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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Twenty Six : Using reflections to transform reality > Imperial Spirit, Waterloo Battlefield, Belgium, 2005
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Imperial Spirit, Waterloo Battlefield, Belgium, 2005

In June 1815, England and Prussia routed the Grand Army of the French emperor Napoleon in battle near the village of Waterloo, forcing him into abdication and exile. One hundred and ninety years later, Napoleon still haunts the battlefield. I found him in the window of a souvenir shop, surrounded by racks of post cards. By bringing my wideangle lens down to waist level and then shooting up at the glass, I was able to avoid picturing my own reflection and also summon the Imperial Spirit by enveloping the ghostly figure in reflected clouds. I originally posted this image in color. I converted it to black and white after viewer David Clunas asked me why I did not have any black and white reflections in this gallery. Now I do. This image was an excellent candidate for conversion, because of its surreal expressive qualities.

Canon PowerShot G6
1/400s f/4.0 at 7.2mm full exif

other sizes: small medium large original auto
Phil Douglis19-Jul-2006 23:16
Agreed, Han -- he is a puffed up in self importance as those clouds soaring overhead. The low vantage point is the key to this feeling.
Guest 19-Jul-2006 14:51
it is surreal, it suits his ego
Phil Douglis17-Feb-2006 23:01
A lot of people looked up to Napoleon, Ramma. And look were it got them!
Ramma 05-Feb-2006 16:57
Too good, makes one look upto him
Phil Douglis30-Jul-2005 23:45
Thanks, David. It was a no-brainer. I should have used black and white from the beginning. Thank you for motivating me to take a second look at this reflections gallery regarding black and white possibilities. I tend to place most of my black and white examples in my "black and white" gallery, but this one works just as well here.
David Clunas30-Jul-2005 20:35
Wonderful, I do feel that the b&w conversion has enhanced this image. It is so surreal you expect the statue to turn and walk away.
Phil Douglis02-Jul-2005 19:37
Thanks, Kal, for this wonderful interpretation. I agree -- he certainly could be considering the empire lost forever on that day and in this spot. The grandeur and arrogance are there as well.
Kal Khogali02-Jul-2005 13:20
An amzing image, and a crystal clear message. The low position emphasises his grandeur and his well documented arrogance, which is emphasised more by the slightly tilted angle, whci allows his gaze in to the distance to be seen, and the reflected sky tells of the passage of time but also the world of which he was emperor once. It is as though he is looking out of the window at the Lost Empire.
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