iSights – ‘Comedy Is Risky’ By Janine Graf
We’re delighted to publish the very first of Janine Graf’s ‘iSights’ new column with us. iSights is a Column that we have created for Janine to interpret her images into tutorials for us, other times she’s going to be telling us about her inspirations in mobile photography and art, some weeks she will be expressing her ideas and news about the community. We’re going to leave it to her to surprise us, one thing we do know for sure, is that each post will have a huge splattering of humor and we so love her humor and you will too. Janine’s Column is called iSights which she describes as ‘”a spin on “eyesight” and “sights” meaning “marvels, wonders, visions and more”.
In this first article Janine throws out the feelings of feedback and the creative process, sometimes it can be hard to take the ‘constructive’ criticism and we all know how easy it is to accept the positive, we’re sure you’re going to love this, as we do. Take it away Janine… (Foreword by Joanne Carter).
“My incredibly witty father always said, “Janine, comedy is risky.” I’ve learned that you can’t say to your vegetarian dinner hostess, “I won’t eat it unless it was once loved by its mother” and then expect to be invited back. I’ve learned which friends will laugh at playful politically incorrect remarks, and which ones will unfriend me on Facebook following an unfortunate playful politically incorrect remark. Yep, it’s good to know your audience.
It is also good to know that art is subjective. You can nail a sock to the wall and if it moves you in some way, then by all means call it art. And like art, humor is also subjective; VERY subjective. I learned this first hand with my image titled, “Never Forget”.
© Janine Graf – ‘Never Forget’
When I started creating the image I knew I wanted this concerned looking cow in the forefront of the tulip field. There was so much empty space to the left of the image that bothered me and that’s when it hit me, “It needs a UFO!” And then it hit me again, “Cow abduction!! It’s a classic!”
Now, I have a pretty quirky sense of humor . . . ok, fine, it’s dorky. I have a dorky sense of humor. When the image was finally finished, I found it funny. I mean, just look at that UFO and its scale compared to the cow . . . how on earth are those aliens going to get her onto their ship?!
I uploaded the image to the various photography sharing sites I belong to and even made it my Facebook Timeline image. It received an assortment of compliments from my contacts and all seemed well in the world, that is, until people started complaining about how offensive they found the image. Offensive? Really? How? Some of the negative feedback was relatively harmless; people just don’t see the humor in cow abductions I suppose. A majority of the negativity was derived from vegetarians and vegans thinking that cows, actually all animals, deserve our respect and shouldn’t be eaten. I agree that all living creatures should be treated with respect, except for mosquitos, but cows need to stop tasting so delicious . . . they bring this on themselves; just my two cents. The doozy though was in the form of a Flickr mail from a person, not even a contact of mine, accusing me of and I quote, “perpetuating the glamorization of animal cruelty.” My mouth literally fell open. And then I cried.
Never before had I created an image that pushed so many buttons. There are many artists out there who thrive on creating images that push people’s buttons, thrive on the controversy their images create. I happen to not be one of those artists. I’m a goofball, not a button pusher. I rescue spiders from my house for crying out loud. “Perpetuating the glamorization of animal cruelty” . . . me?
We artists put ourselves out there because it feels great when we create something that moves someone. It’s a wonderful feeling to know your work is appreciated and accepted by the public; who doesn’t love receiving praise?! It is also important to realize, as I quickly did, that when we expose our work to the public we need to be prepared to take our lumps, along with the praise. Accepting praise is easy. Being able to accept criticism and accept it, really be ok with it, is a definite skill. I’ll be honest, I shed a good many tears over the criticism I received on this image. It was a learning experience and an exercise in developing a thicker skin, which is something all artists need in order to survive. You can’t please everybody and that’s ok. Create for yourself, love it and own it, lumps and all.
So remember, comedy is risky, art is subjective, and no cows were abducted or probed in the making of this image”.
Fun and educational Janine! I recently had, in a lower key, a similar reaction to an edit of mine and I had to learn.
Thank you Davide! Yeah, it’s tough sometimes, isn’t it?
