Collage Session

by nathandowningsolent

Collage Task, Nathan Downing, 2015

Collage Task, Nathan Downing, 2015

Tasked with creating a collage within a limited time, the objective was to aid us in the direction of a more hands-on approach to photography. Focusing particularly on notions of physicality, surrealism and appropriation, we were to create a collage out of the resources collected as a class. I contributed some old family portraits, amidst images and printed scraps I had laying around. Years of waiting for an opportunity to collage has amounted a rather dusty, overloaded box of discarded print that I was keen to put to use.

A majority of the class stuck to fashion montage, for me however, this is not an aesthetic nor concept I find exciting to make. I idolise notions of the abstract, surrealism and the a dream-like state. Collage is the perfect means by which to represent this, the individual elements could almost be pieces plucked from a dream. The scale and manipulative alignments effectively emphasise elements of the surreal, forming as a curiosity-invoking consequence of image digestion. The juxtaposition of the compositional physicality and the appropriation of the images previously-intended purpose, creates an unconventional construction that sticks out like  a sore thumb.

You can see that I have re-purposed the found imagery, bringing it back to life from its state of discard. Although the image isn’t of much relevance to any of my work and the image was a product of a quick group task, I feel the surreal abstractions are an element that will invoke a further personal investigation. I’ve always been inspired by surrealism, Jerry Uelsmann, Eugene Atget, Lee Friedlander to name a few, but, these are all photographers. I rarely find photographic collage exploring surrealism that interests me and although it’s probably waiting to be discovered, I feel I need to push my borders of photographic appreciation to maybe understand the purpose of an artistic process a little better. Being a graphic designer prior to university, I was glued to photoshop all day, every day. It’s nice to take the digitalised powerhouse that is photoshop, back to its cut and paste roots, as means of an artistic holiday.