It's essentially a domestic scene, but one that is suffused with violence. Again, particularly unnerving is the pallid little girl with the crying (or yawning) baby. Her face is a still, blank slate in an image that is otherwise filled with movement and tension. Of course, the boys threatening the viewer and the dog with their toy guns are both funny but also (more than) a little sociopathic, especially the kid who holds the gun to the dog's muzzle. One wants to ask: what kind of family is this? And what kind of mayhem preceded the snapping of this image?
I think this leads to the second thing that appeals to me about the image: it somehow perfectly sums up my ambivalent feelings towards the holiday season: I find myself looking forward to it and its early evening darkness, warm fires, friendship and companionship, but also terrorized in some sense by the frenzied tyranny of family, forced gaiety, and overwrought gift giving. Underneath all the bonhomie, the forces of misrule, dysfunction and chaos are lurking, just waiting to emerge into the kind of weird anarchism evident in the image. The picture perfectly sums all that up, and also encapsulates my feelings about the "holiday season" in general--feelings which I realize, now, in writing this, to be more than a little misanthropic!
I saw the image originally on Ebay, bid on it, and lost. Sometime later, either a dupe or the same image was offered again. I snapped it up. It's still a favorite.
You can see they are both with cigar...
Here's a Christmas/Snow snapshot I inserted into a snow globe from Goodwill. I shake it up and look at the snow falling in the water with the snow in the snap behind. Neither are real.
Our brains are full of trash. But it seems to me media must have put a lot of it there.
Happy holidays, and bon appétit!