Posted by: marycib | November 3, 2010

Unique Nature of Photocollages

At the beginning of the semester, the class discussed whether or not a photograph of a person was an improved likeness in contrast to a portrait of a person. It would seem that a photograph is more realistic, because in a portrait a person’s flaws do not have to be drawn into the portrait, thereby creating the possibility of a less accurate representation. With the development of photocollage, the distortion of reality returned, but this time in a creative fashion. “If photography in the mid-nineteenth century was generally understood to represent accuracy, fidelity to nature, and representational stability, photocollage undermined these values to the point of caricature” (Siegel 32).  While the images of individuals in photocollages are photographs, the settings or backgrounds are not realistic. Not only did some photocollages incorporate real-life settings, but also “The new medium of photocollage was wonderfully suited for compositions of the surreal and fantastic; indeed, the chance to combine photographic portraits with painted settings inspired dreamlike and often-bizarre results” (Siegel 28). Photocollages allowed for a more imaginative take on photographs, a drastic change from simply presenting the seemingly stiff photograph.


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