Sunday, December 28, 2014

What's it made of?

I get lots of questions regarding my photomontages, especially regarding the components I use to make them. So let me show you an example.

Here's a photomontage (called "San Francisco 1952") I made this morning and uploaded to Fine Art America. Will it ever sell? I doubt it. It's just too weird. And perhaps too plain. Not interesting enough. But I like it, so what the heck. Maybe there's someone out there as weird as I who will just love it. (I also uploaded a square version of this same image, in case someone wants it made into a throw pillow. Yeah, I know . . . weird.)

So what photographs did I take to make this AWESOME piece of work?

First, I saw this shipping container up in Newport. I was drawn to the peeling paint and the red, black, and white graphics. So I zoomed in closer.

See how the paint is peeling upward? See the big letter "I?" See the vertical red bits? See the scratches? Love those things. And so click, there's my photo.

And then I have, in my collection at home, lots of envelopes, stamps, cancellation marks, etc. I liked how clear the San Francisco cancellation was on the envelope, liked the old-fashioned plane, liked the red, white, blue trim on the right. It's all so retro, so 1950s, that it has character. I decided to incorporate this bit in the montage.

But what else do I have in my stash? I felt I needed something in the lower left to create a sort of diagonal flow in the photomontage, so I selected a picture I took of "No. 4955." I don't remember if it was on an envelope I had, but it was in a section of photos of other envelope "bits," so I think it was. I included it in the mix.

And then, so you don't have to scroll back up again, here's the final piece once again. (To see how important I thought it was to have "No. 4955" there in the lower left, block it out with your finger. See how empty that side of the photo looks without it?)

Do I plan these things ahead of time? Not at all. If I knew what I was going to make, there'd be no point in making it.

So I began with the close-up of the peeling paint. Played with it, felt it looked spare and simple and plain and had a retro modern-art vibe, so I riffled through my photos of stamps and envelopes until I found something appropriate and included it.

Then, feeling I needed some other compositional element, something "stampish," I found the "No. 4955" picture in my files and stuck it on.

It's like making a physical collage. Only my hands don't get dirty. And I can easily change my mind. Two concepts which are ridiculously important to me.

There you have it. So. What have YOU made today? Hmmmm?

©Carol Leigh

All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh. Thank you!

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