Just as a photograph can record fragments of reality, it can also be created out of fragments. This is what a photo montage does. It juxtaposes and melds seemingly disparate objects into a cohesive whole, fragments from many sources, to present a different reality, in the way a dream might present fragments from different times and places.
Blurring the line between photography and painting, a composited photo can invite the viewer to enter into a world of magic or mystery, of whimsy or the unconscious. It permits us to create extraordinary images out of ordinary things.
Our week is devoted to creating a strong work of art with an emphasis on composition and craftsmanship. Participants use their own shot or scanned images. There are opportunities to photograph around town for background elements, objects, and models, as “assets“ are acquired to incorporate into photomontages.
In the digital lab, participants use Photoshop to composite selected images. We experiment with and fine-tuning: masking, edge treatments, color space, texture, perspective, depth of field, harmony, symmetry, and the consistent use of shadows and highlights, and of course, composition and narrative, all in the service of creating a cohesive photo-montage. To create a sense of magic realism or the possibility of a new reality, we see how the disparate elements meld seamlessly. Once many of the technical issues are mastered, we address what makes the image work as a piece of art.
Fran gives demonstrations throughout the week and works closely with each student, always available for critique, suggestions, and troubleshooting. We share our composited artwork with our fellow workshop participants by critiquing each other’s work as a group. We also look at other artists’ works; after all, none of us works in a vacuum, and we learn as much from other types of visual artists as we do from photographers.
Be prepared to be confused, baffled, and to experiment and have fun. Fran promotes a class atmosphere that is energetic, supportive and collaborative. Participants receive continual assistance and feedback on their works in progress. Fran encourages experimentation, laughter, discovery, play, and the open exchange of concepts, ideas, and techniques.