Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Jones Girls -- Writer's Poke #313

Jones Soda has a gimmick. Customers can submit pictures, and if Jones likes them, the company will use them on its bottles.


On facebook this summer, Jones has also been posting pictures from its “road trip” across the country. One picture that stood out to me is what I refer to as “The Jones Girls.”

These five young girls are situated in, on, and next to a British-style Royal phone booth. The girl inside the phone booth looks as if she ended up with the short end of the straw on this assignment. The two girls in front seem innocent enough. But it’s the two girls on top of the phone booth that make the picture feel slightly provocative.

At least that was my initial impression. So since my English students are working with visual responses this semester, I decided to show it to them for their reactions to see if they jived with my own. Most didn’t venture to offer a verbal response in front of their classmates, but it seemed clear that the picture did make a few of them feel uncomfortable, especially the female students. Others simply mentioned the pair of yellow shoes one girl is wearing, or the fact that climbing on old phone booths is a “natural desire.”

What is your initial response to this picture? Don’t focus on what you see. Instead, focus on what you “feel,” and try to explain what in the picture elicits this response.

“I think photographs should be provocative and not tell you what you already know. It takes no great powers or magic to reproduce somebody's face in a photograph. The magic is in seeing people in new ways.” – Duane Michals

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