Inspire Your Comedy with Old Photos by LA Bourgeois
Let’s welcome back LA Bourgeois as she shares with us “Inspire Your Comedy with Old Photos.” Enjoy!
Integrating comedy into our writing can feel like a heavy lift.
Every lighthearted touch requires an extra skim of imagination. Showing the intricacies of a comic moment challenges our writing skills by making us think differently—really differently.
What is Comedy?
To put it in the most simple and boring way possible, we embrace comedy in our writing by shifting our perspective to an absurd place and then diving into the details.
“The dog stopped to pee on the bush” isn’t that funny.
However, “The dog hunched over, ignoring my yelp as I hit the end of the leash.
Stopped still by the twenty-five pound immovable object, I waited until she pranced, light as dandelion fluff, away from the scene of her crime.”
A great way to warm up your comic writing is by creating silly captions for old photographs.
Explore old photos, consider the image from the oddest point-of-view possible, and find the humor within the scene portrayed.
First, of course, the photos must be found.
In these days of digital images, older family images may be the easiest to find, having been converted into files to be shared.
However, I love unearthing picture albums put together by my parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents. Antique black-and-white images of my (and others) ancestors bloom into color when imagination gets applied.
If you’re unable or unwilling to submit your family to your sharp wit, anonymous old photographs can be purchased in garage sales, antique stores, rare book shops, and other online sources.
Some images may be turned into scrapbooks by particularly crafty souls, artfully incorporating information about the images.
However, most will be settled in not-in-the-least-archival settings, maybe even on black pages with adhesive corners holding them to the page rather than stuffed behind clear plastic sheets on adhesive-lined pages.
How I Embrace My Comedy
My favorite photos for inspiration are the random ones, images that might be deleted if they were on our phones.
One memorable one which my cousin stole from my pile during a particularly ruthless de-cluttering session featured anonymous people beheaded by the cabinet elevated over the bar, with drinks in red cups dangled from their hands.
Once you’ve discovered your photograph, delve underneath the surface for the other story. For example, here’s an image I discovered in a quick trip through an old picture album.
This group’s relaxed but formal stance leads me to think this is a group of sisters or friends with their husbands making up the back row. One of the men has thrown his arm over his spouse’s shoulder and she clasps his hand in both of hers.
When I noted this action, the caption of the card sprang into my mind:
“Hands off my boob, Millard!”
And what could you do with this image?
A bucolic picture of a woman hand-feeding a calf in a farmyard includes the long shadow of the photographer, lending a bit of menace to this sweet scene. How about:
- “Farmer Sue was about to discover the Wrath of CON (nie the Calf).”
- “Is that an apple slice? Don’t eat it, Linda! They’re no good. Here, I’ll eat it for you!”
- “Certain that Farmer Sue was now distracted by Lily, Bessie knew it was time to take her chance at fame.”
Now, get on out there and start looking at your photos….differently.
ABOUT THE BOOK REVIEWER
As a creativity & business coach, she believes that exploring your creativity invites joy into your life, embracing your creativity infuses your life with joy, and manifesting your creativity gives you a joyous purpose. Writing and knitting are her non-negotiable mediums, and she can usually be found with a pen or knitting needles in her hands.
Find her free guide, Tricking Yourself into a Creative Habit online at labourgeois.biz and start writing those words today. She can’t wait to read them!