Our Photomontage part of the project started with an insightful lecture by famous photomontage artist Peter Kennard ( see post on Lecture by Peter Kennard). Seeing his work was a great starting point because I felt it helped me to start gathering ideas for what I wanted to touch on in my own photomontage. His talk also inspired me to not be afraid to say something and to put a message across. I really appreciated having the chance to listen to him speak.
After having this lecture, I did some research mainly on the website http://www.globalissues.org. Two of the topics I found really interesting were Health Problems and Consumption and Consumerism. I decided to look further at Consumption and Consumerism because I think it is a problem that is current in the issues of today.
|Global Priority||US Billions ($)|
|Basic Education for all||6|
|Cosmetics in USA||8|
|Water and Sanitation for all||9|
|Ice Cream in Europe||11|
|Reproductive Health for all women||12|
|Perfumes in Europe and USA||12|
|Basic Health and Nutrition||13|
|Pet Food in Europe and USA||17|
|Business Entertainment in Japan||35|
|Cigarettes in Europe||50|
|Alcoholic Drinks in Europe||105|
|Narcotics Drugs in the World||400|
|Military Spending in the World||780|
I decided to start gathering different images for my photomontage. I took images that were part of my overall theme so I whilst I collected them I could think about how to manipulate them so that they stood out and made a statement. Here are the images I chose.
During a workshop with Hannah, I started to glue and stick these images together in order to create some photomontages. At the beginning of the workshop, Hannah talked a little about the idea of reflecting an image and having a reflection in our Photomontage. I was really taken by this idea and decided to experiment using symmetry. This was my outcome from the workshop.
In the first Photomontage I created I wanted to show how the global priority of ice cream in Europe is higher than the global priority of water and sanitation for all, and basic education for all. When we think about this, it is incredible that more money is spent on cigarettes and ice cream than making sure everyone has clean water and shelter and all of the basic needs to survive! When I looked back at this montage it made me think about the idea of the American Dream and the consumer lifestyle of the west. It is something that I want to explore further.
After completing my first collage I had a go at making another one.
This one looks more at a contrast. We can see the two homeless ladies standing on rubbish but sitting on cocktails. In the background we can see a clean infinity pool which contrasts with the dirty baby bottle in the middle which is a very strong image. It shows the naivety and the innocence of those who are being put lower in terms of global priority and it contrasts so well with this idea of the people of the western countries who can afford pools full of clean water. This piece seems to speak more to me in terms of my theme than the first Photomontage I created.
I was really pleased that I could have a go gluing and sticking before moving onto something more computer based and technical. I feel it helped me to concentrate on my ideas and think of a solid message.
In the afternoon we looked at making a Photomontage on ¨Photoshop. I was feeling a lot more confident with my skills on Photoshop so I was excited to see what I could create.
I started off with just testing out my skills so I tried to reproduce what I had done on paper.
I found this quite a difficult process because it involved cutting out each photo separately and then putting them all together. I knew I wanted to try out some new ideas so I quickly moved on to something else.
I thought about creating four different images, each showing a basic need and then a contrast. Here for example I chose to do the dirty water that is shown as less important than the fancy pool by the less than symbol. I though this symbol brought back the idea of semiotics and symbols we see everyday. We could immediately grasp the idea of this image. I thought about making each image a basic need: the next would be clothing contrasting a homeless person and a model, then shelter contrasting a mansion and a refugee shelter and finally food contrasting a posh meal with a simple oat meal.
I looked at creating something more simple. In this image there is a rebellious role reversal showing what should be prioritized. The homeless women is sat upon the ice cream as if they are a throne showing that her needs should be greater than that of ice cream’s in Europe.
I then made a series of photos showing the reality of the situation. The homeless women is getting a scoop of sticky ice cream dumped on her, proving to the viewer how the world is really prioritizing. Hannah had given me some feedback about my first image and suggested to try adding a background to make the image even sticker and sweeter and therefore more repulsing.
