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HUMOUR-RESEARCH  1999

HUMOUR-RESEARCH 1999

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Subject:

RE:

From:

Oliver Haas <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Thu, 11 Nov 1999 13:43:28 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (130 lines)

Hello again Philip,

	That's an interesting line of thought, trying to fit the concept of
punchline to photographs. I think a number of issues come up. Is photograph
content read sequentially like a verbal joke, or decoded as a whole similar
to the way we read words, not letter by letter but by their overall shape?
That would bring them cognitively/technically closer to the witty word uses
and alterations that Freud mentions (like 'famillionär').
	Techniques like that are often used in advertising and design to
reveal an aspect of a company or product in a memorable way. Although they
are enjoyable, they are not necessarily perceived as funny. Where then lies
the difference between incongruous message elements which are witty and
those which are funny?
	Then there is the issue of message context and the whole question
of the peculiarities of a particular discourse type. Many photos which
would never have been funny on their own can gain a humorous twist in ads,
for example, just by being used 'unsuitably' (or incongruously :)) to the
generally assumed promotional intention of an advert. It seems the
environment and purpose of a photo are more relevant than those of a joke.
Do I read a photo as a historical document, as a piece of art, or as a
factual representation? How does that influence my response?
	Interesting stuff, funny photos. How do you assess them? What are
your particular interests?


Oliver





>Hello Oliver!,
>
>	Thankyou for replying to my request, I shall hunt down the books you
>recommended. I see that what I need to do is research the subject of Humour
>in art and cartoons, and general photographic theories, like Barthes et al,
>as you suggested. In combining these and more general humour theories there
>should be some kind of sense that emerges out of the rubble!!
>	 As you said, the problem with discussing Advertising is the
>combination of visual and verbal content and the issue of context, which is
>a factor that I would like to deal with seperately.
>	William Wegman's pictures are a wonderful example of humorous
>photography, and  I am wondering whether a commonality in humorous
>photography is incongruity without a punch-line, due to the nature of the
>beast. Could photographic humour be compared to the pun or one-liner? I
>understand that the process is different to the verbal joke, as in all the
>information is laid out in front of you, putting you in the role of partial
>creator of the humour (a form of puzzle solving perhaps). Do you think the
>punchline is more likely to be implied than represented within the
>photograph? Please tell me if I talk too much as it is something I have a
>habit of doing!
>
>Phil Welding.
>
>> ----------
>> From: 	Oliver Haas[SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
>> Reply To: 	[log in to unmask]
>> Sent: 	09 November 1999 10:36
>> To: 	[log in to unmask]
>> Subject: 	Re:
>>
>>
>> Hello Philip,
>>
>> the visual side of humour is woefully underresearched. It's just so much
>> more complex than verbal humour which is much more approachable with
>> linguistic and even mathematical methods.  I've found it useful in my
>> research of advertising to look beyond humour research. There are some
>> books by non-researchers who attempt taxonomies of visual wit in
>> commercial
>> art, notably
>>
>> Eli Kince, 'Visual Puns in Design, The Pun used as a Communications Tool'
>> which is a bit dated, and
>>
>> Beryl McAlhone and David Stuart, 'A Smile in the Mind. Witty thinking in
>> graphic design'.
>>
>> I also found the following more general sources very useful to get
>> thinking
>> about semiotic and semantic qualities of images:
>>
>> Durand, Jaques, 'Rhetorique et image publicitaire'
>>
>> Barthes, Roland, 'The Rhetoric of the Image'.
>>
>> Advertising is full of examples of funny/humorous/witty photography and
>> there are a number of good books on the subject. But as you are interested
>> in photography alone you might find that print advertising often builds up
>> its incongruous contexts between visual and verbal content and might not
>> be
>> suitable for your research.
>>
>> A well-known artist using humorous photography is William Wegman who most
>> famously uses his dog to build up multilayered incongruities. You find
>> some
>> of his images at http://www.wegmanworld.com/ .
>>
>> Let me know how you get on. It's an interesting area of research.
>>
>> Best wishes
>>
>> Oliver Haas
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> >hello everyone!
>> >
>> >	I'm a student studying humour in photography. I have been reading
>> >humour theory with the intention of comparing the verbal joke to the
>> visual.
>> >This seems to be the only way to approach this topic as there is a lack
>> of
>> >research on the matter. Does anyone know of any research into the place
>> of
>> >humour in photography? I am also looking for humorous photgraphs that
>> >include  incongruity and resolution to use as examples..any ideas?
>> >
>> >Philip Welding
>>
>>
>>





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