On the Pan American Highway, Trujillo, Peru
Most incongruous pictures are there for the taking – we just have to be able to appreciate the nature of the incongruity and then make the most of it in our pictures. Every now and then, however, an incongruity will appear in a flash and then disappear. To capture such things in a photo, we must anticipate what could happen before it happens and be ready for it if it does. That’s what happened here. I was sitting in the front seat on the upper deck of a bus traveling along the Pan American Highway, when I noticed what looked like a huge bale of plant material rolling down the highway towards me. I had time to turn on the camera, frame, and shoot at a number of focal lengths. When I looked at the picture I had just made, I was stunned. My viewing screen showed a very well used truck carrying a load that seemed to defy the laws of gravity, and when I magnified the image, I also noticed several people huddling underneath the cargo just behind the cab. Bringing products to market in Latin America can be an adventure in incongruity.
Art speaks, Bratislava, Slovakian Republic, 2003
This abandoned building in Bratislava is made less of an eyesore by the efforts of local art students who turned every door and window into a visual statement. I move in to remove the building from its surrounding context, making it seem even more incongruous.
Snowy morning on Canyon Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2003
This subject is incongruous in itself, a visual pun. A bronze statue, blinded by wet snow, pleads for help. Sometimes the worse the weather, the better the picture opportunities.
Big smile in the Prater, Vienna, Austria, 2003
The most expressive image I made while walking through in an amusement park in Vienna's Prater, was of a giant clown supporting one the park's many thrill rides. Its brilliantly colored and grotesquely exaggerated features offered an incongruity in scale. I moved to within a few yards of the huge grinning head, taking a vantage point almost directly underneath it, to emphasize the enormity of these features.
Saleswoman, Nosy Kombo, Madagascar, 2002
As a tourist, I find myself confronted by vendors of all kinds. But this particular saleswoman in Madagascar incongrously stood out from the crowd. She had painted her face in a decorative pattern, becoming as colorfully embellished as the products she is selling.
Roots at the door, Angkor, Cambodia, 2000
Scale incongruity takes over this image, as the giant roots of a Banyan tree slowly devour an ancient temple at Ta Prohm, near the ancient temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
Gotcha! Bratislava, Slovakian Republic, 2003
This clever street sculpture lampoons tourists who bear cameras in downtown Bratislava. I used a wideangle lens, moved behind the statue, and waited for an unsuspecting couple to walk past it. The result is an incongrous image of art imitating life.
Dog bed, Bering Island, Russia, 2002
Bering Island, adrift in the vast Bering Sea, is one of the most remote islands on earth. There are no roads. Ancient military vehicles often provide the transportation, and for this particular dog, a place to curl up and sleep. I incongruously juxtaposed this fuzzy Russian dog with its bed of unforgiving steel.
Changing the Guard, Prague, Czech Republic, 2003
The guard is changed hourly at Prague Castle, home to the Czech government. I saw this father and son waiting under the entrance to the courtyard for the ceremony. I previsualized this picture, hoping that they would stay where they were as the old guard passed them on the way to their barracks. They did, and when the guards passed them, I took this picture, an incongruous pairing of formal with casual groupings.
Clouds and Domes, Kizhi Island, Russia, 2003
These fingerlike wisps of clouds gathered in the sky over this 400 year old church on Kizhi Island in Russia's Lake Onega. As I changed my vantage point, I was able to make them incongruously explode into the sky over the church's ancient wooden domes, resulting in a far more mystical image than a picture of only the church by itself.
Descent from the dune, Namib Desert, Namibia, 2002
Some of the largest sand dunes on earth can be found in Namibia's Namib Desert. My photos of the dunes themselves did not effectively convey their vast size, until I was able to incorporate something else in the picture to give these dunes a sense of scale. The incongruity in scale between the tourists descending the dunes, the man among the trees at the base of the dune, and the vast wall of sand itself tells us how huge these dunes really are.
Rowing the Arno, Florence, Italy, 1999
I based this shot on scale incongruity, contrasting the tiny boat in the lower right hand corner to the expanse of water beyond it. My vantage point was from the Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence,