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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Eighty-five: On Tour – cruising the Mississippi from Memphis to the Gulf > Eavesdropper, Houmas House Plantation, Darrow, Louisiana, 2012
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Eavesdropper, Houmas House Plantation, Darrow, Louisiana, 2012

While photographing in the vast gardens at Houmas House, I came upon two members of our tour group conversing under the gaze of this apple-clutching sculpture. The marble statue is most likely a metaphorical interpretation of Eve contemplating her original sin. My fellow travelers seemed to take no notice of Eve. The marble lady pretends to be otherwise involved, but could well be eavesdropping on what appears to be a serious family discussion. At least that’s how I saw it. I converted the image from color to black and white. The original color image featured the lush green environment, which competed with the quiet mood and silent dialogue incongruously playing out in this image.

Panasonic LUMIX G5
1/250s f/5.6 at 71.0mm iso160 full exif

other sizes: small medium large original auto
Phil Douglis04-Jan-2013 22:53
I love your read on this image, Tim. The Russian aspect must come from the rain hat the woman is wearing. It looks like a babushka. The Elliott Erwitt touch is blatant -- I am a huge fan of his incongruities. He has made a number of photos portraying humorous juxtapositions of people and sculpture, such as this one of a museum goer about to receive an arrow in the back from the bow of Diana, the Huntress:

I had not noticed the additional incongruity you mention regarding the humorous relationship of the man's camera lens to the frown of the woman, but if you see it, it must be there.
Tim May04-Jan-2013 04:24
Somehow this image feels Russian to me - anyway I love it, and there is even an Elliott Erwitt aspect here. The statue is nude with two pert breasts standing in the light and the man's camera lens is pointing at another set of breasts and he's grinning and she's frowning.
Phil Douglis31-Dec-2012 03:13
"Eve-dropping" should have been my title, Carol. Thanks for the suggestion. And yes, the contrast between the clothed and the unclothed makes a strong point here.
Carol E Sandgren31-Dec-2012 02:43
Such a fascinating image in so many ways! I love the contrast between the modern couple who converse, wearing normal clothing with the statue of Eve, stark naked yet soft and perfectly smooth. I love that it appears that Eve is Eve-dropping in on the conversation as well. The three are lined up and similar in size which suggests to me that they are all of equal importance.
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