PRINT October 1978

Composite Imagery and the Origins of Photomontage, Part II: The Formalist Strain

THE MOST BASIC CHARACTERISTIC of photomontage is the joining of two or more individual photographic images, as parts, to form another complete, different image. Sometimes photomontage is coupled with hand drawing or with typographic forms. Frequently it has been used to surmount technical or mere physical limitations to produce a photographic image that is visually unified and more or less naturalistic and convincing as a “facsimile” of its ostensible subject. Just as readily, photomontage has been brought into play in the service of pure whimsy, with themes too fanciful to be photographed directly. Photomontage has also been utilized by picture-makers for strict, formal reasons to create images which are in no way naturalistic and have no grounding in fantasy, but present a diversity of photographs of various subjects for the sake of assemblage and/or amalgamation. Thus independent pictures

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