By Stephan Lee
Updated September 14, 2011 at 09:50 PM EDT

This photo by Reddit user Jessers25 is just heartbreaking. While the subject matter is inherently sad, the thoughtful composition is what elicits an even stronger emotional response. The first thing that comes to mind with this photograph is the “rule of thirds”; note the way the structural components of the store cut the image into separate, contrasting color blocks: the gunmetal of the industrial carpet, the shadowy off-white of the ceiling, and the glare of corporate red. Note the curious placement of the wood panels—the asymmetry throws the viewer off-balance, leaving her unprepared and therefore devastated by the quiet irony of the Thomas Jefferson quote. Only after moments of reflection do you realize that “World History” are sneakily the cruelest words of all.

But seriously, B.S. photo critique aside, this is really sad. (And it really is a powerful photo).

Read more: