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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Two: Travel Incongruities > On rusted legs, Coulterville, California, 2008
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16-MAY-2008

On rusted legs, Coulterville, California, 2008

As we left our hotel in Coulterville, I noticed a battered lawn ornament staring at our rooms just across the parking lot. The figure is handicapped Ė its legs have been reduced to rusting metal rods. I got behind it, putting my viewers into its shoes. The forlorn figure seems to be longing for a place to stay Ė the morning light slashes it with spots of warmth and adds mysterious shadows as well. The figure is incongruous. We donít expect to see something like this standing in a motel parking lot. (He can have my room, now that Iíve checked out.)

Leica V-Lux 1
1/320s f/5.6 at 13.9mm iso100 full exif

other sizes: small medium large original auto
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Phil Douglis30-Dec-2008 19:31
Thanks, Neal, for seeing the sense of longing and hopelessness in this image. As I note in my caption, the figure seems to be longing for a place to stay. You add a key point -- with its useless legs, it will forever remain locked helplessly in place.
Guest 29-Dec-2008 21:21
I agree that pain is the predominant image here. Almost, but not quite, finished with his exhausting trek, the figure is looking longingly yet hopelessly at the motel rooms where he could rest, if only he could get there. But, with his ruined legs, he never will.
Phil Douglis18-Jun-2008 17:43
The military aspect comes not only from the camouflage-like coloration (rusting paint), but also the rusting rods acting as legs suggest combat injuries. So yes, it hurts to look at this image. Even though we are looking at a decaying lawn ornament, it reminds us of combat and war, suffering and sacrifice. Thanks, Jenene, for noting this.
JSWaters18-Jun-2008 06:04
Pain is the over riding feeling I get from this. The figure looks as if his clothing is camouflaged, which brings a military aspect to bear here - has he given up so much, that we all can enjoy ourselves even as we see his obvious hardship?
Jenene
Phil Douglis29-May-2008 18:17
"Hobbling Home" would be a good title for this picture. That feeling is created by my vantage point -- relating the decaying lawn ornament to the motel by shooting it from behind instead of from the front. We can't see its face, but we do see its rusted-rod legs, and so can imagine a sense of pain. And "hobblers" are often people in pain.
Carol E Sandgren29-May-2008 05:07
He looks as if he is hobbling home to your motel room, Phil! The suggestion of lost legs though is sobering even if it is not a real human being.
Phil Douglis27-May-2008 20:01
Some might feel that one needs a core of iron to live in a place well off the beaten path, Tim.
Tim May27-May-2008 18:19
Coulterville seemed filled with many "characters" here you show us that maybe they have cores of iron.
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