Accept
This website uses cookies. More details
Accept
This website uses cookies. More details

photokaboom

Learn Photography

Photomontage >

2 – History

Photomontage Timeline

Dave Haden, with the University of Birmingham's School of History and Cultures, created an excellent timeline of photomontage over the years.

q

nu-real : a timeline of fantastic photomontage and its possible influences, 1857 - 2007

(Horizontal scrolling at the bottom of the site)

Back to Section Menu

1839 – Daguerre & Talbot

From Cornell University Library:

In 1839, Louis Daguerre in France and Henry Fox Talbot in England, who had been working independently, announced competing photographic discoveries. Their processes were very different, but both played major roles in the history of photography. Daguerre's method was initially superior, but the future belonged to Talbot's technology.

Daguerre's process exposed an image on a silver-plated copper plate. Talbot's process created a negative image on paper from which multiple positive images could be printed.

q q

Back to Section Menu

1840s Onward – Fake Photographs

From Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop: The Metropolitan Museum of Art:

The urge to modify camera images is as old as photography itself—only the methods have changed. Nearly every type of manipulation we now associate with digital photography was also part of the medium's pre-digital repertoire: smoothing away wrinkles, slimming waistlines, adding people to a scene (or removing them)—even fabricating events that never took place.

This international loan exhibition traces the history of manipulated photography from the 1840s through the early 1990s, when the computer replaced manual techniques as the dominant means of doctoring photographs. Most of the two hundred pictures on view were altered after the negative was exposed—through photomontage, combination printing, overpainting, retouching, or, as is often the case, a blend of several processes. In every instance, the final image differs significantly from what stood before the camera at any given moment.

Click Exhibit Objects to see more of the photographs.

q
q q

Back to Section Menu

1857 – Gustave Le Gray

From Victoria and Albert Museum:

Most photographers found it impossible to achieve proper exposure for both landscape and sky in a single picture. This usually meant sacrificing the sky, which was then over-exposed. Le Gray's innovation was to print some of the seascapes from two separate negatives – one exposed for the sea, the other for the sky – on a single sheet of paper.

You've probably experienced photographing a landscape—only to find the sky is washed out.

It's only now that photography's contrast problem is being solved with artificial intelligence and HDR (high dynamic range photography).

q

Back to Section Menu

1857 – Oscar Gustave Rejlander

From J. Paul Getty Museum:

Often referred to as the "father of art photography," Oscar G. Rejlander has been praised for his early experiments with combination printing, his collaboration with Charles Darwin, and his influence on the work of Julia Margaret Cameron and Lewis Carroll.

From The Metropolitan Museum of Art:

The Two Ways of Life was one of the most ambitious and controversial photographs of the nineteenth century. The picture is an elaborate allegory of the choice between vice and virtue, represented by a bearded sage leading two young men from the countryside onto the stage of life. The rebellious youth at left rushes eagerly toward the dissolute pleasures of lust, gambling, and idleness; his wiser counterpart chooses the righteous path of religion, marriage, and good works. Because it would have been impossible to capture a scene of such extravagant complexity in a single exposure, Rejlander photographed each model and background section separately, yielding more than thirty negatives, which he meticulously combined into a single large print.

q

Click Photograph to Enlarge

Back to Section Menu

1860s – Frances Jocelyn

From Wikipedia:

Women were among the first to engage in the emerging field of photography, whose flexibility, when compared to other art forms, allowed women more freedom to engage in subject matter that interested them, since there was no hierarchy or body of regulations that governed their work. Most women photographers focused on domesticity, choosing to feature their families in an array of images. Keeping within this trend, Lady Jocelyn produced a series of albums in the 1850s. Her photographic collages – collections of cut-up images inserted onto painted backdrops – and use of watercolours "subverted the realistic nature of photography," according to the Encyclopaedia of Nineteenth-century Photography. This publication also describes the work of her and Lady Mary Georgina Filmer as "demonstrat[ing] the creative energy and inventiveness that could be invested in the production of photographic collages".

q

Nine photographic portraits arranged in a diamond shape, with a painted decorated border of cherry blossom. The studio portraits show members of Lord Palmerston's family. Lord Palmerston became Fanny Jocelyn's stepfather when he married her widowed mother Lady Emily Cowper in 1839.

q

A photographic portrait in the bulls-eye of an archery target. A photo-collage believed to have been created by Lady Frances Jocelyn around 1860. The studio portrait is surrounded by a colourful archery target painted in watercolour.

