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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Two: Travel Incongruities > Grazing, di Rosa Preserve, Napa Valley, California, 2007
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Grazing, di Rosa Preserve, Napa Valley, California, 2007

More than 900 artists are represented in Rene di Rosa’s huge collection of contemporary art at the di Rosa Preserve. One of those artists was his late wife Veronica, who created a herd of grazing sheep made of steel plate in 1988. I first photographed the entire herd as part of a landscape. But the incongruity of it was lost in translation. At a distance, they looked too real. So I moved in and stressed the detail of the grass, using a steel sheep without eyes and mouth as incongruous context.

Leica V-Lux 1
1/400s f/6.3 at 74.6mm iso100 full exif

other sizes: small medium large original auto
Phil Douglis06-May-2018 20:06
A "What, What" photo! A great name for an incongruous idea. You are right -- the brain will see what we want it to see here. We want to see grazing sheep, right? We don't want to see a piece of grazing metal. And so we force our brains to imagine these metallic sheep as real sheep. You say that the real grass, the real blue sky, and the completely unreal stylized metal sheep "weirdly make sense" here. That is because you have willed it so! And that, Merri, is why I made this image as I did -- as a demonstration of incongruity at work.
Merri 06-May-2018 07:45
I see the two major elements - the detailed, living three-dimensional grass and the blank, inanimate two-dimensional representation of a sheep - completely separate from one another. The incongruity for me is that my brain puts these two together (helped by the same blue sky they are under) and then they weirdly make sense. It's a "Wait, what?" photo.
Phil Douglis07-Sep-2008 17:51
The art itself is whimsical, Wojciech -- and I've tried to intensify it by making it seem to life.
Guest 07-Sep-2008 06:43
:) Great contrast, very humorous!:))
Phil Douglis28-Jan-2008 04:08
Yes, this shot could easily be in my vantage point gallery as well, Vera. It is the vantage point that creates the incongruity, that blank black metallic face peeking out at me from behind the grass.
Guest 27-Jan-2008 23:43
Your vantage point really adds to this photo. It is as if the sheep is looking at you saying "what do you think you are doing?" It is like taking a picture of a got down to their level so it gives the feel of a real sheep.
Phil Douglis24-Jun-2007 18:59
Yes, that was my intention. It is a counterpoint to the grim work of art on the "Haunting Field" at Both images were shot on the grounds of a contemporary art museum. Art looks at life from all sides, and I try to do the same in my photography.
monique jansen24-Jun-2007 10:05
Funny and humorous!
Phil Douglis22-Jun-2007 17:45
Thanks, Ceci, for seeing the incongruities here. I give much of the credit to the artist, who created these metal sheep specifically to graze in this field. All I did was to intensify and emphasize the grazing aspect of her art, by moving in on just one of them and juxtaposing it with the grasses and flowers around it.
Guest 22-Jun-2007 17:16
Utterly charming, bright, fun and incongruous, a lovely shot of man-made and nature-made!
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