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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Twenty Five: Stimulating the imagination with “opposites and contradictions” > Cradle to grave, Long Xuyen, Vietnam, 2008
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Cradle to grave, Long Xuyen, Vietnam, 2008

One of the most indelible experiences I had in Vietnam was a long afternoon walk through a working class neighborhood in Long Xuyen. These people seldom, if ever, see visitors from another country in their backyards. But there we were, not only visiting, but making photographs such as this wideangle image, featuring two young children and the graves of two of their ancestors just behind their house. It is common for the Vietnamese to bury their loved ones next to their homes, where they will always be in sight and in memory. These children may grow up with a greater sense of continuity because of it. Life and death are indeed opposite conditions, yet they are part of the same process. These children may grow up not fearing death, but rather accepting its inevitability and understanding it. I hope this image will imply just that.

Leica D-Lux 3
1/125s f/2.8 at 6.3mm iso200 full exif

other sizes: small medium large original auto
Phil Douglis21-Jan-2008 05:06
Thank you, Patricia, for your eloquent words, and for pointing out the color contrast here. And yes, these kids do seem to be wise beyond their years.
Patricia Lay-Dorsey21-Jan-2008 03:38
Not only is there the opposites of life & death, youth & age here, but I am struck by the contradiction of the warm inviting colors and furniture of the inside & the harsh grey broken-up concrete of the outside. Then there is the sky-blue of the graves. Contradictions all. Yet somehow they all come together in the wise watchful eyes of the children. They seem like Old Souls to me, a bridge between life and death.
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