Switch to English Language Passer en langue française Omschakelen naar Nederlandse Taal Wechseln Sie zu deutschen Sprache Passa alla lingua italiana
Members: 70,201   Posts: 1,531,529   Online: 1046
      
Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 38
  1. #1
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Montréal (QC)
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    4,351
    Images
    132

    Does humour belong in Photography?

    Recalling the recent thread about Aperture and how the current output of contemporary artists seem to depress some, and/or baffle others, I would like to ask the question: Can a photograph be funny AND be a work of art at the same time? I stand on the ground that a photograph can be a work of art, but I could not for the longest time think of having ever laughed during an exhibition. Many great photographs are contemplative, touching, moving, provocating, but which of them make you laugh? Have you ever peed your pants watching a great print? If not, why would laughter be evacuated from the range of emotions that good photography and art in general should convey to their viewers? Is it even possible to tell a joke with a picture?

    James Joyce is one of my favorite author not jut because I'm a geek and actually bother to follow the arcane details of his writing, but also because he's so damn funny while being a brilliant writer at the same time. Great satirists like Swift, Sterne (also Irishmen, come to think of it), Voltaire, Dickens can be hilarious, but writing and other narrative art have the benefit of temporality, which is often essential to buildup a situation leading to a punch. Photography is not essentially temporal, though you may appreciate separate elements of the picture in a succession ("diachronically" if you will) rather than simultaneously ("synchronically"). I presume it is harder to create a reaction like laughter, that needs a buildup, with a medium in which everything is visible at once. However, I stand convinced of the humorous expressive power of pictures after having seen a great photo spread of the Little Britain actors in UK Vogue last month (for those foreign to the series, LB is a BBC sketch comedy act figuring various impersonations of British type characters).

    So who laughs in the museums?

  2. #2
    juan's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    St. Simons Island, Georgia
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    1,637
    Images
    4
    I find some of Edward Weston's photographs very funny.
    juan

  3. #3
    Les McLean's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Northern England on the Scottish border
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    1,610
    Have a look at Elliot Erwitt's dog pictures and the series he did in museums, I think many are hilarious. I guess the question that will be asked is are his images fine art. I think they are but I've no doubt that many don't. Perhaps this is another can of worms waiting to be opened.
    "Digital circuits are made from analogue parts"
    Fourtune Cookie-Brooklyn May 2006

    Website: www.lesmcleanphotography.com

  4. #4
    SuzanneR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    5,730
    Images
    139
    Quote Originally Posted by Les McLean
    Have a look at Elliot Erwitt's dog pictures and the series he did in museums, I think many are hilarious. I guess the question that will be asked is are his images fine art. I think they are but I've no doubt that many don't. Perhaps this is another can of worms waiting to be opened.
    It's art!! It's art!!

    It's rare to find photos that are 'laugh out loud" funny, but I think photography lends itself to a more subtle humor, and when done well can be very effective. I find humor in a couple of Sally Mann's photos, certainly in Erwitt. An obscure photographer, Phil Perkis. Even Lee Friedlander, or Winogrand.

    Sometimes, the humor gets a little dark, too...

  5. #5
    Andy K's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sunny Southend, England.
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    9,422
    Images
    81
    Laughter is just as valid an emotional response as any other, so yes, humour has a place in photography. Just as it has a place in all art forms.


    -----------My Flickr-----------
    Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.

  6. #6
    medform-norm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Netherlands
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    863
    Images
    1
    I stand on the ground that a photograph can be a work of art, but I could not for the longest time think of having ever laughed during an exhibition.
    Maybe you've been seeing the wrong exhibitions? We laugh all the time in museums. Try seeing some Henri L'Artique for instance - very amusing. Personally, we really like some photo's by swiss based artists Fischli & Weiss. I could enumerate a few others if you'd want, but all depends on your own sense of humour as well. Alas, from this distance, I can't judge to what sort of humourous types you belong. And then, some may laugh where others fail to see the humour. Happens all too often. An example: Gilbert & George's photo works is funny to some, pointless to others.

    But on the whole: humour and art are not by definition mutually exclusive, so there is no reason why there couldn't be photographs as works of art that are also funny or even hilarious.
    Last edited by medform-norm; 08-30-2005 at 02:17 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: HTML error

  7. #7
    Helen B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Hell's Kitchen, New York, USA
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    1,557
    Images
    27
    I agree with Suzanne about photography lending itself to subtle, quiet humour more than the laugh out loud stuff - not that the laugh out loud stuff doesn't exist. I think that there is also a subtle visual wit going on in a lot of photography.

    Paul Hill, Martin Parr and Ray Moore all strike me as having (had) a particular sense of humour that comes out in their photography. Oh, and Greg Lucas. The photographers already mentioned in this thread. The list could go on and on. Some people even found my 'Roadworks', 'Tissue Boxes' and 'Discarded Vegetables' series funny, and don't you dare suggest that those snaps weren't art. Oops. No, I mean, don't you dare suggest that they were art.

    So, Frank, does humor belong in music?

    Best,
    Helen

  8. #8
    df cardwell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Dearborn,Michigan & Cape Breton Island
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    3,342
    Images
    8
    [SIZE=7] doisneau ! [/SIZE]
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  9. #9
    jp80874's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Bath, OH 44210 USA
    Shooter
    ULarge Format
    Posts
    3,408
    Images
    6
    Jacques Henri Lartigue

  10. #10
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Montréal (QC)
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    4,351
    Images
    132
    Helen, your Pier 54 photo is actually really amusing, and it's gorgeous as well, so I guess we could put it nearer the funny & (not-)art categories.

    Suzanne has a good point on the general subtlety of humour in photo. As Juan pointed, some of Weston's pictures are quite funny: some that come to mind are those representing sink siphons and water pumps, which resemble erect or sagging men privates. In the same vein, I'd say that Marcel Duchamp's urinal is utterly funny, by its absurd inappropriateness (well, back then it was inappropriate!) and the joke it is also playing on the audience.

    I do not know some of the names mentionned in this thread so I will surely look them up.

    I think the question is rather: Does Frank belong in music?

Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast


 

APUG PARTNERS EQUALLY FUNDING OUR COMMUNITY:



Contact Us  |  Support Us!  |  Advertise  |  Site Terms  |  Archive  —   Search  |  Mobile Device Access  |  RSS  |  Facebook  |  Linkedin