Photomontage

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Photomontage is the process and result of making a composite photograph by cutting and joining a number of other photographs. The composite picture was sometimes photographed so that the final image is converted back into a seamless photographic print. A similar method, although one that does not use film, is realized today through image-editing software. This latter technique is referred to by professionals as "compositing", and in casual usage is often called "photoshopping".[1]

Contents

History

Author Oliver Grau in his book Virtual Art: From Illusion to Immersion notes that the creation of artificial immersive virtual reality, arising as a result of technical exploitation of new inventions, is a long-standing human practice throughout the ages. Such environments as dioramas were made of composited images.

The first and most famous mid-Victorian photomontage (then called combination printing) was "The Two Ways of Life" (1857) by Oscar Rejlander, followed shortly by the pictures of photographer Henry Peach Robinson such as "Fading Away" (1858). These works actively set out to challenge the then-dominant painting and theatrical tableau vivants. Images location.

Fantasy photomontaged postcards were popular in the Victorian and Edwardian periods.[citation needed]The preeminent producer in this period was the Bamforh Company, in Holmfirth, West Yorksihire, and New York. But the high point came during World War I, when photographers in France, Great Britain, Germany, Austria, and Hungary produced a profusion of postcards showing soldiers on one plane and lovers, wives, children, families, or parents on another.[2] Many of the early examples of fine-art photomontage consist of photographed elements superimposed on watercolours, a combination returned to by (e.g.) George Grosz in about 1915. He was part of the Dada movement in Berlin which was instrumental in making montage into a modern art-form. They first coined the term "photomontage" at the end of the war, around 1918 or 1919. The other major exponents were John Heartfield, Hannah Höch, Kurt Schwitters, Raoul Hausmann and Johannes Baader. Individual photos combined together to create a new subject or visual image proved to be a powerful tool for the Dadists protesting World War I and the interests that they believed inspired the war. Photomontage survived Dada and was a technique inherited and used by European Surrealists such as Salvador Dalí. The world's first retrospective show of photomontage was held in Germany in 1931. A later term coined in Europe was "photocollage"; which usually referred to large and ambitious works that added typography and brushwork or even actual objects stuck to the photomontage.

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