Thursday, November 22, 2007

Nothing To Declare

The Genius Of Photography

I'm enjoying this series but the "Genius" of photography?

This week Denis Lawson read the following about the great photographers...

"What they have in common is a watchful attentiveness to the world and its ways. They see things we miss or don't think about and then report back so that we have a chance to think again."

I agree with the first part of that. But as to photographers seeing things we miss or don't think about? Most of us don't walk around with a camera glued to our eye. But how many times have we thought, "I wish I had a camera on me"? What strange things do we see out of the corner of our eye? What blurry images do we see when we're not quite awake or not concentrating? But we haven't got a camera on us because we're not obsessed with photographing things. The obsessives take what any of us can see and turn it into art. If that's genius, there are an awful lot of potential geniuses, too.


Kenny Everett: Licence To Laugh

More genius on Sunday evening as Kenny Everett was described as a comedy genius on ITV's portrait of the "comedian".

I've never found wacky disc jockey Kenny the least bit funny, but I was hoping to be converted by this programme. The old clips of Sid Snot, Cupid Stunt and Marcel Wave brought back waves of 70s nausea and made me feel nostalgic for those comfortable family humourists from the days before Kenny's "anarchic" brand of comedy, with its chumminess with the production staff forerunning wankers like Chris Tarrant and Chris Moyles (both paying tribute to Kenny in this show).

Watching Kenny was like gatecrashing a private party full of people in on a joke I didn't get. A very lonely experience.

Kenny's "anarchy" took him all the way to a Young Conservatives rally. The voiceover on the programme said...

"Nothing, it seemed, could undermine his position as loveable, cuddly Ken. Until an ill-judged moment of madness at a Young Conservatives rally in 1983."

KENNY: "Let's bomb Russia!"

"Kenny had overstepped the mark."

So let's get this right. Kenny had overstepped the mark by using irony, not by appearing at a Young Conservatives rally at the height of Thatcher's power.

Barry Cryer explained Ken's indiscretion. Kenny was an "apolitical animal". He was "pretty anti-Thatcher".

Ken the iconoclastic genius, taking the piss out of the Young Tories?

He sounds good, doesn't he?


  1. I used to watch Kenny's TV programme - and laugh. But the young cons gig sort of erased him and his show from my though he was dead before he died.

    But TIZWAS means I can never hate Tarrant.

  2. The Genius of Photography is an enthralling series. I loved the period when "proper" photographers got all sniffy about colour film because it was used by common people.
    I'm a fan of Martin Parr (who was touring Memphis) and his colour pics such as the Bored Couples series.

  3. I think the word genius here refers to the effect of putting a frame round something. A brilliant example in the programme was the photo of the rubbish by the side of the road. Actually, with a frame round it, it did look like a good photo.

    Not a reference to individual talent therefore, but to the fact that photography itself creates meaning by framing things. So, in a way, it's achieving ends with very simple means, which is one definition of genius.

  4. Kaz - I really really hated Tizwas. The anarchy was too much for me. And I didn't even fancy your doppelganger. Which probably makes me very strange indeed.

    Murph - I'm enjoying the series and I like Parrs too. I'm surprised he wasn't beaten up by the couples, though.

    Bob - The medium is the genius. Which is what the title says. Can I rewrite this post?

  5. Yeah: Kenny Everett = just not funny.

    "TIZWAS means I can never hate Tarrant." Yeah: ditto.

  6. I could never get my head around morning laughter.