on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Endframe: Bulldogs by Elliott Erwitt

David Taylor talks about one of his favourite images

David Taylor

David Taylor is a landscape photography who lives and works in the county of Northumberland in the north east of England. David has written over thirty books about photography. In between books he runs photography workshops and works on commission for organisations such as the Northumberland National Park Authority. David's first camera was a Kodak Instamatic. Since then he's used every type of camera imaginable: from bulky 4x5 film cameras to pocket-sized digital compacts. Ultimately however, he believes that the best camera in the world is the one you have with you when you need it. When he's not outdoors David can be found at home with his wife, Tania, his cat and a worryingly large number of tripods.


I say, I say, I say... My dog's got no nose.
How does he smell?

Okay, that's perhaps not the funniest joke imaginable. (Though who knows, it may once have been. Gosh, the long winter nights must have been interminable then.) It's still a joke however, and one that could bring a smile – however fleeting – to someone's face. Possibly even someone over the age of five.

After seven years schlepping around the Vienna circuit as a stand-up comedian, Sigmund Freud put the experience to good use by writing 'Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious' (a book that's far funnier in its original German*). The one problem with the book is that it focuses purely on verbal humour. It has nothing to say about visual humour. This is a pity.

* Ein vorbewußter Gedanke wird für einen Augenblick der unbewußten Bearbeitung überlassen, und deren Ergebnis wird alsbald von der bewußten Wahrnehmung erfaßt.' Classic Freud, I'm sure you'll agree!

Verbal humour is slippery. To get a joke requires a subtle understanding of language and culture. 'My dog's got no nose' relies on the fact that the word 'smell' has two separate but interrelated definitions in English. It's the unexpected jump from the first definition to the second that prompts laughter at the punchline. Without a sound grasp of English you'd just be puzzled at the conclusion of the joke and not find it funny (it isn't funny. Let's just pretend that it is). 

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