Back to Section Menu

1860s – Mary Georgina Filmer

q

From Wikipedia:

A Victorian socialite, Lady Filmer produced several albums consisting of watercolour scenes decorated with photomontages. One of her works (from the so-called Filmer Album) depicts a drawing room, painted in watercolour, in which she has added photographic cut-outs from albumen silver prints. She positions herself next to a large figure of the Prince of Wales, with whom she was known to flirt. Her albums and glue pot are set out on a large table beside her. Much smaller, Sir Edmund Filmer, her husband, is seated next to a pet dog.

q

Click for a slideshow of the Filmer Album

More Victorian collages:

Exhibition: Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Back to Section Menu

1862 – William H. Mumler

William H. Mumler pioneered "spirit" photography, perhaps after inadvertently double exposing a film plate.

FromSmithsonian MagazineSmithsonian Magazine:

As Mumler would later remember, "Another form became apparent, growing plainer and plainer each moment, until a man appeared, leaning his arm upon Mr. Black's shoulder." The man later eulogized as "an authority in the science and chemistry of his profession" then watched "with wonder-stricken eyes" as the two forms took on a clarity unsettling in its intimacy. Earlier, when he had heard his assistant Horace's account of seeing a dead parent revived on glass, he had likely been dismissive but not entirely unsympathetic. Black himself had been orphaned at the age of 13; his father's sudden death had set him on course to learn the art of the daguerreotype, and then to become a self-made man who was brave enough to fly above the city with only silk and hydrogen as wings. He was a creature of experiment and certainty; the figure at his shoulder on Mumler's negative was the very shape of mystery.

q

Back to Section Menu

1877 – Henry Peach Robinson

From J. Paul Getty Museum:

Like his friend and colleague Oscar Rejlander, Robinson made combination prints, joining multiple negatives to create a singe image. He adopted a picturesque aesthetic from painting, finding the simplest object to be a worthy subject for artistic rendering.

q

Click Photograph to Enlarge

From J. Paul Getty Museum:

In search of the "genuine peasant" type for this genre scene of domestic rural life, Henry Peach Robinson described how he first envisioned this image:

One of the best models I ever employed was an old man of seventy-four. He was a crossing-sweeper. I should never have accomplished one of my best works if I had not seen him sitting at a table in my studio, waiting, till I could talk to him. I not only saw the old man there, but mentally, the old lady, and the interior of the cottage...The old man, by his attitude and expression, gave the germ of the idea; the old lady had to be found, and the cottage built, but they appeared to me then quite visibly and solidly.

When Day's Work is Done exists in more copies than any other photograph by Robinson. The photograph is a combination print made from six different negatives, a significant technical accomplishment. The negatives were attached in pairs to a sheet of glass for support, and the final image was made in three printings of those pairs.

The line between the light-colored wall behind the woman and the dark shadows of the room, a stage set built for the photograph, reveals one of the seams between negatives. This deceptively simple domestic scene required a complicated printing process to accommodate its range of illumination, from the dark foreground to the bright outdoors seen through the window.

Back to Section Menu

1894 – Etienne-Jules Marey

From The Metropolitan Museum of Art:

Unlike the motion studies of Eadweard Muybridge, who depicted movement as a series of discrete moments on separate, sequential negatives, Marey's analyses of motion are characterized by multiple exposures on a single photographic plate. In this photograph, Charles Fremont, a civil engineer who assisted Marey in his laboratory, used Marey's method to study blacksmiths at the anvil; the dynamic synthesis of their arced blows traced the pattern of manual effort involved in the task. Fremont's photographic investigations into the conservation and expenditure of energy during human labor established principles that laid the foundation for modern industrial production.

