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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Two: Travel Incongruities > The Chase, Jelacic Square, Zagreb, Croatia, 2005
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The Chase, Jelacic Square, Zagreb, Croatia, 2005

The equestrian statue of Ban Josip Jelacic -- depicting the hero who once led an army of 40,000 soldiers in a futile quest for Croatian independence -- now chases, equally futilely, an army of colorful balloons in Zagreb's Jelacic Square. I abstract and overwhelm the saber-wielding rider with the incongruous color, scale, and nature of the balloons. The grinning rabbit is the key to the colorful mélange. It offers still another incongruity. It seems happy. The fellow doing the chasing is not. As for my viewers – I suspect that in their imaginations they can already hear a loud popping sound coming from downtown Zagreb.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20
1/500s f/5.2 at 27.4mm iso80 full exif

other sizes: small medium large original auto
Phil Douglis20-Jul-2006 03:45
You are never offensive, Emi! Tell it like you see it. In fact, you see the very same humorous incongruity that I saw when I made this image. I love your little story and the piece of advice you want to give the now dead hero. OK -- now extend that thought out a bit and look at the bigger picture. As you say, the hero plays the fool here, because of the balloon vendor, and how I made this image juxtaposing the heroic statue and the balloons. What I am implying, of course, is that all wars are essentially foolish. Deadly and terrible, but in the long view of history, many people die for no real purpose other than national pride or economic gain. Do you see the metaphor here?
Guest 20-Jul-2006 02:22
Not being offensive, but the hero status in this picture seems like a fool to me - he fought in history and still looks like wanna fight against the balloons.
I read a line from a book the other day, saying" Life actually is a fishing game, but never think that you can catch some or even one fish in the game, when you are gone, you can't take the fish with you. This line suit the hero statue so well. Make me wanna gossip in his ears and tell him that line, so that he would drop the sword and rest in peace in his grave.

Phil Douglis11-Nov-2005 04:30
Thanks, Deborah, for the kind words, and for your interpretation of this image. I was thinking along similar lines when I made it.
Deborah 27-Oct-2005 01:44
I love this photograph! This is the kind of photo that got me shooting in the first place. Thank you Phil for giving so much of your time and talent and sharing your view of our world.

Of this image, we could say that war becomes the focal point of our history, (carved in stone), yet the everyday enjoyment of living is all too easily left out of our history books (disposable helium filled balloons that will be in the trash very shortly).

Thank you for the inspiration.
Phil Douglis08-Oct-2005 01:27
An iconic image of conflict and culture -- thanks for seeing that here, Tim.
Tim May05-Oct-2005 18:13
Icons of culture. War is always with us and has been for eons - war is, as it were, cast in stone. While the balloon are icons of our commercial culture - this too is ever present, yet these icons are not yet cast in stone.
Phil Douglis03-Oct-2005 01:43
Thanks, Ramma and Likyin, for your comments. The situation was perfect for an incongruous photograph. Silly balloons and a very serious warrior. All I did was to find the right spot and waited for the wind to blow those balloons into this exact positions.
Guest 02-Oct-2005 19:29
It's a really strong image, although I am not familiar with Croatian history.

Sometimes we are fighting heavily and seriously ... for, or against only a pile of Disney Balloons. Those balloons are so happy and so fake, waiting for us to cut them through, then flying everywhere as pieces of smiling faces ...
Ramma 02-Oct-2005 19:02
Such a rich and colour ful image. one hand we have a hero, who is so serious, and on the other colourful cartoons, having so much Fun
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