Sometimes the answer is as simple as ice cream.
Anyone can look miserable when you catch them unaware — even at the Great Minnesota Get-Together. A candid shot of two teens on the Sky Glider leaves the impression that these millennials are bored with the fair — and each other. Sitting side by side high above the fairgrounds, she’s engrossed in her phone, he’s sulking into his seat.
But the truth lies in an empty cup of Dippin’ Dots and an incessant desire to share our experiences with the world.
The image went viral Tuesday on Reddit, getting thousands of shares. A Photoshop battle later ensued on the forum, poking fun at what could have been a romantic ride near sunset. One imitation had her riding with a sad Keanu Reeves — a popular internet meme. Another shows the two distracted teens gliding through explosions without looking up.
Just 90 minutes after asking the subjects to contact the Star Tribune with their side of the story, 17-year-old Jake Shepley, of Burnsville, reached out to us. While a good gag, he said the picture is not quite what it appears.
“I was sad because I love love love dipping dots [sic] and didn’t have any more money to buy more,” Shepley said. He attended the fair with his ex-girlfriend (now best friend) Chloe Atkinson, a fellow Burnsville High School student.
“I sat there for awhile contemplating to ask Chloe to buy me some more but I never ended up asking,” he said.
In that moment, Atkinson, 16, was busy sending a photo to friends riding in front of them, he added. Shepley had no idea who took the photo.
He was notified that the picture was making the rounds on social media when his parents saw it on Facebook Monday. Shepley got a laugh out of many photoshopped versions but called others that went too far disrespectful. (Some guessed at what he might be thinking, so use your imagination.)
Turns out, 17-year-old amateur photographer Gabrielle Bremer was riding on the opposite side of the Sky Glider when she spotted the bored-looking teens heading in her direction. At her mother’s urging, she picked up her camera and clicked.
“I laughed,” said Bremer, of Barnum, Minn, a tiny town in Carlton County. “My mom and I were both giggling about [their expressions.]”
Bremer has attended the last two State Fairs for her photography entries. She walked away with three blue ribbons this year — and a viral image.
What began as a simple post to her professional Facebook page, Through the Lens Photography, and a local photo blog was eventually shared all over the web. “It just kinda took off,” said Bremer, who awoke Tuesday to the surprise. She’s delighted.
Overall, Shepley said his day at the fair was filled with fried food and fun. Even if the picture didn’t show it.
That face when your cup of Dippin' Dots is empty... It's okay Jake, you're not alone. https://t.co/QvjLa1Li55— Dippin' Dots (@DippinDots) September 8, 2016