q

Back to Section Menu

1916 to 1917 – Alvin Langdon Coburn

From MoMA:

The intricate patterns of light and line in this photograph, and the cascading tiers of crystalline shapes, were generated through the use of a kaleidoscopic contraption invented by the American/British photographer Alvin Langdon Coburn, a member of London's Vorticist group. To refute the idea that photography, in its helplessly accurate capture of scenes in the real world, was antithetical to abstraction, Coburn devised for his camera lens an attachment made up of three mirrors, clamped together in a triangle, through which he photographed a variety of surfaces to produce the results in these images. The poet and Vorticist Ezra Pound coined the term "vortographs" to describe Coburn's experiments. Although Pound went on to criticize these images as lesser expressions than Vorticist paintings, Coburn's work would remain influential.

q

Back to Section Menu

1924 – Hannah Höch

From The Metropolitan Museum of Art:

This photograph reproduces a detail of Höch's large photomontage "Cut with the Kitchen Knife Dada through the Last Weimar Beer Belly Cultural Epoch". In it, Höch takes aim at the hypocrisies and moral bankruptcy of the Weimar Republic through the radical techniques of disorientation, negation, and disjunction. This new, fragmented art of cut and pasted clippings from the mass media allowed the Dadaists, in the words of George Grosz, to say "in pictures what would have been banned by the censors." Here, Höch sets into motion a swirling, anarchic panoply of military leaders, crowds, spinning machine parts, cabaret dancers, and Dadaist pranksters; the work's engagement with the social praxis–in terms of both its subject and its construction–marks a decisive rupture with traditional bourgeois modes of expression. Höch often reworked her photomontages, and this image records a crucial revision in the image's development: the removal of the charged textual fragment "Weltrevolution" (World Revolution) and its replacement by the relatively innocuous "Die grosse Welt Dada" (Big Dada World).

q

Click Photograph to Enlarge

From On Collage by Hannah Höch (PDF):

The wide range of uses for photographs led to a new form of compressed utterance. Photomontage. This term was later subsumed in 'collage'. It means: stuck down, adjoining. The process of remounting, cutting up, sticking down, activating –that is to say, alienating – took hold in all different forms of art. And all kinds of intermediate forms arose as the process was tried out.

In music we find this alienation when new, or also older, creations are enriched by means of some other sound-producing objects. When external additions are built in, sequences of alien sounds, for instance. But Beethoven too, in his greatest instrumental composition, his Ninth Symphony, suddenly allowed the human voice to be heard...

And then there's choreography. It turns to acrobatics, mime, floating effects. Mingling elements from other realms.

In literature it has always been done: claiming poetic license, we add or remove letters. We give words the wrong meaning by using them nonsensically – 'to bare one's heart to somebody'. Casting our scruples aside, we ignore syntax, if that gives greater weight or colour to what we have penned.

This technique, which has been perfected in poetry, has now met its match in visual art, in the realms of optics. There are no limits to the materials available for pictorial collages – above all they can be found in photography, but also in writing and printed matter, even in waste products. Colour photographs have a particular appeal in the making of an entirely new variant on l'art pour l'art. But complicated thought processes can also be communicated by this means.

So it was necessary to find an all-embracing word for all these things. Perhaps even a word with some give in it. It came from France, after 1945 – the word 'collage'. In the visual arts it predominantly refers to a newly created entity, made from alienating components.

Back to Section Menu

1925 to 1929 – Francis Bruguière

From J. Paul Getty Museum:

Around 1912 Bruguière began to experiment with multiple exposures. In 1918 he published a book of Pictorialist views of his hometown, titled San Francisco. Soon thereafter, he returned to New York, where he opened a new studio, and began his famous series of cut-paper abstractions. In 1928 he moved to London where he designed stage sets and photographic murals. The later years of his life were spent mostly in New York, where his attention turned increasingly to painting and sculpture.

q

Back to Section Menu

1926 – El Lissitzky

From The Metropolitan Museum of Art:

