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Oftentimes, it’s what we don’t see that tells the real story of the people smiling at the world online.
Last month a chill went down the spine of Japanese Twitter users as they looked at an illustration of a child reaching into a refrigerator to grab a pack of pudding…and also reaching past the stockpile of alcohol required by his alcoholic parents. But while that picture was indeed worth a thousand words, often the thousand words of a snapshot shared on social media isn’t enough to tell the whole story of a person’s life.
And so @avogado6, the same artist behind the refrigerator illustration, is back with another drawing, this one titled “What does your eye see?”
アボガド6 (@avogado6) October 16, 2017
At a quick glance, it looks like a pretty happy moment. A young lady with a beaming smile flashes a selfie as she sits in her apartment, with a cup of coffee and slice of strawberry shortcake on the table in front of her. But let your gaze zoom out to the gray outer areas, which actually make up the majority of the drawing, and things start to look very different.
Outside the frame of the photo, the woman’s apartment is decidedly dilapidated. Her furniture is collapsing, and trash and empty food and beverage containers littler the floor, revealing that her home life isn’t as happy or luxurious as the photo she’s sharing would imply.
But what really gives us a clue as to what’s going on are the dozens of strips of paper with “Ii ne!” written on them. Ii ne literally translates as “good,” but it’s also the term Japanese Internet users use to “like” something online.
Adding another layer to the surprisingly complex situation, the kanji character @avogado6 uses for “eye,” 眼, can also used to refer to a camera lens, so the title “What does your eye see?” could also be translated as “What does the camera see?”
Once the whole scene sunk in, it left a deep impression with those who saw it, prompting comments such as:
“What we see isn’t always how things really are.”
“If I’m buried in ‘likes,’ my life must be good, right?”
“What we see is only a small part of a person’s life, with so much more that we’re not aware of.”
“Ideals vs. reality.”
“I can’t really say whether or not it’s good for us to show only our best points to other people, and to hide our faults and shortcomings. So I can’t really say what exactly my eye sees…”
“Looking at this makes so many thoughts run through my mind. I wonder what the people who upload photos are feeling, and whether it’s OK that we ‘like’ them as long as we enjoy what we see in that one picture. Something feels wrong, but even as I was thinking that, I clicked the ‘like’ button for this.”
The last commenter apparently wasn’t the only one to feel a mix of conflicting emotions. In an ironic twist, @avogado6’s tweet has been liked over 96,000 times in the two days since it was posted, Hopefully the periphery of the artist’s artwork, all the parts of his life that we don’t see, are less bleak than that of the woman taking the selfie.
Source: Twitter/@avogado6 via Jin
Featured image: Twitter/@avogado6
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