Gallery: shots to make you smile (I hope)
The most wasted of all days is one without laughtere. e. cummings
We could all use a laugh from time to time, and maybe more than ever over the last few years. It seems to be part of human nature to look for humour in the darkest times.
Perhaps that’s why, for this week’s Lens Artists Challenge, John asks us to dig into our photo archives and find something humorous. He also points out that humour is subjective; so I hope at least some you share a sense of humour similar to my own, and will find my offering amusing!
Note, I am British so will insist on including an ‘O’ in the word humour and resist the US spelling used in John’s original post!
A good laugh overcomes more difficulties and dissipates more dark clouds than any other one thingLaura Ingalls Wilder
Signs that make us smile
Almost all of us carry a camera these days; it’s called a phone. And when we see a funny sign many of us are quick to pull out the phone, grab a shot and share it. Social media is full of such photos, which is probably why lots of businesses have been eager to take advantage of this and provide us with a sign we’ll be tempted to share. This gallery includes a few such signs along with others I’ve come across and kept in my archives.
Toilet sign in a London coffee shop; do my male readers find this as amusing as I do, I wonder?
Sign in Roswell, New Mexico, a town obsessed with UFOs and aliens. In the summer of 1947 a local man found some odd-looking debris on a ranch some 30 miles north of the town. Many of those who believe in UFOs are convinced that he had found a crashed spaceship, complete with its alien pilot who died in the crash.
Sign in a London Soho pub window. Good advice?
Sign in Piccadilly Circus Tube station, London; not especially funny but sure to raise a smile.
Spotted on Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, west London. The island was the site of the Eel Pie Island Hotel where many famous bands got their early breaks. Today it is known for its colony of artists, at least one of whom clearly has a sense of humour!
Notice on a Newcastle barbershop’s wall. I’m not sure if the lipstick kisses were part of the original ‘design’ or have been added by disobedient passers-by!
Signs under the High Level Bridge in Newcastle upon Tyne. You have to read them from the top down to get the message.
Sign at the Tan Hill Inn in Yorkshire, the highest pub in England; so true!
Card in a gift shop in Ludlow, Shropshire. To get the joke you need to know that in the early days of the pandemic and lockdown we had a weekly initiative to stand on doorsteps, balconies etc. and clap for our NHS and other essential workers. For many in large cities it was the first time they had spoken to their neighbours for years, if at all!
Aristotle said that, ‘The secret to humour is surprise’, and I find that very true when it comes to photography. A funny photo is one that takes you by surprise because there is something unexpected in the image. Maybe something out of place, or two subjects that don’t seem to fit together. My featured photo, taken at Tynemouth in north east England, is a case in point. Did the seagull pay to park on the sign, I wonder?
The following shots will hopefully make you smile, as they did me. Many fall into the category of street photography as that’s where I often spot the incongruous serendipity of a person who looks out of place or out of sync with their surroundings.
Spotted near St Paul’s Cathedral in London; I have no idea what the ‘fox’ was doing there!
At an exhibition at Tate Modern, London; I was amused at her total disinterest in the art work (perhaps looking instead at Instagram photos on her phone?)
This exhibition was at Tate Britain, London; I seem to spend as much time looking at the visitors to the exhibitions as I do the exhibits!
On a beach in Abu Dhabi; the man seems much more interested in the bird than the bird does in him!
In Tallinn, Estonia; in some ways this is rather a wistful image, in the contrast between old and young. But what makes me smile is another contrast; that between the woolly socks the woman is selling and the skimpy underwear worn by the mannequin.
This street scene in Bologna also made me smile, with the juxtaposition of the classical statue framing the seated rather less classical woman!
Sunday morning near Brick Lane, London; the young woman seems unaware of the huge sculpted face behind her as she enjoys her snack.
In Negril, Jamaica. I could have used this in the ‘signs’ gallery I guess; but what amuses me in this photo is the way the positioning of man’s fishing rod makes it appear as if he is disobeying the middle of the three signs!
At the Little Venice festival in London; simply an amusing hat.
And finally, at another London art exhibition; not exactly funny perhaps, but I hope it made you smile!
Such a great selection Sarah. Some really made me laugh while I was reading through, like the statue in Bologna. That woman would have probably loved a copy of that. lol. I loved the kissing poster and wondered the same as you. Was the lipstick fresh?
The appropriateness of the clap poster was great. The girl in the museum, all too common these days.
My favorite was the photo in Estonia of the older woman and the mannequin. A great notice for the photo. Well done. Donna
Thank you for that detailed feedback Donna 😊 It’s always so interesting to hear which photos appealed to different people, and why. The Tallinn one seems to be a general favourite and was a real bit of photography serendipity!
