POTD: A Boy and His Dog

A Boy and His Dog
Bozeman, Montana
2020

Context and titles and one’s own background can heavily influence how a photograph is interpreted. That this photo follows two POTDs of images of the large rock formations at Medicine Rocks State Park might lead you to conclude that this was taken in the same area. And the image title might lead you to believe that it shows a hiker and his dog enjoying the view after climbing up into this arch in those rocks. But neither is the case. The rock is actually an inventive free-form headstone in the local cemetery. So the figures of course are not real.

I’m not a golfer but I am a hiker and I used to hike with my dogs all the time. So of course when I first saw these figure and the rock I pictured it as a representation of hiker and dog in Arches National Park or somewhere similar. From this angle you can even see that the hiker is leaning on his hiking staff. So I figured it was the grave of an avid hiker and his faithful dog. But when I got up close the hiking staff morphed into a golf club and the dog a golf bag. I imagine the gentleman buried here was an avid golfer and the choice of headstone is symbolic of his quest for golfer’s holy grail, a hole-in-one. But even knowing the truth, I still see a boy and his dog every time I look at the photo.