Photomontage / 2

* İFSAK, Photograph / Cinema Magazine, Issue: October 14, 1987

Although the history of photomontage extends as far as William Henry Fox Talbot ¹, its emergence as artistic trend and its personification coincide with the early 19th century. In that century, Photomontage reached peak point with Raoul Hausmann (1886-1971), George Grosz (1893-1953), John Heartfield (1891-1961), Hannah Höch (born 1889), El Lissitzky (1890-1941) et el, also influenced Futurism and Surrealism together with its extension, the Bauhaus School, the art movements of the time. From the artists of this group, especially Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946) and Herbert Bayer (born 1900) are known as the masters of photomontage of the time. The modern graphic and painting art, that photomontage took under its influence and added a new personality, open their doors to the surrealistic field with Max Ernst in 1920. In this period, we see that graphic design is used in combination with photographic images in photomontage. The photograph, which is the basis of surrealist work separated by a harder aesthetic understanding than the Dadaist’s complex and soft aesthetic structure understanding, is of documentary quality and reflects a cross section of reality. The surrealistic thought is based on this infrastructure.
¹ W. H. Fox TALBOT – is known as the pioneer of photomontage, more precisely as the pioneer of the photogram, with the works carried out in 1830.

Photomontage, revived by the new reality movements in the 1950s, 60s and even the 70s, is seen as the primary method of achieving a form of new visual perception and thought in the experimental photography concept, marking the artistic level of our century.

Photomontage pushes the boundaries of photography at both the practical and theoretical level and maintaining its actuality as an attitude in the face of the traditional photography understanding based on enhancing and diminutive methods in the field of application emerge as;

  1. Darkroom assembly, or negative assembly,
  2. Positive or cut assembly (collage).

In both cases, sub-technical methods such as two or more exposures, masking, card negative, local or generally halftone reduction or amplification, contrast change can be used.

Many more can be added to all these well-known techniques, or new ones be researched. As long as we can find the excitement and desire of experimental work in ourselves.

The pragmatic language of photomontage is a tool directed toward the method of interpreting internal and external reality, and is intellectual far beyond visuality. The basic principle of artistic language is that it wants to reach is the idea, determined as thought. The inductive reasoning method is applied in conveying an idea to the visual language. Accordingly, a clear understanding of the problem and its clear definition should be carried out. Semantic structure consists of images selected from real life. In the least, one or more of these images may need to be designed separately in an artificial environment. Its semantic language is individualistic and incorporates tension in its essence; there is a mutual conflict of the past and the future. Photomontage in its texture has not a certain momentary period that has passed but also a future time.

In the artist of this approach, taking its source from the variable dynamism of life, having a universal dimension and a continuity of search, the aspect of being a man of thought has increased, the theorist-artist type has become widespread.

September 01, 1987

All articles