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Phil Douglis | profile | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Thirty: When walls speak and we listen tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Gallery Thirty: When walls speak and we listen

A wall can be a barrier. It can hide things from us. But walls can also be very revealing, an expressive force in their own right. For centuries, people have been using walls to communicate their thoughts and ideas, their art and their feelings. A wall can define the character and purpose of an institution or a community. If walls speak to us, we can listen to them, each in our own way, with our imaginations.

Since walls can be such a powerful communication medium, they lend themselves to expressive imaging. We can juxtapose a wall with another subject, and create an expressive relationship between them. We can photograph the play of light and shadow on a wall to create mood and meaning. We can stress the texture, color, or condition of a wall to create symbolic meaning. We can look for information, decoration or desecration on walls, everything from instructions and warnings to fine art and personal graffiti -- the silent shouts of those wanting desperately to be heard and recognized, and photograph all of it in an expressive manner.

In this gallery, I demonstrate how photographs can amplify the meaning of the messages walls send to us, and how they can make us listen to them with our imaginations. I’ve selected most of these images from my archive of digital travel articles posted at:

The initial examples were photographed in the fall of 2005 in Croatia, Montenegro, and Greece. More examples will eventually be added to this gallery from subsequent trips.

This gallery is presented in "blog" style. A large thumbnail is displayed for each image, along with a detailed caption explaining how I intended to express my ideas. If you click on the large thumbnail, you can see it in its full size, as well as leave comments and read the comments of others. I hope you will be able to participate in the dialogue. I welcome your comments, suggestions, ideas, and questions, and will be delighted to respond.