In 1926 Lissitzky joined colleagues from the Association of New Architects (ASNOVA) in designing a new sports club, and he created this frenzied representation of an urban athlete as a model for a large frieze. He combined images of at least three separate elements-the runner, the track and hurdle, and a double exposure of Times Square-into a single print and then sliced that print into strips, creating an object that is both constructed and deconstructed. The visual result is a suspenseful moment-shattered, separated, and stretched-that weaves the mechanics of man into a dynamic tapestry of industrial optimism. The heroic pose of the runner, transposed to the center of New York City, becomes an emblem of triumphant human achievement: man and metal engage in an ambitious leap across several voids in the service of industrial progress.

q

From MoMA:

During the 1920s, the Soviet government embraced film and photography as tools to spread its message to a largely illiterate population. In this context, Lissitzky made radical photomontages, such as this work, which he described as fotopis (painting with photographs). Runner in the City (Record) is constructed entirely from images by other photographers. Made when Lissitzky was working with members of the Association of New Architects (ASNOVA) on a commission for a sports complex in Moscow, the photomontage combines images in quasi-cinematic effect: a runner, cut out from an unknown publication; a track and hurdle; and a prolonged double exposure of New York's Broadway theater district at night, shot by Lissitzky's architect friend Knud Lönberg-Holm and previously published in Erich Mendelsohn's 1926 album Amerika: Bilderbuch eines Architekten (America: An architect's picture book). Runner embodies Lissitzky's fascination with modernity, simultaneity, electricity, and movement.

Working in the early Soviet Union, Lissitzky represented a new breed of photographers who explored the medium by combining reproducible mass-media formats, unconventional lens-based and darkroom techniques, and the artistic intention to achieve novel sensory experiences in their work, which throughout the USSR and Europe was collectively called Neue Optik or Neues Sehen (New Vision). Jettisoning the romantic idea of the artist as individual genius, he instead posited the artist as a conductor or engineer in service of a collective society.

q

More

El Lissitzkys Multilayer Photographs: A Technical Analysis (PDF)

Back to Section Menu

1930s – Man Ray

From Sotheby's:

Man Ray's photographic efforts with combining the seemingly unrelated in the same composition began in earnest with his Rayographs, which he started producing in 1922. To create them, he arranged objects on photographic paper and then exposed the composition to light, creating a series of photographs that transform the banal into meaningful and complex imagery. This experimentation would not be restricted to photograms. In the present print, two of Man Ray's photographs are printed together to create an altogether new composition. Man Ray's well-known Magnolia from 1926 depicts a flower in full bloom arranged on a Parisian café chair. The image, tightly cropped to the flower, appears here in reverse tone and was possibly solarized. Man Ray then layered a portrait of a woman, nearly obscured except for her alluring eyes, the whites of which have been heightened by hand for greater effect.

As with so much of Man Ray's work, the present photograph is a nod to Surrealist themes of chance and double-entendre. Surrealist artists would use superimposed images to create compositions throughout the 1920s and 30s, frequently using the female form to make reference to sexuality and fertility. In Pierre Boucher's Femme-Fleur of 1937, a full-body portrait of a nude woman is superimposed with an image of a flowering plant.

Man Ray favored Magnolia from the start, and it appeared as a full page reproduction in the French issue of Vogue in April 1927. There titled Portrait de Fleur, the accompanying caption described Man Ray as 'the portraitist of things' and made an analogy between the eroticism of a flower and a woman's body: 'The pulp appears whiter, as flesh that its splendor made almost immodest.' In 1934, Man Ray included this image in the first survey of his most important photographs: Man Ray Photographs 1920-1934.

q

Back to Section Menu

1930s Onward – Harold "Doc" Edgerton

Professor's website: Harold "Doc" Edgerton

From ICP:

Edgerton revolutionized photography, science, military surveillance, Hollywood filmmaking, and the media through his invention of the strobe light in the early 1930s. The photographs that resulted from his scientific experiments were championed in the 1930s as representative of the New Objectivity, the American counterpart to the German Neue Sachlichkeit. Edgerton's photography of split-second motion may be seen as an expansion beyond the nineteenth-century locomotion studies of by Eadweard Muybridge and Étienne-Jules Marey.

q
q

Back to Section Menu

1932 – Erwin Blumenfeld

From Vice:

Although the career of Erwin Blumenfeld is well known - for a time, during the Vogue years of the late 1940s, he was the highest paid fashion photographer in the world - his formative years as an artist in the 1920s and 30s have, until now, been largely underserved.

