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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Two: Travel Incongruities > Changing the Guard, Prague, Czech Republic, 2003
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Changing the Guard, Prague, Czech Republic, 2003

The guard is changed hourly at Prague Castle, home to the Czech government. I saw this father and son waiting under the entrance to the courtyard for the ceremony. I previsualized this picture, hoping that they would stay where they were as the old guard passed them on the way to their barracks. They did, and when the guards passed them, I took this picture, an incongruous pairing of formal with casual groupings.

Canon PowerShot G2
1/500s f/4.0 at 12.5mm full exif

other sizes: small medium large original auto
Phil Douglis24-Mar-2005 04:25
Thank you, Benchang, for noticing context here as much as content. In this image, the civilians, both those watching as well as the one who unknowingly leads the parade in the distance, are as important to the meaning as the military subjects. My images showing only the marching soldiers, described the event well, but lacked incongruity, and thus did not tell the story that this shot does.
Benchang tang 24-Mar-2005 03:16
I noticed an inconguousness here the father and son are curious about the marching officers, as if wondering where are they going and the three officers are just following, judging from their walking style, and the lowered head of the first officer I can imaging that he knows his "beat" well even is sure of how many steps to the destination. So the end of the line of the people here falls on the lady in the distance. I like that you cover this lady in the picture. I have been to the Buckingham (maybe wrong spelling) Palace in London, if I go there once more maybe I can take a good picture. I have learned a lot. Thank you, Phil.
Phil Douglis23-Dec-2004 20:58
Thanks, Mikel, for noting the multiple incongruities created by the colors in this image. Those other incongruities juxtaposed within this image include the rigidity and formal precision of the soldiers compared to the informal, casually relaxed onlookers, and even the fact, as Clara noted, of the father wearing short pants while his son wears the long pant in this family.
Guest 23-Dec-2004 17:50
Specialy an incongruity of the rigid way the soldiers dress walk and act counterposed to the oposite of the two tourists. Even there is a strong colour incongruity here, while the gards are all uniformed in dark colours and even the street and buildings are beish and brownish colours, suddently you see the bright orange, red, yellow and green of the tourists that jumps to ones eyes. It is a yuxtapositon of inconguritys too. Very klever
Phil Douglis02-Dec-2004 04:21
The father wears the short pants. His kid wears the long trousers, just like the soldiers. Good eye, Clara, as always.
Guest 02-Dec-2004 00:02
the father looks a like big kid. so the picture to me is like "where are the grown ups?". of course soldiers don't belong to themselves, so I don't count them as the answer.
nut 06-Nov-2004 10:09
Anti-synonymous format in the same place at the same time.
Phil Douglis02-Nov-2004 17:27
Thanks, Scott. You have summed up the effect of this image quite well. You are not "forcing" meaning when you tell me this. This image has stimulated your imagination, and it has made you think and wonder and then act (by writing your thoughts out). That is what expressive images are supposed to do. Trigger thoughts in the viewer minds. It not so much a matter of me telling you what this means. It is a matter of you looking at what I have given you here, and coming to your own conclusions.
scott 02-Nov-2004 12:04
The first thing I noticed when I looked at this image was the 1-2-3 pattern of the people (The uniformed officers, and the family). There's this 1 officer ahead of the pack of 3 officers, who are adjacent to the 2 civilians. They seem to form a triangle. To me, triangles signify hierarchy. Similar to present society, atop the hierarchy of power lies a civilian way ahead of the pack. This image reminds me of democracy. The stiff, purposeful appearance of the officers seem to contrast the curious, wandering look of the father and child. This seems to point out at how secretive the military is that we wonder what they're upto. I don't know if i'm forcing too much meaning out of this photograph but all this popped out of my head as I was appreciating the work. Great photo!
Phil Douglis22-Oct-2004 20:12
Now put that advice to work in your own photography, Zebra.
Guest 22-Oct-2004 19:23
"you must make a lot of milk to get a little cream".
I have learned it by heart.
Phil Douglis02-Jun-2004 20:03
Thanks, Dirk -- this was but one of over fifty photos I made of the changing of the guard at this palace. As my photographic idol Henri Cartier-Bresson has said, "you must make a lot of milk to get a little cream". All of my other images were simply research in comparison to this one. They were the "milk" and this proved to be the "cream." This photo tells a story that goes beyond describing just another military ceremony. Instead, I think it captures the social context that can surround such ceremonies as this one.
Guest 02-Jun-2004 14:33
Hi Phil,

Again very well anticipated, that's the way to go for getting great images. I love the contrast between the official and unofficial look of the people, the more classic uniforms against the to colorfull in my eyes casual clothing. About clothing I think that good taste is to find between these two styles. I love how they walk in a row like a reflection of the windows and the great angle and depht in this image. It's so full of information, like also the interesting shadows. A superb image Phil !
Phil Douglis15-Oct-2003 19:03
Good eye, Carol. I was concentrating on contrasting the military to the familial, and never considered the striking contrast in color you point out. Your observation is significant -- it is easy to focus only on one aspect of a picture, yet overlook something much more obvious in the process. Thanks for adding this important comment to this picture. Phil
Carol E Sandgren15-Oct-2003 18:21
actually I noticed the color difference first, not the formations of the groups of people. The brightly colored civilians contrasted by the dull navy uniforms tells a story too.
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