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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Fourteen: Expressing the meaning of buildings and structures > Starting Over, Bridgeport, California, 2004
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18-OCT-2004

Starting Over, Bridgeport, California, 2004

This home on Bridgeportís Main Street is under renovation. I talked with the man doing the work. He told me that this is the original wall of the house, stripped down to what it had looked like when it was built over 130 years ago. He said he had removed eight coats of paint applied during the 19th and 20th centuries. He was about to begin applying its first 21st century coat. Why should I bother shooting it? What could this building mean to me, or to you? I see a story worth telling here. My photograph of it works as expressive photography because it is abstract, showing only a small portion of the house and suggesting the rest; it is incongruous, because of its temporarily distressed appearance; and it is rich in human values, suggesting the longevity of a house much older than anyone who has ever lived in it. It is this last aspect that I stress here by juxtaposing the colorful living leaves with the bare wall and that black, empty window, just waiting to come back to life again. It is if these symbolic life forces are clamoring to take over this house, and somehow restore it to its former glory. A final touch: the woman who has purchased this house and is ordering its renovation is a descendant of the family that originally built. Itís in good hands.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20
1/125s f/4.0 at 12.0mm iso80 full exif

other sizes: small medium large original auto
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Phil Douglis01-Dec-2004 02:27
Good to have you back, Grace. To answer your question our eye is drawn to the lower part of the window because it is the darkest area in the picture. We are always drawn to "holes" in the image, and in this case, that "hole" is the point of entry into the house -- the lower part of the window. When composing our pictures, we must make sure that dark areas are intentionally placed to draw the eye, not accidentally fragment the image.
Guest 27-Nov-2004 02:40
I don't know why, but the lower part of the window keeps drawing my attention.
My eyes set on it first, then along the bushes and wall, at last still the lower part of the window.

I want to see what's going on inside.
Phil Douglis30-Oct-2004 00:35
Wonderful comment, Anna. "Cherished" is the perfect word. I should have used that for my title. I agree. It is too bad that new is always considered "better" in our society.
Anna Yu30-Oct-2004 00:24
It gives the feeling of an old house being cherished. Well kept bushes and clean windows tell that story in spite of the unfinished painting. Too bad that often these old buildings are torn down and ugly concrete apartments built instead.
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