Photography Performing Humor

Liesbeth Decan (Editor), Mieke Bleyen (Editor),

Series: Lieven Gevaert Series 26

Category: Art, Media and Visual Culture, Photography

Language: English

ISBN: 9789462701656

Publication date: March 6, 2019

€39.50 (including 6% VAT)

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Number of pages: 216

Size: 230 x 170 x 14 mm

Number of illustrations: 100

Illustrations and other content description:
32 pp. full colour (2 sections) Guaranteed Peer Reviewed Content

Stock item: 126981

Standard delivery time for print books:

For Belgium: 5 to 8 working days

For EU: 2 to 3 weeks

For other countries: 4 to 5 weeks


New perspectives on humor within photography
Despite the ubiquitous presence of photographic humor in art and popular media, the phenomenon has as yet received very little scholarly attention. Focusing on staged humor rather than on comic effects of snapshot photography, this volume brings together leading scholars in the field addressing humor performed in front of the camera, often specifically created for the camera, and the performative joke-work done by the medium itself. A first section explores how photography, due to its “shattering” qualities, turns into a privileged medium for eliciting humorous effects and how humor can be discerned within the photographic event. A second section discusses the toolbox of photographic trickery (photomontage, double exposure and cinematic movement) that allows photography to mock itself. The book closes with a section on photographic wit in conceptual art, both in canonized and more locally distinct practices.

With artists’ pages from Paulien Oltheten, Lieven Segers and David Helbich

This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).

Contributors: Kevin Atherton (National College of Art and Design, Dublin), Anna Corrigan and Susana S. Martins (Universidade NOVA de Lisboa), Hilde D’haeyere (KASK School of Arts of University College Ghent), Heather Diack (University of Miami), Louis Kaplan (University of Toronto), Ann Kristin Krahn (Braunschweig University of the Arts), Sandra Križić Roban (Institute of Art History, Zagreb), Esther Leslie (Birkbeck University of London), Johan Pas (Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp), Katarzyna Ruchel-Stockmans (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

Artist’s pages by Paulien Oltheten
Introduction Mieke Bleyen & Liesbeth Decan
Part IFinding Humor in the Photographic Event
Photography and Laughter’s Shattered Articulation Esther Leslie Falling as Art: On Orchestrated Accidents in Photographic Practice in Poland Katarzyna Ruchel-Stockmans Adding a Giggle: Lee Friedlander’s Practice of the “Shadow Self-Portrait” Ann Kristin Krahn Performing the Performance Documentation Kevin Artheron
Part IIMaking Fun of Photography through Tricks and Montage
Ghosts Just for Laughs: Spirit Photography and Debunking Humor Louis Kaplan Comedy Performs Photography: Imaginations of Photography in Silent Film Comedies Hilde D’haeyere Feminism, Laughter, and Photomontage: Comedic Effect and Grete Stern’s Sueños Anna Corrigan & Susana S. Martins
Part IIIPhotographic Wit in Conceptual Art
Keeping a Straight Face: Photography and the Performance of Conceptual Art Heather Diack “No Photographs Allowed”: Conceptual Wit in Some Belgian Photo-based Artists’ Books Johan Pas Laughter Protocol: Elements of Humor in Proto- and Conceptual Photography in Croatia Sandra Križić Roban
About the Authors Artist’s pages by Lieven Segers Artist’s pages by David Helbich Colophon

Liesbeth Decan

Liesbeth Decan teaches theory and history of photography at LUCA School of Arts Brussels, where she is also the coordinator of the research group Photography Expanded.

Mieke Bleyen

Mieke Bleyen is a postdoctoral researcher at the Lieven Gevaert Research Centre for Photography, Art and Visual Culture and the Institute for Cultural Studies at the KU Leuven.

The book is well designed, with black-and-white illustrations in every chapter. The essays are bookended by colourful (and humorous) ‘artist’s pages’ by Paulien Oltheten, Lieven Segers and David Helbich, demonstrating the editors’ stated commitment to giving the book ‘both a theoretical and practice-based component’(p.22). Stills from Oltheten’s La Défense, The Venturing Gaze, which open the book (Fig.9), exemplify the implicit self-reflexivity of much photographic practice. Oltheten includes subtitles of humorous comments made by the people photographed, making subjects of the camera and the photographer themselves. Bleyen’s and Decan’s book will be useful to scholars and those with an interest in photography and humour theory, as well as individuals interested more generally in the affective turn in art criticism.
Seth Graham, The Burlington Magazine | 162 | March 2020

En examinant l’humour en photographie, ce volume propose un parcours dans l’histoire du
médium et offre l’occasion aux lecteurs de multiples potentialités de découvrir, ou redécouvrir,
des corpus souvent négligés. L’intérêt de cette réflexion collective réside finalement plus dans la
revalorisation de ces objets photographiques, culturels et artistiques considérés comme anecdotiques que dans une véritable conceptualisation de ce que serait un humour performatif.
Valérie Morisson, Focales n° 4 : Photographies mises en espaces, mis à jour le 19/05/2020, URL :

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