Hannah showed me a Jpop video Ponponpon by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu which mixed candy liked colours in a messy over sweet way. In her video she also used some Photomontage techniques that were really exciting to see because they were more culturally Japanese than Western which made an interesting contrast to what I have been previously looking at. This video inspired me to create these pieces.
I decided to present the last piece as one of my Photomontage pieces as I feel as if it conveys the message I wanted to get over in a simple yet direct way.
Looking back through my work, I felt as though I did not completely get my point over about consumerism. I decided to look again at my findings and looked at both Basic Design: Images by Gavin Ambrose and Paul Harris and briefly at Photomontage by Dawn Ades.
In the book Basic Design: Image something that particularly caught my eye was the page on Synecdoche, Metaphor and Metonym. “Synecdoche, Metaphor and Metonym are terms used to describe different linguistic devices in which one thing is used figuratively to suggest something else…creating imagery with connotations, symbols and signs…Whether the imagery has meaning above and beyond the literal subject or is simply used for visual impact.” I found this idea very interesting and decided to use the idea of a Metonym which is a “symbolic image that is used to make a reference to something with more literal meaning.” in my final Photomontage
Looking further into my subject, the theme of a consumer society came up a lot. I looked up more about consumerism.
The main ideas of Consumerism:
- Consuming material goods
- Consuming is irrespective (See Global Priority)
- Renewal of technologies (Apple)
- Waste – Always wanting something newer and better
- In order to achieve comfort
- People become distracted from political issues that are of importance.
I also came across this interesting article about consumerism which I found insightful to my subject point.
I started to formulate more and more ideas after reading this article.
Shortly after I stumbled across this short one minute video on Youtube about Consumer Society and then ideas were filling my mind.
The first idea was to take a grabbing machine in an arcade and fill it with logos and brands. This would not only show that even children are open to consumerism but that we can take what we want. Consumerism is a game and only some can keep up with the vastness of it. However this brief idea fell through when I could not find the image I required so I started thinking of other ideas.
Just flicking through the Photomontage book by Dawn Ades, I wondered if I could mix something already well known that grabbed the attention of the reader and then focused on something else to enhance its importance.
Out of the blue I had the idea to mix Magritte’s The Treachery of Images with a consumer image and caption the image “Ceci n’est pas le consumérisme”. This painting shows a pipe, however the caption reads This is not a pipe, therefore completely confusing those who view it. ( Bradley, 1997, page 41) Neither the image or the caption is being deceiving, “the painting makes us doubt that we can rely on our perception of things”. ( Bradley, 1997, page 41) I really like this piece of art and I think the message it shows is an interesting one. I am sure of seeing it being manipulated and changed before but I thought I could create something alternative using this layout and typography.
This is the image I created.
I took the image of the Iphone because it is the ultimate consumer image. Every year Apple brings out more and more stock until everything we breathe is Apple. Last year in the USA 150.2 million Iphones were sold, 700 million iOS products have been sold since the creation of the company, these numbers show how much of a consumer world we live in where we have to have the latest products and updates. Apple is in some ways the face of the new American consumer society.
Taking this into consideration, I used the Black Iphone 5s as my starting image. I then placed on top of it an image containing lots of different logos just to show the variety of the consumerism. Just in the same way Magritte has said his drawing is not a pipe, I have said this is not consumerism. All my image is, is a product, it is merely an image of consumerism, not consumerism itself.
I used these images for the creation of my final Photomontage
Consumption and Consumerism article : http://www.globalissues.org/issue/235/consumption-and-consumerism
Basic Design: Images – Gavin Ambrose and Paul Harris, AVA, 2005
Photomontage– Dawn Ades Thames and Hudson, 1986
Ponponpon– Kyary Pamyu Pamyu ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzC4hFK5P3g )
Consumer Society – (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocd_MJ8Mb1E)
Apple Statistics – http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/by-the-numbers-amazing-apple-stats/#.UuBgchDFLIU
Movements in Modern Art, Surrealism – Fiona Bradley, Tate Publishing 1997