Photo Montage Collage

Altered images are nothing new

Sure we know Instagram and photoshop, but also polaroid and photo collage; altered images have been around since the 19th century, when photography was first invented.

"Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop" at the National Gallery of Art In Washington brings together some 200 works, including airbrushing, double exposures and all kinds of darkroom tricks, giving us a fascinating insight into the history of photo manipulation. The show was aptly sponsored by adobe systems photoshop.

Expose your students

to the history of image altering, and encourage them to investigate for themselves the various approaches that have been used by artists like Maurice Tabard, Man Ray, Grete Stern, Romare Bearden, John Stezaker or go to Collage page. If students are interested in using photoshop as an art form then there needs to be some historical context and awareness. Photoshop used with intelligence and understanding of the history of photo manipulation is much richer than photoshop used without awareness, both studio work and the investigation will benefit from background knowledge.


  Project: Reverse Techniques


1.Use photo collage ( just plain old fashioned paper, scissors, glue, photos, magazines) to create an altered image, surrealism style ( first look at suggested artists above)

2.Use photoshop to create a digital photomontage of a similar style


Compare and contrast the resulting images, what do you gain, lose? How does the digital technology applied differ from the handmade? Discuss the work within a historical context, making references to other artists and styles.

Related content: Time Machine Photoshop

  Photo Montage Artist John Stezaker

Contemporary British artist John Stezaker takes classic movie stills, vintage postcards and book illustrations, and by using old fashioned techniques of cutting and recombining them (often with very minimal interventions) he gives old images a new meaning.

"By adjusting, inverting and slicing separate pictures together to create unique new works of art, Stezaker explores the subversive force of found images. Stezaker’s Mask series fuses the profiles of glamorous sitters with caves, hamlets, or waterfalls, making for images of eerie beauty. "  Interested? Have a look at JS at The Whitechapel Gallery                    


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