Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Good one

Suzie posing on stools at the Art Students League, NYC, 1971

I think I get it. Some photographs are jokes. A knee-slapper, a one-liner, visual slapstick. Much of Elliott Erwitt's work falls into this category. And the looking usually goes like this: Ha! She looks like she has a dog face! Where do you want to go for lunch?

But some photographs have humor, like this one by the American Louis Faurer. Humor is like a loyal friend, there for you the next time. You still have immediate impact – in this case, the model’s luxurious form, the observing ladies (and it helps they’re almost all ladies)– but there is also a level of curiosity and of detail. For example, here, the impossible balance, the blackened feet. And, wow, what a pose!

This and other fine photographs on view in Figure Studies at Deborah Bell Photographs through February 28.

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