A Picture in 5 Takes

Five takes on the picture:

  1. The original take

    The first time I saw the picture, I interpreted it as this: The being on the left is the guy, the being on the right is the girl. The girl is feeling sad and alone, unloved, and unnoticed. (Arms crossed, staring down, face and body language all suggest a dejected, despondent mood.) The guy comes along, and offers her his heart, though cautiously and somewhat furtively. It’s this moment that the picture captures, the instant before the girl notices. One can only hope that once she does, it will instantly overwhelm the loneliness and isolation she feels, and her enthusiastic acceptance will fuel the spark of confidence that barely managed to get the guy this far. I saw it as a happy picture, with two people about to finally get what they’ve wanted… But then why is it black and white? This one of very few pictures on explodingdog.com that’s in black and white, and there must be a reason. From this interpretation, I’d say it’s in black and white because the moment hasn’t yet happened… it’s about to change into color, the moment she notices him standing there, with heart outstretched. (Kinda like the part in Wizard of Oz where suddenly She’s in Oz, and everything is in color.)

  2. The reaction take

    As is often the case, when I find something to be happy or optimistic, I soon thereafter find reasons for it to really be the complete opposite. This picture is no different. My next interpretation was this: The guy has offered the girl his heart, and she’s refused, and is still upset (because the situation is awkward? Maybe she’s still feeling lonely, just doesn’t dig this guy at all… or is still pining after some asshole that she knows isn’t what she wants but still chases after cause she’s a girl and that’s what girls do.) Whatever it is, she’s upset, but doesn’t want this guy. Meanwhile, the guy is stuck. He’s offered his heart, and got shot down hardcore, and there’s really no way to recover from that that doesn’t involve advanced time travel or something sharp and pointy. So he stands, with heart outstretched. She doesn’t want it, and he can’t take it back. He’s screwed, the poor bastard. Everything is just shades of gray.

  3. The revised reaction take

    After some time, I decided I didn’t like that interpretation, because neither person appeared pissed at each other. The guy doesn’t appear mad as much as confused or cautious. Perhaps the girl hasn’t rejected him, but simply hasn’t accepted (yet? We can hope..) She could be playing hard to get… but if she is, she’s evil, and all girls should stop doing that from now on. (can’t you see it’s killing the guy inside!? Heartless bastards.) Perhaps there are circumstances beyond his control, or in her mind, beyond her control, that prevent her from accepting it. (The possibilities are endless… fear, she’s been forbidden by her parents, she’s stuck with some guy, she’s married? She’s dying. She doesn’t think she deserves him. He’s got a girlfriend, and she knows about it. He’s married? Religion forbids it? She’s about to leave on a 5 year mission to Mars, and he needs to be married within 6 months or he’s getting kicked out of the country.. all valid possibilities.) Whatever it is, the guy hopes that remaining there with heart outstretched, he might eventually win her over… or he’s sick of playing the game, and is going all or nothing: “Here’s my heart, take it or leave it, but this hard to get shit is growing old.” Color would just seem too cheery for a moment that’s filled with so much potential failure/destruction.

  4. The teenager take

    Perhaps it was just me, but I kinda assume that when you’re a teenager, you have no idea what it is you’re supposed to be doing about 90% of the time. The other 10% you’re suffering the consequences for not knowing what you were supposed to be doing the night before, and you’re pretty sure you’re just supposed to sit there and pretend it doesn’t bother you. Well, another interpretation I had of the picture is this: Neither one of them knows what they want. The guy thinks he loves her, but he doesn’t know what love is. So he offers her his heart, all the while wondering if this is what he’s supposed to do, or if this is even what he wants to do, or if he’s just doing it cause he thinks he’s supposed to. Constantly contemplating pulling it back, he stands with his heart outstretched, waiting for some sort of confirmation that this was the right thing, or that he had, in fact, completely screwed up again. Meanwhile, she doesn’t know what she wants, or what she should do. So she just sits and thinks… Maybe hoping that the moment will pass and she won’t have to make a decision, or some answer will be handed to her. So both just stand there awkwardly.

  5. The return take

    Not really a full fledged thought, more of a possibility: They’re breaking up. He’s giving the heart back to her that she had given to him sometime before. She’s sad and dejected, and he feels bad, and isn’t sure what to do, or if this is the right thing… She stands with arms crossed, kinda refusing to take it back. The title would be more of a pleading from the girl, or meant to be ironic.

So there you have it. What one do I think is most accurate? I dunno. But when I look at the picture, I still feel the 1st one right away. It could be that’s just what I want to feel, and the picture doesn’t matter as much, but there you have it. With a title like “I love you, I love you, I love you” how can you not help but want it to be a happy picture? Well, unless your heart is filled with poison.

