He Sees Me

By: pbcmedia

Feb 20 2009

Tags: , ,

Category: Clouds, Creativity, Deep Thoughts


Focal Length:23mm
Camera:Canon EOS 5D

I didn’t notice until I got home that the dog was looking at me as I took this photograph.

It was taken near the Endicott Estate in Dedham, Massachusetts.

It changes the whole feel of this picture for me.  If he’s not looking at me, it’s a still life albeit writ large with dramatic skies.

But, knowing that the dog is looking at me at the exact moment that I pressed my finger on the shutter makes it no longer still life to me, but conscious life?  What is the opposite of still life?

Creepy life.

There’s something about it that bothers me.

©Pat Coakley 2009


19 comments on “He Sees Me”

  1. Wow, what a sky! You know, dogs are pretty smart people. They live in the moment and don’t let you get away with a thing. The watcher was being watched!

  2. Now I don’t see it as creepy at all.
    I think he’s giving you recognition and acknowledgment.
    In a vista as vast and impersonal as this enormous sky, he’s let you know by his keen and highly developed olfactory quality, that he senses your presence.
    Seems more beneficent than what most people can offer.

    But of course, this interpretation comes from a lover of lizards…..
    Still, that doesn’t mean it isn’t so.

    Hooooo, what a sky. I know you’re so ready for May.

  3. Bon Bon, are you telling me I smell bad? Hoo hoo. You are on to it, think, though. It is the vastness of the overall image that gets totally contradicted by him seeing me. This visibility issue is amazing and mysterious. Sometimes we want it; sometimes we don’t. Sounds like a commercial.

    Don: Amen, you are correct, also. Being watched when I’m in my safe little observer role may be unsettling. Anyway, I’m going now to take a shower because my hygiene’s been called into question! (I am totally kidding of course BUT the fact of the matter was that I had not taken a shower that morning because I was sleeping over the kids’ house and hit the ground running at 6 AM. In fact, at one point, later in the day, noticing what I call my “helicopter” hair, two of the girls, age 3 and 6, said, “Pappy, you need a makeover right now!”

  4. FIRST, the photo is fantastic. Second, I understand what you and the others here are saying, but for me its not creepy but very, very cool….On the other hand, I wasn’t the one taking the picture!

  5. Pappy- Let’s start with the underlying premise that dogs are not some of your favorite creatures to begin with – then we can build upon the fact that there is one actually “checking you out”. For a dog lover this glance would bring a smile to their face…. for others it seems “creepy”. Show the pooch some love !

  6. psychscribe, I believe if HJ above, Madame Sigourney Freud from PA, is correct, YOU are a dog lover because it brought a smile to your face! Ditto, Bonnie. OK. I’ll fess up. Our dog was a German Shepard and one day he just wasn’t there when I came home from school. My mother (Now, HJ, you know she had issues!) told us he must have been kidnapped or gone with a stranger. We found out years later she had given away to some place because he was driving her crazy. My brother NEVER forgave her after finding out. I, on the other hand, just observe the animal world from across the street.

    HJ, thanks for bringing me back to the good ol’ days! You who who drove over the George Washington Bridge on fourth of July with a gas grill (gas tank filled up) rolling around in the well of the van with your pooch in the backseat!!


  7. Actually I’m not a dog lover at all…all that drool and sniffing where their noses have no business…no, we have 2 Maine Coon Cats.

  8. animals are so aware of what’s alive in their environment.
    “Still life?” the dog is asking you “you wanted a still life? but what about me?” oh it is such a beautiful photograph.

  9. I love that he’s looking at you. I love that he and his friend are like a tiny coda in that vast landscape shot, but that his looking out at you calls my attention. It’s a lovely photo.

    I’m sad to hear about your childhood dog. One of my favorite dogs from childhood disappeared at the hands of my parents, too. A beautiful, gentle collie. My dad took him ‘out for a walk’ one morning and left him at the pound. Because we kids (at the grand ages of 1, 6 and 8) we’re taking responsibility for his care. It still rankles more than a little.

  10. Psychsribe: Coon cats are those big large fluffy ones, right? I’m not exactly a cat girl either to tell the truth!! No childhood trauma to explain it although there was one wild one once that kept hissing at me!!

    Tipota, he is sort of challenging me, isn’t he? Oh, if he only knew the effect he had on the woman with the camera!!

    Girlgriot, Oh, a collie!! I loved collies! From my days of watching Lassie on TV Saturday mornings! Yep, it’s amazing the longevity of childhood in so many damn ways!

  11. Yes, Maine Coons are those big, large fluffy ones. Male Maine Coons are are almost like dogs in their behavior, we have a lot of fun with ours. :)

  12. Do you know the short story by Friedrich Dürrenmatt “Vome Beobachten der Beobachter des Beobachters”? It is about people observing observers. The dog looking at you makes it suddenly seem to be some higher smarter creature than we are, no?

  13. Sannekurz, hello! No, I don’t know the short story but what you say about it makes tremendous sense to me. It wasn’t just that he was looking at me, but perhaps, he might know something more than me. Oh, how interesting. Hope your movie opening does well!!

  14. I love dramatic skies and nice rich colours.

    The dog probably heard your camera click.

    John Berger in his book “Ways of seeing” mentions how it’s human nature to assume that if we can see a person, they in turn can see us (even if we’ve hidden ourselves away). He goes on to talk about the nature of painting and how it’s very often assumed that because the viewer is looking at the painting that the viewer expects the figures in the painting to looking back at them. A very famous example of this is “The Luncheon on the Grass (Le déjeuner sur l’herbe)” – by Édouard Manet.

  15. Hey, Razz, I just got a phone call from police officer in the neighboring town to where this photograph was taken. He said a young girl in this town had reported that someone was taking her picture!! Her Dad apparently was a friend of this policeman and she gave him my license number to check it out! When I told him I was a photographer, he said, he thought that it might be the case and that in fact this happens all the time that people report that some stranger was taking their picture!! So, you cannot make this stuff up, really! I absolutely adore John berger!! His book “To the Wedding” is one of favorites of all time! Ways of seeing could be on my bedside table every night for the kind of insights it has. Reminds me to pick it up! I’m watching a marathon of Anthony Bourdain today as I do chores in a rainy dark day and cook a pot roast. Fingers crossed this works better than the pears and pork!

  16. Great Photo. And I love the fact that the dog is looking at you. It’s like those paintings where a subject is looking straight out at the viewer.

  17. […] recent photo with an animal in it that creeped me out can be seen HERE.   But some of the comments on the blog made me rethink  it.  Maybe I was creeping the animal […]

  18. Carol, I am definitely in the minority here on my own blog. Most feel I should not be creeped out! I’m beginning to think I’m the creepy one. But, the comments have made me think a great deal about the dynamics of observing. I just posted another post with an animal in it, or I guess technically a bird…wild turkeys. Now, they totally creep me out just emerging suddenly from a stand of trees in my back yard, strut about like they own the world and then disappear back into the trees.

  19. Another beautiful lighting photo… :D

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