Simple image, complex message

Show one thing, and make people think of its opposite.

I enjoy photographs that manage to pull the trick of using some simple symbol. We may not notice this symbol with our “naked eye” but the camera can zoom in at it. Somehow, this camera-noticed symbol triggers complex associations and deeper meanings. And I especially love pics that show something that fires up associations opposite to what you just saw.

Like in the pic above. It shows frozen firewood billets dusted with snow. But viewers think of warm fireplaces; a glass of wine in which fire reflections dance and tremble; a friendly chat in front of a fireplace; a few people without hang-ups went as far as associating it with having sex on a carpet in front of a fireplace (I blame confectionary ads and, perhaps, the popularity of 50 shades of gray).

I admit I’ve met people who didn’t go beyond thinking of cold logs of firewood in cold snow. Further inquiry revealed they’d never had a fireplace. I can’t blame them, but I can pity them. Like I pity that boy from a poor family who had never had the chance to find out he was allergic to caviar.

Great paintings can do better than bad photographs (the same is true for great photographs, of course). Let’s take this Sevostianov’s “Boy & Puppy”:

Vladimir Sevostianov. Boy & Puppy

Most photographs of people with puppies take you no further than a momentary “pretty-cutie” exclamation, before you click on the “next photo”. This crayon drawing – being very simple –  tells you a story of care, love, finding someone, helping them; a tale of friendship, protection and loyalty. Unlike an simple photograph, the more you look into it, the more you get involved into the story, for you discover the position of feet, the tilt of the boy’s head, and all these elements tell you a story about his feelings towards the dog, life, universe and everything.

Some more posts about Sevostianov can be found, if you click on the tag with his name. It is worth doing if you are interested in great art )


    1. This artist would sometimes use crayons on abrasive paper. Sometimes, he would add sand to his crayons. Try this trick sometime, the effect can be stunning )

  1. You say great art makes one feel his/her own emotions and think own thoughts? I see here the boy who feels cold but not because of winter, and feels hungry not cause he didn’t eat since yesterday. He is absolutely fine physically and fully equipped for such weather. And it’s obvious someone takes care of him. But it seems that smiles, talks and emotional care he can get is never enough for him. Who knows maybe he doesn’t have parents or they work all day long to earn some money, or he has just mother and it’s difficult time for them? Anyway he knows how it is and will not let anyone feel the same even a dog. These both (and Mother with daughter) are heartbreaking -for me. it can’t be helped)

    1. I can’t really comment on this. I can only say that true art creates a universe of meanings on which a viewer can draw whatever gets fished out ) It shouldn’t be “helped”. It should be encouraged )

      1. but maybe ‘sometimes banana is just banana’ like in that old joke?)) -You know I needed to say this not to be considered too pathetic ;))

  2. I really love this drawing. You can’t tell it is drawn by a crayonbut the feeling in the drawing you can see. The love of his dog.And by the way is dressed it’s a cold winter night. Thank You for liking my Blue Crowned Bird . *Cynthia

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