not about the dog

not about the dog

Clearly, this picture is not about the dog –

yes,  I know the dog is in there –

this is not about the dog,

just consider space,

 negative and positive,

note how the subject is framed,

how the reflection in the water

draws the eye,

inward –

yes, the dog is in the water,

this is not about the dog –

the rock is much larger than the dog,

the curving line of the shore,


as is the coarse beach

in the foreground,….

yes, the dog ran along the beach,

look, this is not about the dog –

the choices processing colours


took time, 

greens of Nature

through the lens……

of constructed reality –


on the weekend, late morning,

yes walking the dog –

this is not about the dog,

its not even our bloody dog –

now focus please,

on intention and message,

there is always a message

in the text of the medium,

this is a medium

with an intended message,

….. where’s our dog, 


with one of the other dogs –

this is not about the dog,

now time and place,

  the setting,

  confined by the frame

that freezes

the moment and the space

in a shared perception,

a community of sorts,

containing values, beliefs and ideology,

yes, the dogs got along,

three dogs plus our own,

yes, very social creatures,

different from cats –

this is not about the dog,

or cats for that matter,

some messages are implied,

some messages are unintended,

there is no message about dogs and cats

in this text – the rock,…….

yes the rock is a significant component

of the composition,

it anchors the eye,

lets the viewer make connections,

it calls forth core emotions,

primal associations,

personal truths,

it,…. yes it reminds you of something,

it reminds you of the dog.


12 thoughts on “not about the dog

  1. Fantastic, a brilliant exercise in focusing our grasshopper brains which, as we we all know, have the concentration spans of goldfish. Reminds me of the classic psychological ploy of starting an address with, “Now, whatever you do, I want to wipe from your mind the image of a pink elephant, just forget about the pink elephant wearing a tutu and riding a tricycle, concentrate on what I’m saying and not on the pink pachyderm in a ballet outfit … Now, what was I talking about?”

    1. Many thanks for your observations.

      The whole post comes out of a number of influences. I mentioned some in my comment to Derrick. Structurally, it is a bit like those Bob Newhart phone call bits. All you here is Bob’s side of the conversation. I guess some of my teaching experiences played into this is well – you are presenting a lesson on a particular topic and it gets hijacked when student asks a divergent question that takes the conversation as far away from the topic as can be imagined. Sometimes that produces a worthwhile teaching/learning moment other times it leads down a path of trivial pieces that only confuse the rest of the class.

      The other aspects include the media principle of intended and unintended messages ( the implied space of mass media ) , and there is the compositional nature of an image ( in spite of the ubiquitous nature of digital photography & cameras, most people still have no Media Literacy skills/training in how to compose a decent shot – see comment below about family photographs. )

      You are spot on about how the poem alters the context of viewing the image. Many will not see the dog unless the view the enlarged image. Once you see it, you can not unsee it. ( Schrodinger’s dog – if you find it it is there, if you don’t look for it it is not there. ) 😀

    1. If you look at the enlarged image (click) it becomes more noticeable.

      I wanted to turn the typical family photographer description explanation inside out and mash it up with the “Arteest” photographer’s philosophic explanation.

      The barely noticeable dog is like those family shot of “Uncle Fred at Family gathering” – “Here is a shot of dear Uncle Fred. He is standing right behind cousin Zelinda, who is next to the potted fern in the upper corner. See just above Great Grandmother’s favourite chair – the one Rose Marie is sitting in.” Of course the main subject of the shot is Bernice’s hat, which is slipping over her nose.

      The half conversation structure comes from seeing too many Bob Newhart phone conversations on Ed Sulivan and the Johnny Carson. 😀

  2. Funny poem. Really loved it! It is a beautiful image, Joseph. I didn’t want to find the dog, but felt obliged to check it was there just in case it was another Blinge Flinschers ploy. 😊

    1. It is there, more easily seen if you click to see the enlarged image. A very small component of the composition that becomes huge in the context of the poem’s one-sided conversation. 🙂

    1. Think of it as a dog-gone picture or a where’s Fido photo. Schrodinger’s dog – if you find it it is there, if you don’t look for it it is not there. 😀

    1. If you look at the enlarged image (click) it becomes more noticeable – on the left side of the image near the mid-line. It is in the water with a wake trailing it. look just above the coarse beach. 😀

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