Some photos are haunting, some breathtaking; some are illuminating, and some are beautiful. And some photos as those of us who have ever been on the internet know are downright hilarious. But humor has often been on the sidelines of photography scholarship. With this book, Louis Kaplan remedies this, gathering together over one hundred images in a revealing look at the way photographers from the very beginning of photography in the nineteenth century have found so much amusement at the ends of their lenses. Kaplan introduces readers to a key set of genres in photographic humor, showing how humor is often tied to serious topics such as our identity, social situations, and yes death. He offers a fascinating range of examples, from stereographic domestic comedies to biting political satire, from conceptual artistic pratfalls to surrealist humour noir, and from trick photography to decisively hilarious moments in photojournalism. In doing so, he brings together works by renowned photographers including Jacques Henri Lartigue, Elliott Erwitt, Weegee, Cindy Sherman, and Martin Parr as well as those by your everyday photoshopper.
The result is a rich collection of the witty, the absurd, and the uproarious. "
Louis Kaplan is professor of the history and theory of photography and new media at the University of Toronto. He is the author of several books including, most recently, The Strange Case of William Mumler, Spirit Photographer. "