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Just Press Their Button:
A History of Photography in the Comics

Presentation House Gallery
North Vancouver BC Jun 5-Aug 1, 2004

From History of Photography - Le Petit Journal
From History of Photography, Le Petit Journal (c. 1890s) [Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver BC, Jun 5-Aug 1]

Over the past ten years, several large-scale exhibitions have examined the effects of comics on contemporary culture. Comic styles increasingly have been influenced by real life situations and by the popularity of anime and manga. Many facets of comics have been probed, from the impact of commercialism on mainstream comics to the nature of gender roles. In a unique look at the topic, Just Press Their Button examines the way photography itself has been depicted in comics and caricatures since 1850.

Just Press Their Button is an extensive exhibit, curated by Bill Jeffries and chronicling 150 years of photography as represented in comics and their graphic precursors. The title is a send-up on an old Kodak slogan, ‘You press the button’, encouraging early consumers to do-it-themselves and eventually changing our social behaviours. More than 200 examples of original graphics covering the period 1850 to 2000 have been selected. These are supplemented with original comic artwork by Vancouver artists David Boswell (Heartbreak Comics), Robin Konstabaris (Scrambled Brains) and Colin Upton (Big Thing).

The show organizers remark that the frequency with which cameras, photographers, photographs and photo albums have appeared in the history of comics is surprising. Photography has been popularized in comics as a tool for humourous digs, as a subject in buffoon acts, as a form of documentation and surveillance and as consumer products being used by comics characters. In fact, Kodak's Brownie camera was named after a comic book character when it was introduced in 1900.

The public is invited to attend a panel discussion on June 10th at 8 pm, which will be moderated by Robin Fisher and feature artists David Boswell, Robin Konstabaris and Colin Upton.

Mia Johnson

All material © 1996–2006  Wed, Jun 2, 2004