#974. “Clicks and Giggles”: Funny Pictures Challenge results

By pascaljappy | Art & Creativity

Mar 04

“Matters of great concern should be treated lightly.” Master lttei commented, “Matters of small concern should be treated seriously.” – From Hagakure

Bluetooth loos

Is this photograph funny or revolting? I can’t make up my own mind about it and imagine it will divide readers as well. It also illustrates how we should consider humour in our lives. Should we just use humour to let go and have simple innocent fun? Or should we give what we find humorous some serious thought because of how personal it is, how it can offend others, how one culture will find another’s humour unfathomable … ?


And beyond this, why is it that funny photographs are so darn difficult to make? Peruse an Elliott Erwitt portfolio and you’ll think the world is just one series of endless visual jokes. Then, walk out your door and you’ll realise just how annoyingly difficult to find said fun scenes really is, on a day to day basis.

Fun is hard work. Maybe we should take life easy and be serious about everything? ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hidden lady crouching man

But some of you made it. You sent some genuinely amusing photographs and those evoke a final thought in my mind. Those photographs appear to be split into two camps: photographs of something funny / photographs made funny by the author.

I’m not trying to introduce a notion of superiority here, and think both are interesting in their own right. But the distinction is important. One appears to hinge around a sharp eye, an ability to detect what we know is rare in nature (funny scenes). The other rests on an ability to construct from elements that aren’t that funny, taken separately. The first is more likely to appeal to everyone. The second, as all creative things, will find a laughing echo only in liked-minded people.


And then, there’s culture. Humour varies greatly from one area of the globe to the other. We’re all geared to enjoy and understand humour differenlty. Humour requires a solid intelligence and tolerance, an ability to take a step back. Not everyone is brought up that way. Not all education systems develop that (or at least maintain it intact). Not all cultures find the same things amusing.


I got some slack for the picture of the waitress above. Sexuality is a touchy subject for many (as are religion, race …) And my intention of showing a saucy smile on that playmobil got lost in translation for those who only saw an offense to the lady. Ah well …

Who’ you callin’ a bump?

Similarly, this photograph could be perceived as racially/socially connoted. It’s not. It’s just an observation of the fact that a sign indicates a bump in the pathway, just where a person has inexplicably lied down in the middle of it, causing oncoming bikers to swerve away. As often, chance juxtaposition of incongruous elements is what makes (some of) us smile.

Other interesting comments were made by contributors. Jean-Claude remarked that being funny shouldn’t be an excuse for being sloppy, for instance. A funny photograph still needs to be a well executed photograph. I agree entirely. It’s hard enough to convey a fun meaning when photographs are well executed. Any sloppiness could make the task impossible.

Onwards ๐Ÿ™‚


Paul Barclay


Paul adds: “The first photo is an old friend that is painted on a wall near a street in Seattle where a Farmer’s Market is held. I will by here often and try to become reacquainted, though my friend needs to endure smokers for the building behind him.”


“The next two images were made while out walking in the City of Renton, which is South of Seattle.

Both images were made while walking to see what the river was doing. At the time we were having record rain, even for Seattle, and the local rivers were running above flood stage.

The first image seemed rather funny because of the sign pointing away from the river and the others signs proclaiming that the water was covering the walk way. Well … Duh?”


“The third image is farther down stream from the second. In this case it seemed rather funny that a general aviation aircraft was buzzing over a grounded Boeing 737 with BUZZ printed on the side.”


Over the weekend I was out making images and after taking the elephant image above, on the way home I had to stop at this location. It is a derelict self car wash with a food truck in the background.


Usually I drive by and never give this spot a second thought. Except about 3 weeks ago it changed and morphed into this.

The property owners obviously have a sense of humor. Because they hired my favorite street artist, HENRY, to cover up the bare metal and graffiti with a Sasquatch family album. At least that is who I think this character is.


I cropped the first image a little to remove some ugly stuff, the other I left full frame to keep the context.


Pascal Jappy


I hope the titles explain the amusing part, if the photographs aren’t self-explicit ๐Ÿ˜‰

Shy Troll
I would have danced all night
So pwetty
Attack of the zombie slugs
My son at the Tate Modern, making fun of an unfathomable exhibit
Afternoon nap
Dog eat dog
“I say, youg fella”
Oy, look at me, not at your phone!
Pay attention to details
Grinning troll
No luck
I’m not a bin
Looking for bookworms
“Giv’uf a kiff”
“A banquet, you say ??”
Happy weed
“I’m right here
Aussie tourists
Serious business
“Bloody show off”
“Whatcha lookin’ at?”
Get back home, Toretta
He flies through the air, with the greatest of ease.
“Sure about this?”
Connected pipers
High four!

