Harlequin # 1

Hallequin 2014


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The classical appearance of the Harlequin stock character in thecommedia dell’arte of the 1670s, complete with batte or “slapstick”, in origin a magic wand used by the devil character to change the scenery of the play.[1] (Maurice Sand, 1860)

Harlequin (/ˈhɑrləˌkwɪn/; Italian: Arlecchino, French: Arlequin) is the most popularly known of the zanni or comic servant characters from the Italian Commedia dell’arte. It was introduced by the successful Italian actor Tristano Martinelli in the 1580s, and it became astock character after Tristano’s death in 1630. The derived genre of the Harlequinade, where the Harlequin character takes center stage, came to England in the 18th century (John Rich).

The Harlequin is characterized by his chequered costume. His role is that of a light-hearted, nimble and astute servant, often acting to thwart the plans of his master, and pursuing his own love interest, Colombina, with wit and resourcefulness, often competing with the sterner and melancholic Pierrot. He later develops into a prototype of the romantic hero. Harlequin inherits his physical agility and his trickster qualities, as well as his name, from a mischievous “devil” character in medieval passion plays.

In Victorian England, the Harlequin was routinely paired with the clown figure. The clown with his brutishness acted as a foil for the more sophisticated Harlequin. The most influential such pair were the Payne Brothers, active during the 1860s and 1870s, substantially shaping the 20th-century “slapstick” genre.

Cincinnati, OH 2013 – The Dude with his bike

Again, a rework of an image previously blogged. I darkened the background to bring out the characters in the foreground. This image suffers from some defects since it was captured from a video. Nonetheless, it seems to work OK.

Cincinnati 2013 Dude with a bike

Cincinnati 2013 – Belonging



I have to admit these three guys are snap-worthy. Anyone dressed all in red in public is drawing attention to themselves for some reason and may be photographed without question in my humble opinion. But one of them challenges my motives. OK, let’s talk motive. Why did I take this picture, really? I admit. The sight of three grown men in red suits was pretty funny. Yeah, but what else is going on? The ethical choice is to go with first impressions or to think again and seek another level of truth. There are always many interpretations of a photograph. We must examine our own thoughts and look deeper. Isn’t there another explanation? Why would three grown men appear in public in matching red suites? Looking at the photo now I see another possibility. Maybe they belong to a group. Maybe they’re damn proud of belonging to this group and are willing to risk ridicule with the red suites. My mistake was not asking them what was going on. Maybe there would have been yet another explanation even closer to the truth. We can ridicule people in our photographs by not knowing their story and making one up.

Cincinnati 2013 – Low rider

Low rider

Low rider

Now before you get your shorts in a knot about the ethics of this photo, I have to add quickly that this guy caught my eye not only for his pants and red shorts but for his pose. I think he wanted me to take his picture. While he seemed to notice me raise my camera up to shoot, he looked away and struck an abstracted pose with the cell phone. While some may think this is exploitation, I strongly believe this man wanted to be noticed and you could say was “fair game.” If you haven’t read my about page on the ethics of street photography, you might want to do so to see what I’m taking about.

I was also interested in this shot because of the sculpture to his right. Its shape reflects the man’s stance. I also like the matching shirt and shoes.

As always I would enjoy your comments.