As a kid, I have memories of cutting out images from magazines and gluing them haphazardly onto sheets of paper for no reason other than simply liking the images. It seems strange, but I never considered photo collage a means of visual manipulation until reading about the women photo collage artists of the Victorian period. The fact that these women took images familiar to the everyday viewer and worked them into unfamiliar and often strange contexts – and the power this act brought them – continues to fascinate me. Allowing this fascination to guide me, I decided to take to the internet.
I had often seen modern interpretations of photo collage across the web and always thought they were “pretty cool”. I loved the implication of tactility – layering seemingly unrelated images onto one visual plane – as well as the general sense of displacement that they garnered. However, I never thought to think of these images as anything but aesthetically pleasing. The ways in which Victorian women photo collage artists used the art to convey their stance on a variety of subjects caused me to become aware of the power of this art form.
During my search, I came to realize that many modern day collage artists use vintage images in their work, rather than the relatively contemporary images used in the work of the Victorian photo collage artists. The implication of taking artistic ownership over past images is compelling; in a sense, many modern day photo collage artists seem to be attempting to take a past narrative into their own hands.
One artist in particular that intrigued me is Eugenia Loli. Here are a few examples of her work:
Aaaaannnnddd a few more:
I am fascinated by Loli’s tendency to create larger than life images; her work is often teeming with impossibility, manipulating the way we think of space and scale.
Another artist that caught my attention was Hollie Chastain. The collage work that she’s done using vintage photographs and old book covers is interesting; this layering offers a different kind of tactility than other photo collage work that I came across. Here are a few of her images:
I found the ways in which Chastain chose to utilize the texture of the existing book covers interesting, allowing the photograph to interact with aged designs and messy scrawl.