> Hi Robert...
> Thank you for your reply, I shall try and answer your questions as
> best I can.
> You asked if it was me who perceived incongruity or the subject.
> When I talk of incongruity in terms of this picture it is from the subjects
> point of view, someone who would just happen on the image.
> There are many separate elements within the picture: the curvacious
> lamp, the plain lamp, the baby carriage, the table lamp, the open area or
> public park. We can find a network of relationships between all these
> elements that the subject will encounter. The table lamp for example, has a
> relationship with the baby carriage that is incongruous. Then the
> combination of the table lamp and the baby carriage has a relationship with
> the public park. The relationship of the floor lamps to the public park and
> to the baby carriage is incongruous also. (There are more but these are
> just to illustrate my point). Individually, these elements have complex
> incongruous relationships with each other. My approach is to simplify this
> somewhat into two main elements within the picture:
> 1) The public park.
> 2) The group of objects that makes up the lamp family.
> However, this simplification cannot take place before the subject has gone
> through a process of puzzle solving. The understanding of the objects as
> 'family' is the result of this puzzle solving, meaning the initial reaction
> to the image before this conclusion is reached, would be of incongruity.
> On first reading the image, the subject will perceive incongruous
> links between all these subjects individually. This group of objects
> doesn't make much sense to the subject in this particular enviroment. The
> lamps can be understood in relationship with each other, but their
> juxtaposition with the baby carriage and a public park creates confusion.
> It is the recognition of the family situation that groups these
> objects together, and divides the image into its two main elements: lamp
> family and public park. The conclusion of 'family unit' makes sense of the
> image because we recognise the situation. Mother and father taking baby for
> a walk in the park is a situation that is commonly seen and recognisable
> (based on past experience). The objects as a group becomes signifier of the
> family unit which, in relation with the context of a public park, is
> The falling into place of the elements acts as resolution of the
> image because it makes sense of the initial confusion but also continues the
> incongruity (because the family are still a collection of lamps!). So, we
> have, in effect, a punchline in which there is congruity and incongruity,
> plausibility and implausability. It is with this understanding with which
> the humour lies.
> Sorry if I have repeated things I have already said, but it helps me
> understand what I'm on about as well!!
> It would be really very useful to me if you could give me a summary
> of your analysis by Tuesday...I know this may be rather short notice, but if
> I could include your interpretations of this image in my dissertation (which
> is in on Wednesday!!), with your permission, I think it would make for
> interesting reading. Perhaps you could give me a short summary of your
> thoughts on my analysis so I would be able to include them. If you have
> time, then it would be really great but if you are busy, then don't worry!
>> From: Robert L. Latta[SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
>> Reply To: [log in to unmask]
>> Sent: 25 November 1999 06:10
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Lamp-family photograph
>> <<File: lamp.jpg.jpe>>
>> To Philip Welding
>> November 25, 1999 (2:50 PM JT)
>> Dear Philip,
>> Thanks very much for sending me a humorous photograph with an analysis
>> the humor in terms of incongruity.
>> The photograph (for anyone who might read this but doesn't have access
>> it) shows two floor lamps (which you call standard lamps), one relatively
>> curvacious with an ornate shade suggestive of a skirt and the other
>> straight and plain, standing, one on each side, over a baby carriage
>> you call a push chair), that holds a little table lamp, outdoors on a fine
>> day in a large open area, a public park (though I wouldn't have recognized
>> it as such on my own). In short, it's a lamp-family of three, mother,
>> father, and baby, out for a walk in the park. Have I misdescribed
>> or left something out? If so, please correct me!
>> I want to proceed in an orderly way, and so, before I comment on your
>> analysis, I want to be quite sure that I understand it. You begin: "Here
>> an example of one of my pictures that I see as incongruous. The elements
>> within the image, standard lamps, a push chair and a table lamp positioned
>> in a public park, create what I would describe as incongruous
>> juxtapositions. The placing of these particular objects into this
>> scene is not something that correlates with specific codes and
>> surrounding their individual decoding: Separately they would make sense,
>> together they are incongruous."
>> Here, I have three questions:
>> 1) Is it that you perceive incongruity in this photograph, or is it that
>> the subject perceives incongruity?
>> This distinction is important, because your viewpoint as a humor
>> bent on analysis is very different from that of a subject who simply
>> on the photograph and enjoys the humor in it.
>> 2) How many inconguities do you perceive/does the subject perceive?
>> You wrote "incongruous juxtapositions," in the plural. That's why I
>> 3) For each incongruity that you perceive/the subject perceives, what
>> the terms of that incongruity?
>> One might say that the one floor lamp is incongruous with the park, or
>> other floor lamp with the park, or the table lamp with the park, or the
>> table lamp with the baby carriage, or the three lamps on the one hand with
>> the baby carriage on the other, or the assemblage of three lamps and baby
>> carriage with the park, or the entire scene on the one hand with certain
>> "codes and conventions" (please specify!) on the other, or all of these
>> things, or something else. I'm not sure what incongruity or incongruities
>> you have in mind.
>> Further on, you wrote: "The initial incongruity is enveloped in the
>> understanding of the 'situation' represented and is therefore made sense
>> in the context of a humorous photograph."
>> My question:
>> 4) Do you intend to say simply that the initial incongruity is resolved,
>> or do you intend to say more than that, and if so, precisely what?
>> The trouble is just that this sentence is a little obscure to me.
>> Otherwise, I think that I understand your analysis. I look forward to
>> hearing from you again.