Whimsy Whim”sey, Whimsey, n.; pl. Whimseys or
Men’s folly, whimsies, and inconstancy. –Swift.
Mistaking the whimseys of a feverish brain for the calm revelation of truth. –Bancroft.
2: The trait of acting unpredictably and more from whim or caprice than from reason or judgment; “I despair at the flightiness and whimsicality of my memory”
Ask someone the meaning of whimsy and the answer you will most likely get is humorous, funny or lighthearted. Google “Whimsy and Art,” and you will find images that can best be described as fanciful, cute or more likely kitschy.
However the word represents a more nuanced, quirky and maybe even a bit darker definition than one finds at these fanciful sites. Words such as folly, caprice, freakish do not necessarily conjure up such light notions. Common synonyms include: anomaly, apparition, caprice, conceit, crank, deviancy, dottiness, eccentricity, flimflam, freakish, idiosyncrasy, illusion, kink, oddity, peculiarity, queerness, quirkiness, unconventionality.
With that more nuanced definition of “whimsy” in mind, members of the Bay Area Photographers Collective explore found and created whimsy in photographs. While the themes, approach and results of the work vary greatly, all do justice to a more complete definition of the word. The work is probably best summed up in the words of one of the exhibiting artists:
“The momentary glimpse of something slightly humorous, ironic or simply out of place… a brief half thought about some odd scene or object and then just as quickly forgotten.”