29 thoughts on “A Picture in 5 Takes

  1. How fitting for me to be the first to respond! lol I think I’m your biggest fan now. Love interpretation 1. Didn’t think of #5, good one also. Honestly, my first reaction of it was that the guy cheated on the girl and she’s mad but still loves him and like most men, he wants her forgiveness and is PROMISING for the millionth time to be faithful by giving him his heart. But I think that would be a quite personal experience that maybe only I would interpret that way. And you’re right, women who play hard to get are evil!But men who cheat are worse.

  2. I think all this over-analyzing totally kills any appreciation for it. Your killing the whole emotional aspect of it by turning it into dry text, and making it unappreciable as a piece of art that doesn’t necessary have to bring forth a specific emotional response. Also that might have been a low blow telling Adam his heart is full of poison.

  3. See, I’d take the opposite stance, and say that seeing other people’s reaction to the picture made me appreciate it more. I think of it not as turning it into dry text, but taking a two dimensional drawing and giving it a 3rd and 4th dimension.. To me it’s no longer a gut reaction emotion like “sad” or “nervous”, now the thing tells a story. The same kind of argument could be made for or against any art form. I’m sure there’s been plenty of talk about what people thought the Mona Lisa meant, and there were certainly others who argued that such talk took away from what it was: An exceptional painting of a lady. The same could be said for my attempts at interpreting songs. Perhaps this picture didn’t have to bring forth a specific emotional response, but the fact is that it did. It did to me the first time I saw it, and thus I was curious what other people thought.

    As for the low blow, it was in reference to his previous comment, but if it seemed overly harsh, I do apologize, Adam. You’re more than welcome to shoot me dead at practice tonight.

  4. I didn’t even catch the low blow to Adam, but I think Tuuk’s difficulty is that because he cannot write very well, he feels left out…I think he/she meant to say “necessarily.”

  5. Meh. I don’t care. I don’t feel insulted, so it doesn’t matter. Oh, and Tuuk is a ‘he’. It hasn’t been proven, but like, I’m pretty sure.

  6. That’s not fair. You all know each other don’t you? lol By the way Ron, what practice were you going to tonight? Still haven’t seen everything on your site. I guess that could be interpreted as a good thing. I might look like a stalker if I memorized every move you make, .

  7. Trisha: I don’t see how you can criticize my writing ability from one post on a website where there was one word misspelled. I say this in regards to your many uses of ‘LOL’, and possibly a ‘OMFG’. Last I heard those kinds of Internet idioms weren’t lauded as pinnacles of good writing. Next time why don’t you try to give people you don’t know the benefit of the doubt.

  8. You don’t even wanna mess with me. I have years and years of experience! Tuuk is entitled to his limited capacities. I give him credit for posting such a lame post initially and not fearing the ridicule from people who are obviously trying to transcend the mere visual aspects of a drawing to the deeper meaning it can hold for the individual viewing it. After all, why would Ron post it if he didn’t want to analyze it to death. At this time, I’d like to insert an “lol” or “lmao,” however I fear the ridicule I might receive from Tuuk and others who find it less than intellectual.

  9. Wow. I’m pretty impressed at how angry I seem to have gotten you. This whole thing is pretty funny to me because we don’t even know each other. There’s no way that either of us can make judgement calls of the sort that have been made. So I’m going to try to put a stop to this arguing, even though I’m tempted to write back some comment filled with immature name-calling. Mostly because name-calling is hilarious.

    As for myself I am male. Also I do have a sense of humor, although you may not like it because it occasionally involves making fun of Ron.

    So come on Trisha! Let’s make up and be pals! What do you say?

  10. I am just messing with you! Well, okay, you don’t know me so I can see where you would think I’m angry, but very little angers me, except the idiotic man that I’m involved with. He often angers me. But this, well, this is just pure fun. Come on dish it out, I can take it.

    And I’m glad that you recognize that we don’t know each other. It means deep down, you are keenly aware that this can’t be serious.

    Okay, so we can be pals, now you’re going to slam me good, aren’t you? That’s my skeptic coming out.

    Wish I could put cool links in my posts like you guys can. That sucks! I need to go back to school or something.

  11. All you really need is a pitiful web site… something like blogger or moveable type would help you get on your way to whining (just like me!) in no-time!

  12. Damn, if I had a blog with 20 comments on one post, I’d give myself a medal. Maybe not a gold one unless more than three of the posts were on topic, but a shiny one nonetheless.

