A Modern Rockwell

The New Yorker cover, July 23, 2012

I love this cover on so many levels.

The irony is too delicious.

It’s startling.  It’s real.  It’s so modern.

I’m drawn in and want to know what each is doing.  What to each does their togetherness mean in this instant?

I love that they are physically touching.  How the shadow of the photographer grounds the moment being captured.

I love that it whispers an introvert’s sensibility.

If this family were sitting on the beach each reading a book it would feel so Rockwellian, yes?

Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, paints that very idealic picture in her recent TedTalks.  She weaves the story for us of her family reading books together, traveling with books, being social by being gathered together, each immersed in their book, each on their own flight of imagination.  I certainly found myself wrapped up in the warmth and connection of her quiet family portrait. I’m an introvert too.

Uncomfortable or not, this image is that very same modern-day context for Susan’s slice-in-time family portrait. It may be the portrait of sharing something “out there” with those “in here.”

Are you dismissive of this modern portrait?  Are you certain the right thing to do is to disdain these behaviors, or even forbid them, and therefore we’ll be more connected to each other?

This image is not the picture of horrifying disconnection it could seem to capture. But it does portray a different way of being socially gathered, like Susan’s book-connected family.  For some it is an enriching togetherness.

Try joining in the circle.  You might find there’s a lot more to share by being in synch with the world around you.

Artist Mark Ulriksen and his family posed for the painting while on vacation in Hawaii. 
It is titled “Capturing Memories.”


Categories: Observation


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