Described by gallerist Peter Osborne, as a "true surrealist, both in composition and technique," the German-born photographer's often controversial early works addressed the social upheaval of the time - no more explicit than in his series of double exposures reflecting Adolf Hitler's "mental life as a gruesome maimed skull" - while his Dada embracing experiments in collage and photomontage set the tone for a career that would take him from Berlin to Amsterdam to Paris, before winding up as American fashion royalty: creating the most covers for Vogue in the history of photography.

q

1933 – James VanDerZee

From Smithsonian American Art Museum:

During the next forty years, VanDerZee chronicled the people and celebrations of Harlem—from schoolchildren, church groups, and wedding couples, to the parades organized by black nationalist Marcus Garvey and the funeral for singer Florence Mills. The exhibition, Harlem on My Mind, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1969, brought his work to the attention of the art world, to which he had paid little notice. Ironically, he had retired that year because of a declining market for his particular form of portraiture and the advent of cheaper, easier-to-use cameras. Three years before his death, however, VanDerZee resumed photography.

q

From Time:

Another service VanDerZee provided through his studio was funerary portraits. For those with the financial means, post-mortem photographs were not uncommon at that time. In some cases, especially when it came to very young children, a funerary portrait would be the only photograph ever taken of a person, and the only photograph their families would have to remember them by. For people who had migrated to Harlem, funerary portraits could be sent back to relatives they had left behind who could not attend a loved one's funeral. VanDerZee applied a darkroom technique he used in some of his studio portraits to his funerary photographs, using photo montage to insert poems and spiritual imagery around the subject. In certain instances, VanDerZee photographed the deceased both in life and in death, and would montage their original portrait over the funerary one.

q

Back to Section Menu

1949 – Gjon Mili

From ICP:

Mili was a pioneer in the portrayal of movement in photography. Not only did his engineering of photographic lighting tools and techniques in the 1930s change the possibilities for depicting movement, but his photographs themselves altered the public's general understanding of motion in general. Through the sheer number of his motion photographs and their frequent publication in Life magazine, Mili revealed the mechanics of human kinetics to postwar society. His dynamic fashion and advertising images demonstrated his ability to adapt his discoveries creatively without overwhelming the image in photographic pyrotechnics.

q
q

Back to Section Menu

1964 – Romare Bearden

From Smithsonian American Art Museum:

The turbulent decade of the 1960s sparked the most important stage in Bearden's career. In 1963 a group of African American artists in New York met in his studio to discuss how they could contribute to the civil rights movement. From this meeting the "Spiral" group was formed, and its members began to reassess their responsibilities as artists to society. One of the Spiral members suggested that Bearden enlarge his photomontages photographically. He experimented with this technique, but was not satisfied with the results. Arne Ekstrom, a New York art dealer, saw the rolled up photostats in Bearden's studio and was so impressed that he encouraged Bearden to create a series of the works for an exhibition, entitled "Projections," at Ekstrom's gallery in October 1964. The following year, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., organized a second "Projections" show, Bearden's first one man museum exhibition. The success of this series was such that he was able to support himself as a professional artist, and in 1966 Bearden gave up his job as a social worker.

The "Projections" series consists of monochromatic photomontages and photostats that Bearden called "Photo Projections." In these works, silhouettes of faces and hands have been cut from black and white photographs and then combined in carefully orchestrated designs. Scenes from African American life in Charlotte, Harlem, and Pittsburgh mark Bearden's return to figurative painting. Stylistically, the scenes were inspired by African sculptures, Chinese calligraphy, and European painters as diverse as Bosch, Zurbarán, and Mondrian. Although Bearden never considered himself a propagandist, his dramatic "Projections" seemed artistically appropriate for the new black pride movement. These works brought Bearden unprecedented success and remain this prolific artist's most acclaimed efforts.

q

1965, 1973, & 2003 – Duane Michals

Duane Michals uses multiple exposures, handwritten text, and narrative sequences.

