Tadao Cern Brings Out the Humor in Portrait Photography

All photos by Tadao Cern. Used with Creative Commons permission.

Humor is one of those things that opens us up to many creative ideas, regardless of the craft or field we’re involved with. We see it in a lot of conceptual photography, but sometimes, it can make a difference even in simple portraits. Such is the case in the collection of funny faces captured by Lithuanian architect turned artist-photographer Tadao Cern. If you’re looking for something to inspire you to add humor into your work, this project may give you some ideas.

For his aptly titled project Blow Job, Cern puts his sitters before a big blower, which, as we all know, pushed and pulled their faces into hilarious appearances. The squished faces of Cern’s subjects are the kind we’d usually tag as weird and unflattering, so it’s kind of surprising that his subjects for this body of work were totally game and allowed him to publish their photos.

However, apart from the element of humor very evident in this series, we can also take note of Blow Job as an antithesis to the goal of portrait photography in the first place: creating the most flattering and glamorous photos that bring out the best in our subjects. In portrait-based fields like fashion and editorial photography, especially, the need to portray — and even create — the perfect face and the most flattering body has become the main goal of the genres. This reality has even become instrumental to society’s unhealthy standards of beauty, so to see Cern’s project popping up alongside all the “perfect” commercial portraits out there almost feels like a rebellion against all of it.

Therefore, we can look at this series as a refreshing take on portrait photography at an age where people have become so conscious about how they look in photos, especially when posting on social media.

Don’t forget to check out Tadao Cern’s website and Behance portfolio to see more of his projects.