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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Two: Travel Incongruities > Layers, Lijiang, China, 2006
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01-APR-2006

Layers, Lijiang, China, 2006

Lijiang, a city in Yunnan Province is an incongruous mix of more than a million people, includes thousands of Naxi, one of China's ethnic minorities. Art and life also clash incongruously just outside of town -- a billboard promoting a local attraction finishes a poor second to the real thing that soars behind it. A billboard showing a huge picture of the actual mountains that rise behind it is a major incongruity. So too is the scale of the tiny people, when compared to the massive scene they inhabit. This images is comprised of a series of incongruous layers tiny people, huge billboard, an even larger building, all set before a massive range including the snowcapped 18,360 foot high Jade Dragon Mountain.

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Phil Douglis25-Aug-2006 18:00
It also pits the power of fantasy against the virtues of reality, Rodney. The advertisement promises an experience
that is unavailable to these people at this moment. This image asks us to consider why must the grass always seem greener elsewhere? And why can't these people just look up and take in the spectacular natural scene just behind that billboard? Perhaps it's because they have come to take it all for granted.
Guest 25-Aug-2006 16:56
It’s amazing they even notice that “small” advertisement, with that amazing mountain scene right there! It speaks to me of just how easily our attention can be stolen sometimes. Here is a tremendous sight. I bet those individuals spent more time reading the advertisement than they spent viewing the natural scene. :)
Phil Douglis23-Apr-2006 00:33
That is the whole point of this image, Christine -- the billboard is a tasteless echo of nature's majesty. As I said in my caption, it runs a poor second to the real thing. The mundane building also seems out of place. Man's work is trifling compared to the work of nature. It is not only in China that this happens -- as you point out, we have plenty of it in our part of the world as well.
Guest 22-Apr-2006 22:57
This photograph seems to emphasize the contrast between the average building and the majectic mountains behind. The billboard seems to be sort of bad taste in that context. I sometimes have that impression when I see big signs in ski stations here.
Christine
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