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Lens-based Workshop

Updated: Oct 17, 2018

“In art in general, a ‘montage’ is the creation of a composite of multiple images or pictures which are mounted together so they blend together in an artful way. The result is a new synthesis which may create a picture in its own right, create a story, or convey artistic meaning in some other way.“


David Hockney

"In the early 1980s, Hockney began to produce photo collages—which in his early explorations within his personal photo albums he referred to as "joiners"—first using Polaroid prints and subsequently 35mm, commercially processed colour prints. Using Polaroid snaps or photolab-prints of a single subject, Hockney arranged a patchwork to make a composite image. Because the photographs are taken from different perspectives and at slightly different times, the result is work that has an affinity with Cubism, one of Hockney's major aims—discussing the way human vision works. Some pieces are landscapes, such as Pearblossom Highway #2, others portraits, such as Kasmin 1982, and My Mother, Bolton Abbey, 1982."

Some Research of Cubism Works

  1. Pablo Picasso, 1910, Girl with a Mandolin (Fanny Tellier), oil on canvas, 100.3 x 73.6 cm, Museum of Modern Art, New York

  2. Georges Braque, Mandora, 1909–10, Tate

  3. Pablo Picasso, Bowl of Fruit, Violin and Bottle, 1914, Lent by the National Gallery 1997

  4. Pablo Picasso, Bottle of Vieux Marc, Glass, Guitar and Newspaper, 1913, Tate


After looking these works, I found out some cores of making photomontages (joiners). The first one was fragmentized, and mainly these works broke down the order or perception of perspective. Nevertheless, the audiences might combine the fragments into an image. Secondly, the photos had somewhat connection on the content and colour to form a whole.

Therefore, the first photomontage that I made was a mannequin. For this one, I wanted to try the style of Hockney's My Mother which looked not that unified but focusing on the connection within the pictures' content. Moreover, I tried to magnify the familiarity in tone, texture and line in patches.

In these pictures, I selected around twenty five for the work and only cut some parts for several pictures.

In this work, I was really trying to highlight the fluidity of the lines and shapes. Generally, the work displayed six aspects of this mannequin, including from the top, front, bottom, back, left and right. Started from the top, I photoed the tops from diverse directions for creating a more natural introduction of each dimension. In the picture, there were five parts corresponding to the same position of view.

I was also inspired by two works that respectively created by Salvador Dalí and Gordon Magnin.

Further, I found out more works by Gordon and Eva Eun-sil Han which were attracting me a lot.

(Left side by Eva Eun-sil Han/ Right side by Gordon Magnin)

I loved the technique that selected certain areas and then changed the direction of them to make a puzzle feeling. I thought the technique effect should be similar as the project, "a million times" by humans since 1982.

A Million Times

To make this kind of effect on Photoshop, I used three functions:

Perspective Distortion

Selecting Marquee Tool



The original image, a vent pipe

Initially, I used the perspective distortion to adjust the original image.

Next, I added a layer of gridding to help me to equally create circles and turned down the transparency.

After that, I rotated each circles in either clockwise or anticlockwise order in columns. For the parts with same tone, I slightly moved the circles to create some white areas.

Finally, I cropped the image to emphasize the vent pipe and hided the gridding layer.


For these two works, I think the direction of improving are conversely different. The first work should be more connecting in tone and content, and prevent leaving the background colours that may influence the general colour scheme. Next, I am happy with the technique that I tried in the second work. However, I realize that a picture with more contrasting colours probably will establish a strong visual effect.


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