Call for Papers

Call For Papers

Conference “Photography Performing Humor”

Brussels, November 24 – 25, 2015


The conference will explore the nature and meaning of the relationship between photography, performance and humor within the field of visual arts and visual culture. Although humor is clearly omnipresent in a wide spectrum of photographic practices — ranging from advertising or art photography to family snapshots with their obligatory ‘smile’ or the classic Tower of Pisa joke — the topic has yet to be fully discovered by researchers. While in recent years photography theory has witnessed the affective turn, its focus remained largely on photographic representations of suffering, trauma and loss. It is no coincidence then, that one of the central metaphors to think the affective quality of the medium, Barthes’ punctum, relates affect to being wounded. This conference resolutely chooses to elaborate a lighter, humorous side of photography and aims to map different strategies and practices.

We are more specifically interested in the triad photography – performance – humor and the ways in which the staging of the (human) body or other performative gestures elicit humorous photographic effects. We welcome lectures, artists’ talks, portfolio viewings and performances in order to assemble, exchange and confront different perspectives and approaches, both in theory and practice.

Possible topics for discussion are:

  • humor in photography: goal, tool or merely side-effect?
  • the politics of humor in photographic practices: progressive, conservative or confirmation of the status quo?
  • humor in conceptual photo-based art
  • humor in contemporary photo-based art
  • new uses of photography on social networks and web 2.0, new forms of (photographic) humor?
  • humor as contact zone between vernacular and art photography
  • witty image-word interactions

Please submit a 250 word abstract by September 1st, 2015 to or  Authors will be informed about acceptance of their proposals by September 7, 2015.

Organizers: LUCA School of Arts – KU Leuven – Lieven Gevaert Research Centre for Photography – Lieven Gevaert Leerstoel vzw

© Jacques Lizène – Courtesy of Galerie Nadja Vilenne, Liège