From The New York Review of Books:

Yet, unlike artists who hit upon a commercially lucrative formula and then crank out endless fungible reiterations, Michals is something of a superannuated Huck Finn, an incorrigibly subversive and inimitably American scamp always lighting out for new creative territories.

q q
q
q

Click Photograph to Enlarge

Back to Section Menu

1976 & 1977 – Jan Groover

Photographs often contain emotion, personality, and narrative.

Photographs also contain formal elements, such as light, color, tone, and composition.

The formal elements are used to help convey emotion, personality, and narrative.

Jan Groover emphasized the formal elements, only.

I don't know why I chose forks—I just took my camera to the kitchen sink ... Actually, I have the notion that everything can be pictured, that content is not that relevant.

I think it's lovely that a knife can be pink. Its shape can be molded by light, the silver surface picks up and reflects bits of color—it's all very liquid.

And the kind of information that is possible in a small space, like that created by the borders of these pictures, can be so crystal clear and appropriate—the issue is really about pushing some thing, some form, into a space that it seems to belong in.

In the real world, these forks and kitchen implements can have many associations and functions; it doesn't matter.

Formalism is everything.

q
q

Back to Section Menu

1980 – Jerry Uelsmann

His website: Jerry Uelsmann

From Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago:

Made entirely in the darkroom, Jerry Uelsmann creates his surreal photographs in a series of steps, masking and exposing different areas of photosensitive paper as he changes negatives. He maintains some loyalty to the aesthetic of traditional landscape and still life photography, insofar as the seams and edges of each successive element are concealed, and the resulting composite suggests the unity of a singular view or scene. The metaphoric and symbolic force of Uelsmann's photographs is derived from these juxtapositions, consistencies, and forms. Uelsmann's photo-montages extend the tradition of surrealist photography pioneered by the avant-garde photographers and painters of the 1930s and 40s: positive and negative spaces are inverted and false reflections appear in earth and water, architectural elements like windows and doorways bound tapestries of sky and sand.

q

Back to Section Menu

1980 – Bernd & Hilla Becher

From The Metropolitan Museum of Art:

As both artists and professors at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, the husband-and-wife team of Bernd and Hilla Becher have influenced an entire generation of German photographers with their typological approach to the medium, in which a single archetypal subject is described through an accumulation of diverse examples. For more than three decades, they have systematically examined the dilapidated industrial architecture of Europe and North America, from water towers and blast furnaces to the surrounding workers' houses, all recorded against a blank sky and without expressive effects. As it developed in the 1960s, the Bechers' project chimed with Conceptual Art in its emphasis on impersonal series as well as with older traditions of objective photography as practiced by such artists such as August Sander and Karl Blossfeldt.

q

More

A Movement in a Moment: The Düsseldorf School

The stunning photographs that are like paintings

Düsseldorf School of Photography - History and Concepts

Back to Section Menu

1982 & 1984 – Nancy Burson

Photographer's website: Nancy Burson

From The Metropolitan Museum of Art:

Burson was among the first artists to apply digital technology to the genre of photographic portraiture. In the late 1970s she began working with computer scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop software that could be used to "age" a human face. By the early 1980s she was digitally blending the faces of groups of individuals to produce composite portraits of stock types such as businessmen, movie stars, and assassins. This composite was created using images of five world leaders, each represented proportionally by the number of nuclear warheads deployable by the nation they led: Ronald Reagan (55%), Leonid Brezhnev (45%), Margaret Thatcher (less than 1%), François Mitterand (less than 1%), and Deng Xiaoping (less than 1%).

q

From Grey Art Gallery, New York University:

Following the exhibition of her "aged" images of Prince Charles, Princess Diana, and their young son Prince William in 1984, Burson received an inquiry about using her aging software in the search for missing children. After working with several families, she approached the parents of a famous missing child—Etan Patz—who was six years old when he was last seen in Soho in 1979. In conjunction with the Patz family and the FBI agent assigned to the case, Burson produced an aged portrait of Etan that was published on the front page of the New York Post and has become one of her best-known works. Although this composite did not result in Etan's return, Burson's aging software has helped the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to locate numerous kidnap victims.

