Note–This is a paper I wrote for my Principles of Visual Media class.
For my second analysis paper, I thought I would go in an opposite direction of my first analysis paper. The photo (shopped) image of Revolutionary War soldiers dueling with lightsabers underneath the imposing Death Star was enough to make a poor soul spit-take their coffee in child-like joy and amusement, as I’m sure you did when you read the paper. But this time around, I will make it easy and enjoyable to sip your drink while reading, as the image I have chosen is not so stupidly ridiculous. The image I chose deals not with war, strife, and death but love, tenderness, and brotherhood. It will warm your heart; make you believe in peace, and flat-out make your life better. I will guarantee this. It is a picture of a dog hugging a cat.
First thing you see when gazing upon this image is a bulldog giving a full-on body hug to a cat on a velvet couch in a darkened room, clearly caught in the act of god knows what. I have no clue what could possibly be going on between these two. It’s like catching Woody and Buzz talking around humans, a sort of a backroom, behind the scenes moment we are never meant to see. The composition of this image is a little shaky, as the photo was taken stealthily on the move. The image is in black and white, and the dark couch gives a nice contrast and depth compared to the white wall paper beyond it. There are no semiotic or metaphorical codes in this image. It is what it is, if we can even wrap our heads around what “it” is. Given the surprise in the eyes of the cat and the dog and the utter mystery in the set up of this photo, I believe the initial reaction of this audience may be a smirk followed by laughter proceeded by a profound sense of “what the”? As well as” how the”? I am still struggling to find a purpose for this image, but I believe it is an icon of world peace and aesthetically well done.
I mentioned earlier my initial impression, but even as I write this I have not moved past my sense of wonder and frank disbelief of what I have seen. The only thing I am certain of is that this triumphant image is one of the most hysterically funny photos in human existence. That will surely be its place in history, perhaps marking the beginning of a new enlightened age where beast has no predator or foe and all is one and forever peaceful in the animal kingdom. I cannot be certain, but I believe this image was sneakily taken by a human who, in the midst of this canine-feline love-fest, approached the couple in mid-friendship and took this once in a lifetime photo. Was it ethical to take advantage of these two animals, no doubt making the best out of their unprecedented situation? Yes, yes it was. Pets are constantly at the mercy of their human owners, who may dress them up and snap photos of them as superheroes, lobsters, or sci-fi characters at their will. We all know, from cartoons and life experiences, that the cat is the dog’s mortal enemy, and naturally the dogs of the world say “right back at you, pal” when a cat is spotted. A pulse-pounding, ram-shackle no holds-barred chase will ensure, and this is culturally understood. That is what makes the image interesting as it transcends the popular customs of our culture.
An image this bold and beautiful must be seen to be believed. I present this to you with caution, as you may see, for what may be the very first time, the sight of unseen, unabashed dog-on-cat action.