The photograph “Robert Driving Scott’s Truck” brings to mind both the examples Garland-Thomson provides. It is reminiscent of both the painting of Henry de Lotbiniere and the photo of Theresia Degener and Gisela Hermes. It is so, in that it is sort of posed, yet at the same time we are brought into the photo, rather than simply looking inactively. In the image we see the young boy Robert, the man; Scott, and a somewhat insider’s view of the interior of the truck, as well as the back grounding landscape.
The photo instructs us how to look in several different ways. We are first drawn in by the figure of the boy, then the man. The pale/light colors of their skin and the boy’s shirt grab our attention immediately, holding it for quite some time. The wild excitement and wide-mouthed smile of the boy also grabs our attention at first, especially as the smile reveals large braces. The fact that the two people are more or less centered in the photo also seems to direct our attention to them, as they are the main focus of the picture. But then the slightly darker, though still fairly light, colors of the back grounding trees sweeps our attention rightward through the photo until the end. The clarity of the two figures vs. the slight distortion of the background is what seems to initiate our focus, but the background does eventually pull us in, and then pulls us through the rest of the photo, horizontally speaking.
We read the faces in the photo as extremely happy. The boy’s (Robert’s) eyes are lit up with excitement and joy. He seems to be on a natural rush, as he sits behind the wheel of the vehicle. Scott’s face is somewhat more calm and relaxed, while still seemingly expressing a level of contentment. Scott’s face is more reserved with a smaller smile and showing, in some ways, his age. While Robert’s face is clearer and less reserved as it expresses joy. I am not sure if there is empathy to be grasped here. This picture for some might recall their own similar, or different, experiences. But, the two figures are not actively looking back at those who are staring at them. The photo lacks any kind of onlooker/subject interaction.
Lastly, we see that rather than a colonizing gaze, we are indeed looking from the inside, as opposed to looking down. We are brought so close to Robert and Scott that we feel as though we are in the truck with them, the hazy distortion of the background images also creates the feeling of motion, and I think that the photographer may have been in the vehicle with them, during the event. We are also, very much on their level height wise, not looking down literally or metaphorically. Also, the relaxing and warm feelings that come through via the faces, despite the lack of eye level engagement, gives us the sense of insider status.