q

Back to Section Menu

1986 – David Hockney

Photographer's website: David Hockney

From Photography and Music ~ Arts and Creativity:

Hockney's creation of the "joiners" occurred accidentally. He noticed in the late sixties that photographers were using cameras with wide-angle lenses to take pictures. He did not like such photographs because they always came out somewhat distorted. He was working on a painting of a living room and terrace in Los Angeles. He took Polaroid shots of the living room and glued them together, not intending for them to be a composition on their own. Upon looking at the final composition, he realized it created a narrative, as if the viewer was moving through the room. He began to work more and more with photography after this discovery and even stopped painting for a period of time to exclusively pursue this new style of photography. From 1982 Hockney explored the use of the camera, making composite images of Polaroid photographs arranged in a rectangular grid. Later he used regular 35-millimetre prints to create photo collages, compiling a 'complete' picture from a series of individually photographed details.

The main obstacle Hockney thinks he has overcome is the limited perspective of a stationary camera. A single photograph can only show one point of view, usually for a small period of time. "All photographs share the same flaw," he says. "Lack of time." He then goes on to trace photography's misguided view back hundreds of years to the Renaissance and invention of the Camera Obscura.

Cubism helped to topple the single perspective in the hand-arts, but with photography it still exists. The idea behind Hockney's grids was to inject multiple reference points into photography, in short to make it cubist.

q q

Back to Section Menu

1987 – John Baldessari

His website: John Baldessari

From Marian Goodman Gallery:

Considered one of the founders of conceptual art, John Baldessari continues to be an innovative force in contemporary art. His use of appropriation, erasure, alteration, and montage to disrupt a narrative or to construct an entirely new meaning out of recombined fragments has been utilized in disparate ways in different bodies of works spanning his career.

q

Back to Section Menu

2008 – Julie Blackmon

Her website: Julie Blackmon

From Julie Blackmon:

Domestic Vacations (2008):

The Dutch proverb "a Jan Steen household" originated in the 17th century and is used today to refer to a home in disarray, full of rowdy children and boisterous family gatherings. The paintings of Steen, along with those of other Dutch and Flemish genre painters, helped inspire this body of work. I am the oldest of nine children and now the mother of three. As Steen's personal narratives of family life depicted nearly 400 yrs. ago, the conflation of art and life is an area I have explored in photographing the everyday life of my family and the lives of my sisters and their families at home. These images are both fictional and auto-biographical, and reflect not only our lives today and as children growing up in a large family, but also move beyond the documentary to explore the fantastic elements of our everyday lives, both imagined and real.

The stress, the chaos, and the need to simultaneously escape and connect are issue that I investigate in this body of work. We live in a culture where we are both "child centered" and "self-obsessed." The struggle between living in the moment versus escaping to another reality is intense since these two opposites strive to dominate. Caught in the swirl of soccer practices, play dates, work, and trying to find our way in our "make-over" culture, we must still create the space to find ourselves. The expectations of family life have never been more at odds with each other. These issues, as well as the relationship between the domestic landscape of the past and present, are issues I have explored in these photographs. I believe there are moments that can be found throughout any given day that bring sanctuary. It is in finding these moments amidst the stress of the everyday that my life as a mother parallels my work as an artist, and where the dynamics of family life throughout time seem remarkably unchanged. As an artist and as a mother, I believe life's most poignant moments come from the ability to fuse fantasy and reality: to see the mythic amidst the chaos.

q

Back to Section Menu

2012 – John Stezaker

From Saatchi Gallery:

John Stezaker's work re-examines the various relationships to the photographic image: as documentation of truth, purveyor of memory, and symbol of modern culture. In his collages, Stezaker appropriates images found in books, magazines, and postcards and uses them as 'readymades'. Through his elegant juxtapositions, Stezaker adopts the content and contexts of the original images to convey his own witty and poignant meanings.

q

Back to Section Menu