Tuesday, January 11, 2011

George Olson

Yet another photo space has recently opened in Portland. Judging by the inaugural show i-witness Gallery promises to be worth tracking.

I think what I like best about George Olson's show is that it's not afraid to be funny. So many photographers beat around the bush with this. The expectation is that a photo should be subtle, open to multiple interpretations, emotionally resonant, bla bla bla. Anything too clever or direct is seen as anathema.

That's the current zietgiest, and yes maybe there's a place for all that, but what about raw punch-line photos? Good ones are tough to make. They usually fall flat. But when they work they can be as beautiful as the purest puns. Looking at Olson's exhibit comprising roughly 70 signs shot around the U.S., I found at least a dozen that made me laugh out loud. It had been a while since I'd laughed in a gallery.

The show is up through Feb. 3rd. If you live near Portland check it out. In the meantime, here's a small taste:


jon said...

Really funny. The UK can't really compete. Though we do have the 'Idle Working Man's Club' and the 'Ugley Women's Institute.
Not an art photo site but have you ever looked at Engrish.com? Lots of surreal Japanese takes on English.

christian said...

Just to make sure I am seeing the last image correctly - that is a telephone inside a microwave, yes?

Blake Andrews said...

I'm not sure if it's a microwave or a TV. I guess it amounts to the same thing.

A.G. said...

"I guess it amounts to the same thing." - That is, it makes it subtle, open to multiple interpretations. :)