I chose to look at the photograph titled “Robert Sleeps While Dog Sitting at Debbie’s House.” What attracted my eye to it right away and invited me to stare was the triangulation that was happening within the frame of the photograph. The photographer made what I’m assuming was a conscious decision to use the placement of the three dogs to create a path for the viewers eyes to follow through the piece. The eye starts at the dog laying on the sleeping child. Not only is this the starting point because of the oddity of the situation, but also because it’s near the top of the frame where our eyes first enter the piece. That dogs gaze leads us to the next dog, and the next ones leads us to the last dog whose gaze leads us to the child. My eye actually follows the boys hand and arm where the third dogs attention seems to be focused, as though he expects the boy to throw the toy that rests on the recliner.
There is also a fair amount of linear perspective that the photographer implements to draw us into the center of the photograph, further strengthening the idea that the sleeping boy is the focal point. The bottom edge of the rabbit cage is a lighter value in relation to other objects around it, and it appears to descend into the photograph, directly towards the sleeping boy. When taking the rabbit into consideration, along with the three dogs, the four create a frame within the frame, drawing more attention to the boy. Another thing the photographer did a good job of was creating texture in the piece. Whether it be the contrast, or just what they chose to include in the frame (or both), there is a lot present. The wire mesh of the rabbit cage catches the eye as it stands out against the bleak walls behind it, and the different furs of the dogs and even the material that is on the recliner add interest to what could have been an otherwise flat piece. All of these elements are things that not only invite us to stare, but hold our eyes once we do.
The angle at which the photograph was shot allows the viewer to be a part of the scene, rather than looking down on it. By placing the viewer at the foot of the recliner amongst the dogs it suggests that we too may be a dog, waiting for the boy to wake and throw the toy once more. By looking closer, it is evident that all of the dogs are panting, suggesting that they have been playing very recently, and that while the boy is exhausted and sleeping, they are still ready to go. I think that the real meaning of the piece isn’t totally identifiable until the title is taken into consideration: “Robert Sleeps While Dog Sitting at Debbie’s House.” By giving us this context, the photographer really makes a statement of humor and irony. We now know that this boy is the dog sitter, yet the dog is sitting on him – literally – and that he has fallen asleep, leaving the animals to tend themselves and cause whatever mayhem they desire, until he wakes.