Fabulous! Great article Janine 🙂
I cannot believe that anyone could take offence at this magnificent image. They must have serious mental health issues! <3
Well, art is subjective after all. 😉
Janine's Proud Dad
If I could write as well as you do, I’d tell everyone here how super-proud I am that I did whatever it was I did that made you turn out so well. And funny. Very freakin’ (is that OK?) funny. Oh, and talented. That too. Love you Beanie.
Love you dad! I got my sense of humor from YOU! 😀
Great debut, Janine and the best cow-abduction shot ever.
As the not very funny Malcolm X put it: “If you have no critics, you’ll likely have no success.”
Thanks Uncle T!
Ooooh good quote!
I don’t see how one can make the leap to animal cruelty when viewing this splendid photo. I love it… the color, the curls in the hide, the other cow heading rump-roast first up into that space craft. Brilliant and moo-ving.
Well, I was surprised about that as well Kathy. I guess people see what they want to see. I’m so glad you saw the fun in this, so thank you! 😀
Every. Single. Time. I read an interview with you, or view one of your fantastic images… I laugh. And I melt. You are an amazing artist, Janine… and I absolutely LOVE your wit!!! And just so you know, I’m a bona vide vegetarian… and I didn’t see one ounce of cruelty in this whatsoever. And I used to actively protest for animal rights 🙂 Wonderful article, m’dear!!!
I. Adore. You. JQ.
I’m so glad this image gets your vegetarian seal of approval! Hooray!
Thank you so much for your continued support and friendship JQ! xoxo
Great write up Janine! congrats on the column. Love your sense of humor and images.
Thank you Maria! I’m really excited and honored to be a part of the Whisperer family now. AND I’m so happy you appreciate my humor and images! 🙂 xoxo
Janine, we have not met but I know your dad pretty well. All I can say is your sense of humor and artistic talents are WAY more evolved than his. I can’t think of a single “constructive criticism” for “Never Forget”. As for your detractors who have found fault based on some perception rising out of their own biases, I say all the more credit to you! As you said, art is supposed to move us and resonate in some way. I thought it was hilarious and I haven’t eaten any portion of a cow in 30 years.
That’s a great compliment because I think my dad is pretty hilarious. 🙂 Thank you so much for your kind words, I really appreciate it.
Janine's Proud Dad
Wow, how soon you forget the forget the filet mignon we served you when Joyce left you for good times in Palm Desert. Also, are we having breakfast tomorrow or not?
Wrong Jim B. dude.
Janine's Proud Dad
Oops, sorry Big Jim.
Love it Janine!! Your sense of humour rocks, will be looking forward to your next column 😀
Thank you Mel!! You know me, just keeping it real. 🙂 xoxo
Thanks Janine! Your article has brought me as much pleasure and laughs and smiles as your amazing images. Can’t wait for the next one.
I have an acquaintance who always says at a barbecue that he likes his meat so rare a good vet could save it. Often draws sneers of derision and a gnashing of teeth.
Thank you so very much Robert! I’m glad you got a good smile and laugh out of it! 😀
Oh my gosh . . . that is HILARIOUS! This acquaintance of yours and I would get along great! 😉 I must remember that quote for my next BBQ.
Fabulous article Janine and me too I cant believe someone would take offense at your beautiful image!
You are so sweet Veevs, thank you! You know, I couldn’t believe it either but it’s true. Good lesson learned in not being able to please everybody. I’m so happy you see the humor in it. 🙂
You have incredible insight and “isight”.
Funny how things hit me… I thought of a quote I love …
“I could dance with you till the cows come home. On second thought I’ll dance with the cows till you come home.” — Groucho Marx
Aw thank you Jan!
Love that quote!!!
Great piece, great composition, great article and a good natured sense of humor. Keep it up.
Thank you so, so much Mark! I appreciate your support and I will do my best!
“Oh Dear! There goes Edna again, I see she is practicing for the longest bovine free fall. I wonder if she got that Red Bull Sponsorship” Marcy moooooosed ( mused, get it) as she spied a nice clump of pretty pink tulips just blossoming to her right. “Yummy” …
btw, lived,drived through and pondered the weirdness of the uncanny valley known as San Luis valley between NM and CO.