    I want to talk about the picture, though. Forthwith: I changed my mind based on the guy’s feet (I too assumed the one on the left is male and the one on the right female, despite a total lack of visual clues to indicate that. Sad testament to the pervasiveness of heterosexism and male sexual prerogative). Before I noted his feet, I thought this was a deeply tragic scene. They have been together before, maybe for a long time or maybe many times, and while they care for each other, or at least believe they do, they have hurt each other so many times… He’s offering his heart yet again because he doesn’t know how not to–he’s been doing it for so long, and they’ve become so intertwined, that he can’t see himself not doing so, but he knows he shouldn’t, because they’ll never be anything more to each other than the walls they crash against. He doesn’t even see his outstreached hand as “his,” but as his life going on without him (or something like that).
    She’s in a similar position. She doesn’t want to accept, but she knows she will. She’s thinking of who and where she thought she would be, but stops before she even finishes wishing she could get there, because she doesn’t believe she has the strength.

    Anyway, that’s what it looks like to me without the feet. But the feet change everything. His right heel is lifted, (I think it is. doesn’t matter though because) his weight is on his left as he tries to make himself closer to her without actually advancing. He is shy. Never mind whether he has been seeing her from a distance for a long time or whether he’s never come to this park before, he has seen her smile and wants her to smile at him. But he knows he has nothing to offer. She’s probably never seen him before, even if he’s seen her often, and even if he thinks he could earn her smile he doesn’t know how or what to say. But he knows there won’t be any other way to get her to notice him, so he’s decided to just tell her and hope something draws her to accept.
    But she can’t. She has a six-year-old who’s life is already too disrupted and for whom she can already spare too little attention. Or she could never be with a non-Muslim. Or she just graduated and is flying back to India to marry the man to whom she’s been engaged since age three. She knows she could fall in love with him, and that her refusal may mean he will never do such a brave and wonderful thing again, but she can’t.
    So with the feet it’s tragic too, but not nearly so deeply. They both want for her to accept, but she knows, and he will soon know, that this is impossible. She has chosen the person she wants to be, and he wants her to be who she choses, but that means they can’t be together.

    That was fun. I hope you all liked my stories. If you didn’t, and think I’m a big idiot, then I suppose you’ll just have to say so. There’s precedent for that…

  13. Adam: I have no idea how to even begin a web site and never heard the word blog until a couple days ago when I started coming to this site! I’m sure I’m opening myself up to ridicule here, but I am old after all. This stuff wasn’t around when I went to college, at least they weren’t teaching it then and I’m sure it would have been a lot different than now anyway. Graduated in 1991. ugh I repeat, I need to take a class or something.
    Klass: Very interesting and funny take on it. Did you notice also that his hand is to his lip almost as if to say “oops” I screwed up. Will you still take my heart?
    Tuuk: What’s the matter? I’m worried, no witty response?

  14. Heh. Yup, quite a repeated-vowel conspiracy we’ve got going here.
    Or just Dutch ancestry and a failure to think of creative handles. As you’ve noticed, most of the people who read this site know each other, and I want the people I know (including Ron) to know it’s me when I write, so I use my first name. And Tuuk uses his last, which is also what we mostly call him.

    Thank’s for noticing and correcting your spelling, though. It’s not just you who’s thrown off by double vowels, so lots of people very persistently call me Klass or Klaus or worse.

  15. Klaas is your first name???? lol
    sorry Tuuk, the “lol” escaped there. I can’t fight it, I use it all the time and apparently need to since some people don’t know when I’m JOKING.

    Your dutch ancestry would fit in well down here in Central PA. We are very Pennsylvania Dutch, however, I’m from north Jersey…hence the attitude…and the very mundane handle of “Trisha.”

  16. Looking at the image, I think the fact that the “female” (thank you Klaas for making me feel guilty about my chromosomes) is missing a foot is an indication that she’s a peg-leg pirate! Clearly she has just pronounced that the guy must walk the plank of her pirate ship. In an effort to save his skin, he is offering as an appeasement the only treasure he has, the still beating heart of his new bride. But even as he holds the heart out, he lifts a hand to his face, all too conscious of the terrible price paid. In his own heart, he cries out to his dead wife, “I love you, I love you, I love you.”

  17. I just want to point out that Pennsylvania Dutch are actually of German descent.

    I also want to apologize for misspelling irregardless. I missed an R but perhaps it went to one of those people who say, “fustrated”.

    Sorry I have no comment on the picture. Perhaps I’ve been too blessed and have no jaded single life to reflect on.

  18. Actually, it is more German to use the double vowels, hence I thought Klaas was referring to Pennsylvania Dutch when he talked about his Dutch ancestry. My mistake! When you’re surrounded by it you think everyone Dutch is Pennsylvania Dutch!

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