Boots for escaping malaise

I’ve been experiencing malaise for the past couple of days – melancholy but without the sadness. The balance of my life has tipped toward more input and less output. This is never the way I want this scale to tip and yet here I am, mired in unproductive worry.

Into this malaise entered this image from one of my favorite photographers, Alice Gao:

The image is but one example of the inputs that have begun to outnumber my outputs but it is perfect enough to help me break that seemingly inescapable loop. Case in point: in writing this very blog post about the image, I’m finally generating some output.

The image is deceptively simple. Color has been shifted to black and white; the head and face of the subject can’t be seen; even the action being performed is unclear – is the boot being put on or removed by the subject?

Context has been stripped to these and other ends but just enough is left to allow for infinite possibilities; myriad interpretations. The subject as exhausted worker just returned home, the subject as lover mere moments from crawling into bed, the subject as shopper – lonely or loved or both – checking the boots for fit or style.

Or perhaps these are merely boots built for escaping malaise.


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