Joel Tretin Makes Jokes With His Camera

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Joel Tretin calls himself a Photo Humorist and that description seems perfectly apt. His photo series Stranger in Paradox “looks at what’s true and totally screws with it.” At first glance, the pictures seem deceptively straightforward—portraits of the city shot in a somewhat generic ad-agency aesthetic. Hidden in plain sight are the visual jokes: a parking ticket on the windshield on a sports car in a building height ad; a carousel over a revolving door; an elephant walking though the green murkiness of a subway. The Photoshop manipulations are mostly seamless—it really looks like that woman is pushing an eight-seat stroller, and that sporty yellow cab looks real next to its stodgier brother. A stack of cars make the most of a lone parking space.

The subtlest images make you work for them. A lit Wall Street façade, American flags… oh, there. The don’t walk sign is flipping the bird. The traffic sign points to the “Road Most Taken” an apparent play on Robert Frost’s Road Less Taken.

Photo manipulation in art is often used to create surreal imagery. And these pictures are surreal in that they portray things that are unreal and often fantastic, but the photos lack the intention and technique that transform pictures into fine art. Which seems to be just fine with Trentin, who says:

I am a failed stand up comedian, who now tries to make people laugh through photography.

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Robert Rickhoff’s Photographic Jokes

For his series “out of place,” Robert Rickhoff digitally manipulated photographs to turn what at first glance seems like totally regular scenes in regular towns into the height of silliness. With such familiar objects, the images seem like photographs from a parallel universe where people play a combination of soccer and basketball and trains have to deal with humps in the tracks. These jokes would be easy to ruin with a lazy edit, but Robert’s perfectionism really gives them the uncanniness they need to work. I wish so many of these things existed, especially the half pipes in the road and bench slide. The world is so much more interesting when you put things together. ( via )

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Nate Turbow’s Special Brand of Mediocrity

Nate Turbow‘s drawings are released every few days via his blog and Tumblr. Each “cartoon joke” feels raw, off-the-cuff and honest. The blog format works well for the quick, one-off style of each cartoon as the post titles often act as captions.

The resulting collection is an acute sense of bumming through life — being both painfully aware one’s mediocrity and simultaneously not giving a shit.

NSFW if cartoon boobs are forbidden in your place of work.

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Winnie Truong’s Hairy Drawings

Winnie Truong’s drawings are at once intricate, interesting, and funny. Fittingly, she has a lot of people recognizing her talent. Not only is she featured with big beautiful drawings and an interview in our Book 7 humor issue, she has a show at Galerie Trois Points from now until November 10. So, if you’re a fan, i’d suggest an impulsive Montreal vacation and picking up our Book 7 for plane reading. Happy travels!

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Mike Simi’s Sculptural Jokes


Mike Simi is an artist whose sculptures seem almost more like jokes than they do “art” (in a good way). Every one of them is funny, playful, and but also informed, like the products of an MFA student tired of everyone around taking art way too seriously, whose peers then applaud his efforts at subverting their academic approaches.

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