12. Photomontage

I decided to start this exercise by having a look at some examples of Photomontage / some illustrators/ designers who make use of the technique.

I also found it useful to distinguish between various types of Photomontage and Collage techniques.

Photomontage is the process and the result of making a composite photograph by cutting and joining two or more photographs into an illusion of an unreal subject. Sometimes the resulting composite image is photographed so that a final image may appear as a seamless photographic print. A similar method, although one that does not use film, is realized today through image-editing software. This latter technique is referred to by professionals as “compositing”, and in casual usage is often called, “photoshopping“, due to a particular software often used.[1] A composite of related photographs to extend a view of a single scene or subject would not be labeled as a montage.

Wikipedia 2014 Photomontage http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photomontage [Accessed January 2014]

In my search I came across this famous Guinness advert and thought that in some ways its a good example of montage as the horses blend with the surfer.

Online source https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zff9hVH3ptY

I also stumbled upon the work of Scott Mutter an American Photographer well known for his use of Photomontage.

Mutter never transitioned to the cut and paste technique afforded by Photoshop and similar software but recreated every original print in the darkroom as he thought this was the only way that they were truly “originals”. From the few existing originals of each piece he would select the one he considered the most appropriate for reproduction as posters. His imagery is such that the elements of each picture look like they belong together and he liked to call them “Surrational Images,” have a poetic quality that invites highly personal interpretations.


Online images

Photography musuem Scott Mutter 2013 http://www.photographymuseum.com/mutter/escalator.html, [Accessed: 8th November 2013]


Melinda Gibson http://www.aaronschuman.com/melindagibsonessay.html

The Photograph as Contemporary Art: This series of work titled, “The Photograph as Contemporary Art” examines the educational text by Charlotte Cotton. Through the medium of photomontage, each piece is a trio of imagery removed from the book and re-contextualised as one. This body of work brings forth questions surrounding our educational system, copyright and licensing as well as audience participation.

Lens scratch Melinda Gibson 2011 http://lenscratch.com/2011/08/melinda-gibson/ [Accessed December 2013]

Clothes retailer French Connection has unveiled its first campaign with photographer Rankin’s Full Service agency, featuring sketches of its designs superimposed onto naked models

From Sketch to Store was written by Vicky Lawton (who was also creative director) and art directed by Callum Crease. Rankin photographed the models naked before illustrator Jo Bird added sketches on top.

Creative Review 2013 French Connection http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2013/july/french-connection-sketch-to-store [Accessed December 2013]

John Steakner

Richard Hamilton – more of a collage example What is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing? Collage 1956 Online image http://theentamasha.blogspot.co.uk/2010/03/speakspace-thickly-quoted.html

Got me thinking about Sara Fanelli an illustrator who uses collage, which she has developed in a very personal way. She took it up not just as a way of moving on from the flat colours she’d always used in her paintings, but also to make use of a vast collection of bits and pieces.

Sara Fanelli: Sara Fanelli

Sara Fanelli: Sara Fanelli

Sara Fenelli http://www.sarafanelli.com/docs/bg01.html# [Accessed december 2013]

The Guardian online 2011 http://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/gallery/2011/mar/31/childrens-books-7-and-under#/?picture=372987789&index=0 [Accessed December 2013]

Strong political messages from Peter Kennard – Know your enemy 2005

Cargo Collective Photomontage http://cargocollective.com/mat200a/Photomontage-A-Collection [Accessed December 2013]

In my sketchbook I began to map out some ideas of political messages/ issues that I felt strongly about and thought about the kind of images that would be appropriate thinking about what sort of thing I was looking for. In hindsight I might have been better keeping my ideas looser at this point then looking for images but I felt that by looking in magazines and using the internet it would be very easy to get lost in too many ideas and images to select from unless I had a rough idea what I was looking for.

I had the idea initially about women in the media – their body shapes and sizes how the ideal is often unrealistic how this has changed over the years etc. I selected some images of women different body shapes and found an image of the Mona Lisa trying to portray what we used to perceive as beauty. With some cutting and lassoing in Photoshop (is that a word? 🙂 ) I made a collage combining a Barbie doll head on a women, filling a womens shape with what shes eaten.

I wasn’t entirely happy with this idea and began to think about the work of some of the Collage and Montage artists above and whats made the images successful. My other idea was around the notion of mental health issues and how they can effect anyone. I had the idea of using celebrities or faces and representing the turmoil / issues with various metaphors – lighting and stormy clouds, broken glass, confused wiring. I experimented with filling the faces with the images and having the image on top of the face. I think the Marilyn Monroe and Elvis ones are probably most successful.

The next idea I wanted to consider was that of homelessness and how its overlooked. I had various ideas and worked on collages thinking with them outside Buckingham Palace with the Royals looking on or walking past them, them being sheltered by a cover of umbrellas (in this one I played about a lot with the lasso adding a rainbow and dark sky – with the homeless people in black and white underneath.

Other ideas I played with were the elderly being in homes and having some humour with the Queen and Prince Philip being in a fancy chair in a home.

I spent the most time on my world hunger idea to show how the world leaders have these conference with lavish food etc to discuss issues like world hunger and the irony of it/ how they often overlook the reality of it. I used the image of the Last Supper replacing the disciples faces with the G8 leaders, placed them in a desert African background with starving children round about them while they tucked into a KFC feast bucket and wine. The addition of the tap was a last minute idea and play on the idea of turning water to wine. Overall while the final outcome might be quite complex and not exactly seamless I think its a good idea.

Overall I enjoyed this exercise although initially I found I had a lot of ideas that I wanted to try and wasn’t particularly sure where to start with image gathering and was a bit overwhelmed. However, by taking down some sketches I was able to search and filter for the sort of images I thought I could use – sourcing these from the Internet and magazines and also a few of my own images (the Homeless guy in my umbrella image gets around a bit :))
I think that with collage certainly it can be quite hit or miss what can work successfully whereas I think Photomontage is more of a skilled art certainly from what I’m seen of the artists work above being able to communicate strong messages/ ideas and flawless integrated images.

I think these are the two most successful images

Mental issues/ troubles cracked glass

Mental issues/ troubles cracked glass

World hunger irony

World hunger irony

After tutor report and feedback

I was quite pleased that my tutor thought that I developed some good ideas and that he thought the final image I selected was also the strongest. He suggested that the image above is very powerful and I’m glad I managed to convey the some ideas about hunger, wealth, history, contemporary debates on representation, racism, politics all in one image. He did suggest that I remove the “Feed the Hungry” as its too comic for a serious topic and I really think this is sound advice so took it out of the final image ( see below).

hunger summitATR




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