Let’s Overanalyze…My Photograph

Hello everyone! This is the first post in what I hope will be a series I develop in which I overanalyze things. Now, I do not enjoy using the word “things,” but if my plan comes to fruition, I really will be overanalyzing a large variety of items. I also dislike using contractions, but I thought the title of this series would look better with one in it as opposed to the title being completely written out. Obviously, I am compromising a lot of my ideals for this potential series; that is dedication, my friends.

Why would I want to overanalyze random items, one may ask?

Well, because I think it is fun. For example, writing my post entitled “Rhetoric in Recreation” was quite enjoyable for me, which is why it is by far the longest post I have published on this blog. Finding random meanings in seemingly mundane things is something that genuinely brings me joy (and makes me feel better about my analytical skills), so I thought I would practice this “skill” of mine in this series on my blog.

Here is the first object to analyze: a photograph that I took close to a year ago. My family and I were driving to Florida at the time, and at this point in the mid-afternoon, we were in Tennessee. As I was enrolled in a photography class at the time, I thought that trying to take a blurred-motion photograph with the rule of thirds portrayed in the horizon line would be a great way to apply the concepts I had learned. The quality of the result is definitely debatable.

Let us overanalyze it!


I really see what this photograph is trying to say; it clearly shows in a landscape the concepts of global subjective well-being and hedonic well-being. As everyone should be aware of, for most people, their sense of well-being (both overall and emotionally, specifically) is high in early adulthood, decreases in middle-age, goes back up in later adulthood, and finally plateaus due to health-related losses. The photograph at hand perfectly displays this trend, as the horizon line is fairly high in the left third of the image, becomes lower in the middle, and feverishly increases near the middle-right of the image. And of course, the plateau of life satisfaction is apparent on the right side of the image. The guardrail below the horizon line measures the various periods of human life that come with different characteristics.

The car itself also relates to these concepts of varying well-being. Black: the color that represents death, mystery, and authority; also, it is the color of the car in the photograph. From the point of view associated with this image, the car is driving left, which displays non-conformance with the our culture’s concept of linear time that goes from left to right. So why is the car moving this way? It is likely moving left to rid of the mysteriousness and fear associated with aging from those of old age and move these possibly debilitating emotions to adolescents. Of course, many people my age fear the future and inherently have negative biases towards aging, but those in late-adulthood seem to enjoy their lives, as their well-being is usually the highest it will ever be at that time. The image perfectly captures this transference of anxiety to those becoming adults, as the car is positioned at this transition period.

The sky and water break up the patches of land, which further convey the effects involved with the aging of human lives. As one can see, the land is mostly brown, with patches of green throughout. These patches display the various moments of serenity, progress, and balance that can be found throughout human life that keep us going. The color blue represents intelligence and sympathy; therefore, the sky represents fluid intelligence and how it decreases as we age, while the water below depicts crystalized intelligence and how it continues (and even increases) with age. Fluid intelligence, which involves “on-the-spot” thinking, is highest during young adulthood, which is shown in how the sky appears to be larger in the part of the landscape associated with the lowest levels of global and hedonic well-being (where the horizon line is low). Therefore, in human life, there seems to be a trade-off between life satisfaction and some forms of intelligence. Should we let stimuli such as the black car give us anxiety about the future, then? The answer is no; there are adjustments that all humans go through that we must adapt to and appreciate, as our lives are all we have. The guard rail measuring the different times in our lives will always be present, and we must use it to protect us from fears that incapacitate our potential to enjoy life, rather than let it foster fear of future periods of life.

I hope you all enjoyed this insane analysis of a photograph I took; I know I savored this writing experience. Giving myself way too much credit for a moment of time I captured was definitely amusing.

How would you create an analysis of this photograph? Let me know.



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