What does this photograph say to you? If you came across it with no explanatory text, how would it make you feel?
In the category of overthinking things that probably aren’t all that important, I present this photograph from the Howard County Government social media accounts. If you are savvy to local events you may have figured out it has something to do with their “Coffee with a Cop” program.
Here’s the tweet:
Come meet face-to-face #HoCoMD w/ #HoCoPolice Community Outreach Officers this coming Thursday, 7/7, 3-5 pm at WLVC Starbucks (5400 Lynx Lane) in #ColumbiaMD to discuss issues, ask ?s & build relationships 1 cup of coffee at a time. For ?s or more info, call 410-313-2207.
I haven’t ever attended such an event, nor am I likely to. But this photo would absolutely not be an enticement. It feels threatening to me. I’m not qualified to analyze it in a professional sense. So here comes my amateur opinion: I think it’s the combination of an entirely masked face at a distance with a very large hand in the foreground that gives a sense of foreboding.
No, it’s more than that. They have no eyes. No eyes to meet your eyes in any meaningful or reassuring way. No eyes for the viewer to assess safety or intent. I thoroughly support mask wearing to prevent the spread of COVID but this photo renders its subject essentially faceless.
This does not inspire trust. I wouldn’t even feel comfortable accepting that cup of coffee.
Does this photograph make you feel safe? Does it make you want to interact? To engage?
I truly do not know what they were going for here.