LOL! It’s hard to keep them darn cows out of the tulips fields! Little known fact, cows love tulips. Not a lot of people know that. 😉
Janine, this article is absolutely WONDERFUL. It’s so warm, witty, down-to-earth, and just hilarious – just like you are. <3
BRAVO!! Your column is now my personal favorite!
I love you so much Catherine! I’m so incredibly happy you approved of my first article! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
Fabio D'Andrea - fastcomet
Wonderful article, incredible story and… I love this image and your sense of humor, Janine!!
Thank you Fabio! You are my SciFi buddy! 😉 xo
Great writing and a great subject. I loved reading your article. Keep them coming.
Thank you Jeanettey-baby! I’m so happy you liked it! xoxo
Great article, Janine! At no time did animal cruelty ever cross my mind in all the different places I’ve viewed this image. It is nothing short of an hilarious picture so beautifully and tenderly created.
Don’t ever change!
Thank you so much for saying that Lea! If the people who gave me a hard time knew me, they’d know how silly it is. Not only do I rescue spiders, I rescue earth worms off high traffic area sidewalks . . . with my fingers! But yeah, like I said comedy is risky and art AND humor are subjective, so what can you do? 🙂
Thanks again for your support, I really appreciate it! xo
Your humor has always been the best and I can’t for the life of me, see how this would relate to animal cruelty. I mean, aliens have to eat too!
I know, right? 😉 Thanks mommy!
Scott & Sheri Dickinson
Great article Janine! We happen to like the cow, and yes,you did get your sense of humor from your DAD!
Scott!!!!!! OMG! Long time brah! I’m so happy you liked the article! Wow . . . so cool to “hear” from you! Hope you are doing well! xoxo
OMG, that was so great…thanks Janine.
I’m so happy you liked it Karen! Thank you!!
Janine, this article was fun to read, and I like the cow…looking forward to your next bit of humor and photography. It is always amazing to me how many people assume or see negatives in everything.
Hi Gloria! Yeah . . . well, like I said, you can’t please everybody. I’m so happy that YOU so the humor in this! 😀 Thanks for reading!
Woman, you are my favorite! That was hilarious! Not only are you a brilliant artist but you make me laugh my butt off. Thank you. <3 Gosh I love ya… You're a treasure. Animal cruelty, my sweater-clad chihuahua. Pshaw!!'
Girl, I looooooove you! I’m so, so, so, infinity, so happy you liked it! Now I want to do a sweater-clad chiuaua alien abduction shot! I just need to get my hands on a sweater clad chiuaua . . . 😉 xoxoxo
Criticism of cow art? Udder madness. What’s next…boycott beefcakes? Little does your Flickr critic know that Flickr is actually the acronym for Frequently Levitate Inverted Cows and Keep Repeating. So glad you’ve survived the insanity…
You literally made me LOL Clint! Udderly hilarious! 😉 Thank you for making me laugh! xo
I’ll be reading your column until the cows come home
LOL! Thank you Alon!! 😀
This was wonderful, Janine! Remind us when your next column gets published! You know what I thought of as I read your piece: “Well, this could easily have been interpreted as this UFO rescuing that cow from those human consumers.”
I love how you kept it real…Congratulations on this new venue!
Thank you so much Maria! You know, that’s a great way to view the image! I love it!
Janine! Sorry I’m late to the party here, this is bloody brilliant, really enjoyed reading this 🙂 x
Thank you Lindsey! Sorry I’m late sending you my “thank you”. 😉 I’m really glad you enjoyed it! xo
Oh Janine, my Aquarian sister, why must we be so misunderstood? Great article, fresh, poignant, and funny of course. I once had a woman at a show accuse me of being cruel and hurting the silk worms. My wasband looked down and said – isn’t that leather on those Nikes. We need some protection!
Silk worm abuse? Well, I suppose someone has to fight for silk worm rights! 😉 Mercy people are nuts. I’m so glad you are my Aquarian sister MJ! We need to have each other’s backs in this whacky and easily misunderstood world of art! xoxo