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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Two: Travel Incongruities > Snack Bar, Zagreb, Croatia, 2005
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Snack Bar, Zagreb, Croatia, 2005

This snack bar is closed. The only munching going on here is that huge face chewing on the door handles, adding an incongruous dimension to the sea of graffiti in downtown Zagreb. The strange juxtaposition of lips and door handle is not the only incongruity here. The photo on the door has nothing at all to do with a snack bar. It is a fashion photo, making its very presence here another incongruity. What could it possibly be advertising and why in this manner? In any event, the young people marching by it do not even give it a glance. The huge size of head on the door is incongruously large when compared to the head of the passers-by. This image asks more questions of us than it provides answers. I am still wondering why the lady in the red hat is kissing that door handle!

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Phil Douglis19-Aug-2006 23:21
Thanks, Chris. I am glad you find my examples and explanations so helpful. And the comments below my pictures, along with my responses to all of them, can enhance the value of each example as well. When you add a comment, and I respond, you are learning, but you are also helping me teach.
Chris Sofopoulos19-Aug-2006 19:00
Strong photo Phil as always.
I like it very much but most of all I like your thoughts or explanations or even guesses you give us. I deeply thank you.
Phil Douglis20-Jul-2006 03:37
Very good point, Emi. I did not even consider the gender issues raised by this image until you pointed them out. They certainly add to the incongruity and ask questions and demand answers from the viewer, such as why is the woman's mouth bolted shut? Are women being objectified by the owners of this shop? How does the lone man feel at this moment, surrounded by women, both real and imagined? You have greatly enriched this image for me, and for all of us, Emi.
Guest 20-Jul-2006 02:13
The lock placed right in the mouth of the big poster of a woman's head(looks like stopping the woman from talking), together with the "misused" of a woman's image for the snack bar, make me think of the distrimination of women in a " men-oriented " world. While there are 4 human images in the picture, only one is a man. That creates incongruity for me, makes me think of how did the man ( in the picture) feel when he was surrounded by women.

Phil Douglis11-Mar-2006 04:29
Thanks, Yves -- I am glad you saw that lonely foot on the edge. I left it in because it is a fragment of a person. Life on this street is also fragmentary -- small parts disconnected and incomplete. The door with the lock for a mouth is just such a disconnect. I did not plan to include that foot. But it was there, and I liked it as much as you did. It does not belong, but then other things in this image don't belong, either.
Yves Rubin11-Mar-2006 00:36
Phil, I love your parallel with censorship, it really fits the picture. By the way, I like that lonely foot at the bottom right, it adds to the picture when normally one would want to clone that out... the whole picture has an uneasy feeling to it. Fascinating!
Phil Douglis11-Nov-2005 04:28
Good question, Ken. The speed at which we read and understand an image varies from image to image and person to person. Some people can intuitively grasp the meaning of an image instantly. Others must play with it awhile and let it sink in. I find that I am discovering new meanings in my own pictures all the time, particularly when I come back to them after not seeing them for a while.
Ken Zaret27-Oct-2005 00:04
Despite the well-considered theorizing, what is remarkable to me is how an image like this can grab you in an instant. For me, it was the humor of the image and the obvious (intended) incongruity by the photographer, all digested in a fraction of a second. Only later do the conceptual issues emerge. What is it that distinguishes the immediate intuitive appreciation of an image from the more reasoned, slower to assimilate aesthetic and conceptual values?
Phil Douglis08-Oct-2005 01:26
One might also see the locked door as a locked mouth, a symbol of censorship. Yet expression is anything but censored here -- as you can see, people express themselves quite vividly on the walls of Zagreb.
Tim May05-Oct-2005 18:10
As I glanced at your thumbnails, this image struck me because of the mouth. I thought that someone had colored in teeth to make gaps. Enlarged, I see so much more going on. I feel a sense of degradation here. A simple doorway is turned into a grotesque - and the walls are riddled with graffitti. For me this image is evocative of the demise of culture.
Phil Douglis03-Oct-2005 01:41
Yes, there is humor in this shot. And it aroused my curiosity as well as yours. By all appearances, the snack bar is out of business. I made this image at mid-day, when people buy snacks. And there were lots of people. I think this picture might be part of an advertisement put up in this space once the snack bar closed. But what are they advertising? Questions, questions and more questions.
Ramma 02-Oct-2005 18:48
such an amusing pic. even i wonder what a model is doin at the Gates of a Snack BaR. But i have to admit, it surely invokes Curiosity in me. I would surely wanna step inside and check the place. But again, if i visited at some other time, and the bar was open, which means the Model would'nt be shown, I may not step inside !
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