Visual Humour and Irony

July 18, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

I'm not a huge fan of street photography: after years of hanging around forums, I've learned that threads with titles like "Canikon XYZ3560 Does Street" too often means shots of homeless people that do nothing to illustrate or help their plight. Otherwise, a lot of the stuff you see is just pictures of ... people in the street. Err... why?

We can't all be Joel Meyerowitz but if you're going to take a picture of a stranger, it needs to say something bigger or more interesting than 'here's a picture of a stranger'.

But I do have a weakness for the sub-genre of humour and irony. Laugh or smile, provoking a giggle or a thought, this sort of thing tickles my trigger finger.

Whatever camera you have with you is the right camera. Below are shots from everything from P&S to Medium Format. Quality isn't the point, it's about seeing and smiling.

Dogs are so often good, as Elliot Erwitt well knows. I'm not in his league by a long shot but this one of mine made me grin. Ricoh GR2.

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And their expressions sometimes chime so well with the circumstances: Panny FZ8P1020041

 

People can be just as funny, especially the wonderful Italian race... Rome, Leica M9. I like the way the peacocks in the foreground are unaware of the dialogue they are having with the fashion dummies in the shop window. Just look at the echoed postures.

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Talking of Italians, I quite like the implied joke, which might or might not be obvious: Leica M8, Venice,

L1000969

 

Then there's the stuff that's more observational and ironic, maybe even a little sad or wistful: Barcelona, M8

L1010153

 

This one is from Santa Fe, and you really need to see a large print to get it. It's verging on 'clever' rather than funny but I like it. Leica M9. The version posted is easier to 'get' but clicking on it gives a visually much more satisfying shot, harder to see the point of at small size. Not everyone 'sees' the joke in this one...

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Similarly, this one isn't really 'funny' as such, but it makes me smile. Leica M8, Barcelona.

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Sometimes it's even worth setting one up: this was my Christmas Card in 2008 and was taken with a Phase One p45+. It's called "Credit Crunch Christmas" and Santa's Down and Out Grotto is under Brighton Pier, which had just the right seasonal colours.

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Of course the vulgar is always tempting if tasteless...

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Talking of vulgar: Rule #1 is that Other People Always Get The Best Shot and, to end, this one proves the point. Someone emailed it to me having found it online and I have no idea who took it but it's really quite funny. You couldn't make it up...


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