collage


“I met the girl in the paper dress on Manchester airport.” by Sigrid Jones

“Collage – the transformation and combination of image fragments to yield new images – has traditionally been regarded as a subversion of the photograph because it destroys the normal photograph’s strict, Aristotelian unities of place and time. A photograph shows what can be seen from a single fixed viewpoint, but a collage can combine multiple viewpoints or aspects of quite different scenes in a single image. Furthermore, a photograph shows things as they were at the precise moment of exposure, but a collage can combine things that took place at different moments into a single event. (…) It undermines our mental geography and chronology – our conceptions of where things are and when they happened. (…)
But physical collage of photographic fragments – by cutting and pasting, masking, airbrushing, rephotographing, multiple exposure, printing from multiple negatives, and the like – is usually technically difficult, time consuming and fairly easily detectable. So although it has had sucessful exponents, is has until now remained marginal to the practice of photography. The situation has changed dramatically with the emergence of the digital image: the tools for electronic collage of digital image fragments have become widely available, they are quick and easy to use and their application can be almost impossible to detect. (…) Just as execution of a brush stroke is a fundamental painting operation and exposure is a fundamental photographic operation, so selection, transformation, and assemblage of captured, synthesized, and drawn fragments to reconstitute the mise-en-image are fundamental operations on the digital image.”

from William J Mitchell (1992) The Reconfigured Eye. Visual Truth in the Post-Photographic Era. Cambrdge, MA. MIT Press

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