There are many elements in this photograph that seem to be leaning back, from the woman's feet and legs, to the "clip-on" stroller in the back, the orange flag and the shadow of the pole. The boardwalk itself is "pointing" in the opposite direction, such as an arrow would. However, the woman's upper half and the actual pole are straight up, elevating the photograph while the shadows of the bike and pole seem to flatten it out a bit. The pole's shadow and the flag are running parallel to one another.
Though these observations may seem excessive to some, it is vital to see the angles, curves, shapes, brightness, and colors of a photograph in order to appreciate it in a new light. This may very well be a picture of a mother on a bike with her kid in the back or it could be a well-lit, poised photograph with contrasting angles set in front a scenic view of the ocean.
The flag itself holds a strong form in my view. It is reminiscent of the timeless photograph, "Raising the Flag at Iwo Jima", though just in the opposite direction. It is just a silly little orange flag, but its positioning can be seen with sadness, patriotism, a sense of freedom and justice, and independence. It reminds me of a photograph I took while in France, shown below. The emotion it provokes need not be explained further.