Humor has a strange place in photography. So often a humorous photograph undermines the subject matter or the medium itself and leaves the image feeling like a ploy for cheap laughs. But when it works, when composition and moment and environment come together just right, and the photographer is clever enough to know when and how to press the shutter, a humorous photograph can have a tremendous impact.
In the ancient capital of Nara and on Miyajima Island, in Japan, wild deer roam freely through the city streets. Kanagawa-based photographer Yoko Ishii captured the bizarre attraction in images that one could safely assume are digitally altered—except they’re not. Deer showing up downtown happens so often, in fact, that inhabitants and passing cars think nothing of them hanging out in the middle of the road. As with anything animal in the 21st century, there is video evidence, not only of these occurrences but also of the strange sounds deer make.