004 23:40
yes, it becomes hilarious, ironic, that the monument can't avoid what happens to it/her. I have a similar shoot here:
Phil Douglis08-Nov-2004 18:39
Yes, Nut -- the statue is a statue. It really does not plead for help. But when masked in snow, it seems to be doing just that. This picture stimulates our imagination and creates the incongruity of a lifeless object suddenly doing a very lifelike thing.
nut 08-Nov-2004 15:06
This statue is incongruous in itself, because statue is statue and statue will be fine
under wet snow so it's not neccessary to plead for help. Isn't it?
Phil Douglis06-Nov-2004 20:09
Another amusing interpretation from Nut. Incidentally, it's actually a statue of a mother and her child, but if you want to see it as sculpture of two brothers, that's fine, too.
nut 06-Nov-2004 17:19
I heard a grandiose boy said "Hey God, listen to me, I want to make a deal with you".
I think he is an older brother of other boy, who sat behide him. An older boy talked with
someone above to make a deal. His mouth open just a little so I think he is talking.

A grandiose still keep talking what he wanted. Snow told both of them to give up for whatever
they wanted. Younger brother gave up already, but he is not and won't give up. Even if his
eyes are closed by snow. One request and its answer is in here. So this is an abstract incongruity.
Brian Klimowski27-Dec-2003 06:43
Striking image...compositionally very, very strong...
Anna Yu13-Dec-2003 13:55
When I see this figure and in the context of the terrible weather we have in Sweden, I think she is saying "please, no more snow ... "
Phil Douglis07-Dec-2003 02:22
Thanks, Likyin, for the detailed description of how you viewed this image. It is full of incongruous surprises --depending upon the context you bring to it. As for the meaning of this sculpture, your impressions are as good as mine. Generally, a figure with outstretched arms usually represents either pleading, praying, or thankfulness. This scuplture was in a walled garden of a Santa Fe Gallery -- the garden was locked, and I had no way of getting in to read the title of the piece. That would have perhaps given us a hint.
Guest 06-Dec-2003 10:42
First sight: when it was shown in small image among the others, I thought she's a dancer wearing white woolen hat and cape, also gloves, and a brown long skirt (including the base). Second sight, in large size: for it was loading from head to toe, by seeing only hands with snow, WOW, is it a kind of punishment, or a kid show?...finally, oh boy, there's someone squating behind! Anyway, what does the sculpture originally mean?
Phil Douglis04-Sep-2003 04:24
Susan -- Photographers express their own point of view when they make an image. And viewers express their own point of view when looking at an image. I saw this bronze statue as begging for help after getting dumped on by nature. That's why I shot it. You saw her as thanking the Spirit for bringing moisture to the desert. However Santa Fe is no desert, my good friend. Let's compromise and just say that she's is enjoying a snowball fight! I thank you, Susan, for your comment.
Susan 04-Sep-2003 00:32
This is one of my favorite photos by Phil. I don't see the figure as one asking for help I see her as thanking Spirit for the much needed moisture in the desert!
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