Jean-Claude Louis


Jean Claude adds: “Good challenge ; as photographers we often tend to take ourselves too seriously. Photos can entertain us with their wit and visual jokes. It is, however, not easy to find images that are intrinsically funny. Plus, in my view, funny images should also meet basic photographic criteria – technical, light, composition, etcโ€ฆ Many times, though, they need a caption as a crutch, New Yorker style. Below is my selection for the challenge – as you can see, animals come easy as a subject, a fertile ground for our taste for anthropomorphismโ€ฆ”

Ain’t she cool?
I’m not blushing ! I’m sunburnt
It’s mine!
Oh non, here we go again …
Is that a Hasselblad ?

Sateen Prion

Devil in the details

Sateen adds: “What a difference a few lines of scribbling make. They turned this spilled paint into a portrait that wouldn’t be out of place in a contemporary art museum. And I find the satyr face really amusing.”


Pascal Ravach


Future Challenges


The topic of the next challenge is usually announced at the end of a results post. However, this time, I’m not the one presenting it. Adrian came up with a very good idea and he’ll be explaining it to you very shortly. It has a lot to do with movies, so I love it already ๐Ÿ™‚

But it might be a good idea to announce more challenges ahead of time to give everyone more time to prepare and think, so here are two more, that will come afterwards.

Happy face

Philippe suggests “RAW”. Photographs that trigger raw emotions. Laughter, sadness, awe, cringe, love, absolute disgust, cute awwww … no fluff, no fancy editing, just raw emotion.

And it feels natural to follow that one up with a “polished” counterpoint. “Polished” meaning the exact opposite, ie photographs that don’t necessarily convey much in terms of emotion or meaning but which have received lavish treatment, elaborate post-processing, fine art level attention to detail.

There will obviously be reminders in between then and now. But that’s food for thought for the next 3 months. In the mean time, thanks for daring & sharing!


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  • Pascal O. says:

    A difficult exercise if there is one, yet I laughed with all pictures. Thank you to all participants, no better way to start the day. Cheers.

  • Pascal Ravach says:

    True, all pics are fascinating! Often, I like juxtapositions, so “Ben”, “Lean on me”, “Ainโ€™t she cool?” attract me a lot… but then I could put on a wall “Iโ€™m not blushing ! Iโ€™m sunburnt”… seen zillions of tenderness with animals and humans, but with flowers it’s usually… more sexual (who doesn’t have a few “torrid orchids” :D)… this one stopped me right there… being romantic, I didn’t see only humor in it, but also sheer beauty!
    “A kiss is a kiss” forever, yay!

    • pascaljappy says:

      That’s the beauty of creative photography ๐Ÿ™‚ It evokes something different to every viewer but it leaves few people cold ! And Jean-Claude is a brilliant tog, which helps ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Pascal Ravach says:

        Indeed… far from my sloppy okd iPhone pics :D… but in a few places in Lao and Cambodia, showing a camera is a no go… sigh ๐Ÿ™

  • Jean-Claude Louis says:

    I liked all the contributions, bright skies in an otherwise morose climate :}
    Thank you Pascal(s) for your kind words. When I saw the flowers in the field, I saw playful seduction, tenderness, love ; hence the treatment in post: soft, diffusion, negative clarity and saturation. Romantic here too, with a penchant for subjective emotional qualities and freedom of form …and getting carried away by ideals ๐Ÿ™‚
    Pascal R: I will send you a print; pm me.

  • philberphoto says:

    I couldn’t have entered this challenge if my life had depended on it. Not a fun picture, no giggles from me. So I must lead guilty to Jean-Claude Louis accusation that I take myself too seriously. I will keep this in mind, and attempt to bring some levity into my game… And congrats to all who showed such flair and talent!!

  • jean pierre guaron says:

    I love the fact so many of the entries relate to street art and animals.

    Good street art – unlike the postings of mindless graffiti, by mindless vandals – is incredibly engaging, and worthy of recognition like any other art form.

    And I’ve loved animals ever since I was a small child – probably a psychological reaction to the somewhat hostile surroundings created by the humans in my life, in those days. It may even explain why I still love the cartoons from those days – Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Tweety Pie, etc. My favourite animals include elephants and giraffes, so I was delighted to see them making an appearance – in fact, when I opened this post, I was wearing a T-shirt from the Perth Zoo with a photography of a baby giraffe being licked on the head by its mother! Oh – and being a Leo, of course I liked to see another member of the gang – even if he has been turned into stone for the occasion.

    Jean-Claude, aren’t you going to get into trouble for that? – I thought we gave up chopping off people’s heads decades ago!

    And Pascal, you and I are clearly from the wrong generation – isn’t “happy weed” something the young fry stuff in a cigarette paper or a pipe, to fry their brains? Have fun judging this selection, if that’s what you’re supposed to do. I think I’ll go and have lunch, instead. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Kristian Wannebo says:

    Also in Robin Wong’s latest blog post I find several of the photos very humorous…[under “4)”]…

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