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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Visual Cognition

I have to admit that where humor is concerned, I set a low bar. I can see humor in a lot of things, and it doesn't take extraordinary measures to get me to laugh.

And surely, visual recognition is a part of photography. We see the shapes of things in clouds, are highly sensitive to faces, and recognize similarities and symbolism in forms and objects. It shouldn't take a genius to know that when shown a Rorschach blot, it's not the smartest thing in the world to say anything about your mother, dead bodies, or the government. Witness this recent blog post about influence, and one photographer's subliminal connection of a picture he saw to a famous photographer's picture he'd recently seen.

Still, some things are just too much. Here's something that made me laugh so hard my son came in from the other room and said, "Daddy, are you all right?" (Warning: it's somewhat crude, so if that sort of thing offends you, stay clear. If you have an extraordinary love for either dogs or Jesus you might want to stay away, too.)

Form reconition taken to an extreme!

I'm still laughing....

Posted by: MIKE JOHNSTON, thanks to stanco

P.S. To the commenter who wrote, "You won't be laughing so hard when one day you bow before Jesus and acknowledge His Lordship," I should point out that I didn't mean to offend anyone and apologize if I have. I am not even the slightest bit religious and perhaps therefore lack the required...sensitivity. But it brings up a point I'm sorry I have to bring up: if you look at the picture at the link, be clear about what you're looking at. It's not Jesus.

I'm not a theologian, but I'm pretty sure about the following: even if you love Jesus, you still don't have to bow down before a little brown dog's ass. And if, like Charlie Brown, you see a horsie in the clouds, you're still looking at a cloud, not a horse.


Blogger Marcin said...

LOL! You've made my day :)

10:15 PM  
Blogger Irv Williams said...

I'm still laughing, too! A great web posting, and at a perfect season, too. I hope others can see the humor in it. After all, God spelled backwards is dog!


11:02 PM  
Blogger stmclain said...

Holy Jesus, Have you lost your mind?

5:03 AM  
Blogger MonoNation said...

I'm still laughing about the dog thing, must check our terrier...
Re "Anxiety of Influence" I guess so many pictures have been taken over the years since 1839 it's incredibly easy to at least partially duplicate something that was photographed before, it happened to me here:

6:39 AM  
Blogger MJFerron said...

Yeah if you were God or his kid would you really try and impress folks by showing yourself as a butthead? I'd be a cloud at minimum.

8:04 AM  
Blogger jw52tx said...

As I am a member, in good standing, of my church council- teach Sunday School, and acknowledge Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour I find myself foeced to respond to this post and hope that you will be man enough, even if you aren't religous ( that's got to be tough!) to post this.

This is Hilarious! Use a capitol H, borrow it from Jesus H Christ,,,, He wouldn't mind a bit and is probably laughing Himself selly right now.... I'm not so sure about the Holy Spirit though!

Merry Christmas!! God's Peace to you and to All!!

11:19 AM  
Blogger Brambor said...

wow. That is the first time I longingly stared into a dog's ass.

11:34 AM  
Blogger Dave Sailer said...

Yay Mikey!

The real URL behind this site is

Where you can find an "about" page for the author/artist. (see

"Fine art photo and new media artist Jessica White lives in Los Angeles, California. Born in Houston, Texas, Jessica received a certificate degree from the Photographic Center School in Seattle, Washington in 1995. Her photographs have been featured commercially on album covers and in magazines. In 2000 White graduated from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) Photography and Media program. Her work incorporates photography, film, sound, media images and nostalgic objects remixing memories to create new life histories. She has participated in national and international art exhibits."

And so on.

The rest is left as an exercise for the intrepid.

-- Dave

12:52 PM  
Blogger Daniel Sroka said...

The technical term for this is pareidolia: "vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being mistakenly perceived as recognizable" (via Wikipedia).

1:11 PM  
Blogger stanco said...

Loved the way you worked in the "visual cognition" part- smooth. But it still won't spare you from the consequences of propagating "the mark of the beast."

1:40 PM  
Blogger Max said...

I find this Gestalt thing extremely interesting. Even wonder if all those possible meanings could be perceived at a subconscious level alone.
On the offense, how come people feel so strongly about mere representations. That's only undermining religion in my opinion. And I guess they are absolutely unaware of the amount of intolerance they show when they make obvious to us all that they never took a second to ponder the notion that the same symbol means nothing at all to a big part of all humanity.
When you bow down before Jesus, Mike, don't worry, we won't be looking!

2:06 PM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

And Merry Christmas to you too!


3:14 PM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

Dave Sailer,
Aww. I was hoping this wasn't a spoof. It's still funny, but not quite as exquisite as if it had been sincere. I thought I saw some subtle signs of Photoshop....


3:49 PM  
Blogger stanco said...

Duped again... but we all knew there'd be a price.

5:56 PM  
Blogger Robert Roaldi said...

It should embarass me that I laugh at the things I do.

6:10 PM  
Blogger Dierk Haasis said...

Re your PS:

Any reason why we should exhibit more sensitivity towards religion than any other human folly?

Let's presume the Abrahamic tradition is 100% right [give or take 6000 years], shouldn't it be left to the one 3-D-God to judge us - as is told in the Bible?

Always interesting to see honest to God Christians ignore everything in the Bible that does not suit their own courses ...

3:28 AM  

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