As a fashion photographer and an art history graduate, imagery has always been how I’ve viewed and understood the world; it’s how I best communicate. The nuances and power of imagery are clear to me after my education and my career, and along the way I’ve realised that humour has always been the hook that has reeled me in.
The same is true of my own work. I was a Fine Art photographer before I moved into fashion photography about 5 years ago. Fine Art photography can, at times, be a worthy, lofty world, but I found that no matter how sober the concepts of my projects were, the end results would always have elements of humour to them, whether or not I intended this. Sometimes I wouldn’t realise until the opening night of an exhibition when someone would comment on how funny the work was and I’d answer ‘oh yes, I suppose it is’.
In the same way that live or TV comedy can be used as a vehicle to promote discussion on difficult topics, so too can humour in both art and photography. Ultimately, art doesn’t have to make a bold political statement. For me, the purpose of art is manifold; it can provoke debate, challenge ideas, start revolutions, and bring people together. But most importantly, it should be something that brings you joy when you look at it. With this in mind, I’ve chosen my favourite Rise Art photographers whose works really make me laugh. Discover my top 3 below and find works to light up your life and bring a smile to your face.
First up is Miguel Vallinas Prieto’s Second Skins series. These composite images were created by photographing original taxidermy from public and private collections and splicing those images onto the heads of (human!) models wearing the outfits in Vallinas Prieto’s studio. The resulting imagery is incredibly realistic, totally unexpected, eerie and beautiful. What I like about this work is that the dark palette, sombre clothing and reserved poses of the models urge you to take the photographs seriously. Then, as your eye continues upwards the animal head is completely at odds with the tone set by the other elements of the portrait; I am reminded of the feeling I got in school of only finding something funnier when desperately trying not to laugh aloud.
These are my absolute personal favourites - I want to hang them side by side on the wall opposite my bed.
2 Samsofy Samlal
Samsofy Samlal creates unexpected, imagined scenarios for popular culture lego characters such as Batman, Robin and Crocodile Dundee. I love the idea of celebrities or fictional characters engaging in normal activities like washing dishes or hanging laundry. (This is why I like Alison Jackson's work so much.)
My favourite piece of Samlal’s is Alfred’s Day Off which depicts a lego Batman hanging his capes and masks out to dry on his personal butler’s (no doubt well deserved) day off. These microscopic scenes are rich with detail and humour, I love them.
3 Vincent Bousserez
Last, but by no means least, Vincent Bousserez’s photographs also depict plastic characters in microscopic scenes. Where his work differs from Samlal’s, however, is that Bousserez’s plastic characters are normal and the scenes they find themselves in are what’s so unusual. The surreal photographs of his Plastic Life series depict intrepid miniature figurines climbing to the peak of a breast or descending the vales of a backside. The pieces are funny, playful and imaginative. In short, everything I would want from a piece of art.
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About the Author:
Holly McGlynn is an Irish Fashion photographer who has lived and worked in London for 8 years. Originally from Dublin, she moved to London to study an MA in Photography at Goldsmith’s. She won a gold medal in the PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris 2015 and was shortlisted for Irish Fashion Photographer of the Year for two consecutive years. Her clients include Levi’s, Primark, Mulberry and she’s shot for Elle Australia, Glamour USA, and Cosmopolitan to name a few. She’ll do almost anything to get the shot including, but not limited to, wading knee deep into the sea mid-winter, stopping traffic, and hanging out windows.