So much fun collected here, Sarah! Juxtapositions are interesting and you have a keen eye for fun. Love, love the toilet sign – so sad it doesn’t work in Swedish!
Thank you Ann-Christine 🙂 Yes, unfortunately the toilet sign only works in English!
Your photos had me laughing! You have a keen eye for details. I am still giggling over the photo from Jamaica. 🤣
Thanks Dawn, I’m pleased to have made you laugh with these 😀 The Jamaica one is an old favourite of mine!
Lots of funny ones, Sarah! I liked the toilet sign and the one under the bridge. 😄
Thanks Siobhan, glad you enjoyed them!
Fun to look at these photos that did indeed make me smile! So many that grabbed me – the Jamaica shot, the High Bridge photo come to mind right away.
Thank you Annie 😀 As I said to Jo below, I’m enjoying reading about the different favourites that people are picking out!
Love this series, Sarah! They made me laugh from your first image. The sign of choose to… is so wonderful, great reminder. The last one is fun and so cute!
Thank you Amy, glad you enjoyed them 🙂 Yes, the Choose Day one is an excellent reminder!
Aletta - nowathome
I enjoyed this fun post Sarah!
Thank you Aletta 🙂
Hi Sarah, so many of these made me laugh out loud. The one which I had to go straight over and show Michaela was the old lady peddling socks by the lingerie shop….you must have chuckled as you took that photo. Oh, and you ask whether men also find the “women are always right” sign funny….well of course we do, because we understand that it’s sarcastic……!!!
Thank you Phil 🙂 Yes, I’m fond of that Tallinn shot – as soon as I spotted her there I had to take it! But as for sarcasm, hmmm …
Lots of smiles here Sarah – loved several of the signs and especially the old(er) woman with the socks vs the svelte mannequin.
Thank you Tina – that Tallinn shot is a favourite of mine I have to admit 😀
Terri Webster Schrandt
Oh these are hysterical, Sarah! The no pi$$ing sign was a scream!! You have a humorous eye and zest for the unusual–love it! IU guess you could call many of these “ironic! Very well done!!
Thanks so much Terri 😀 Yes, there’s a degree of irony in some of these for sure!
Anabel @ The Glasgow Gallivanter
The two I like best are the kiss poster and, of course, women are always right. Works in our house. If there are two of anything, eg coffee mugs or towels on a rail, John’s is on the left because I’m always right. It started as a joke but it can be a helpful aide memoire!
Haha, that’s funny 😂 Actually we have exactly the same in our house but for a different, less amusing reason – my husband is left-handed, so his mug etc goes on the left, while I am right-handed so mine is on the right 🙂
Anabel @ The Glasgow Gallivanter
It’s SO subjective, isn’t it? I smiled at the new notice and ted in his cool sunglasses.
Very subjective – I’m enjoying reading about the differences in people’s choice of favourites 😀
My favs – the seagull because his furrowed brow makes it ‘look’ like he plans to enforce the pay at the machine law, women are right, choose-day, and UFO parking. Ha. 😄 Thanks for the smiles Sarah.
I like that thought about the gull Rose. I read his expression differently – I thought it was a look of defiance, refusing to pay to park himself on the sign 😂
Ha Ha! I LOVE British humOUr! I’ve always admired and felt that said humOUr and wit required a bit more thinking than our crass a’Merican counterpart. Love your spellings and pronunciations too. For example, if rough is pronounced ruff and tough is pronounced tuff, why isn’t Slough or plough pronounced Sluff or pluff? Oh well, it’s the Queen’s English, I guess she can do as she pleases. GREAT POST!!!
Thanks John – for the inspiration as well as the comment 🙂 Don’t get me started on the -ough words, they must be a nightmare for those learning English as a second language! You could have added ‘though’, ‘through’ and ‘thorough’ too!
Well done you. I’m totally flummoxed by this challenge.
I was for a while and was going to skip it. Then I thought of the signs idea and later my street photography, but finding decent examples took quite some time!
philosophy through photography
My apologies to you Sarah and Yvonne+Dumdday.
I don’t know how my comment landed here.
Something wrong with me
Please bear with my silly mistake.
Don’t worry about it, you’re not the first person this has happened to – something to do with the layout of the page and where the comments box appears, I suspect.
philosophy through photography
Yes it’s the culprit.
Comment box appears probably beneath the comment of one of the commentators and thus adds to the confusion.
I like “choose day”.
Thanks, it’s clever, isn’t it?!
Thanks so much for raising a smile on my lips on this cold, grey, April day (Want to get out into sunshine to do some gardening)
philosophy through photography
Unable to control my laughter!
Thank you Sarah.
You made my 2022!
How wonderful! Thank you 😊
Thank you Yvonne – glad I could distract you from the weather for a while. It’s nothing special down here either!