Digital Montage

Activity Steps:

Create a scene and photograph it in stages. You will then compile these individual photographs to generate your own photomontage.

1. Look closely:
Explore the works of Jeff Wall online. Be sure to click on all images, read all documents, watch the videos, and look closely at the works of art. Study two photographs: In front of a nightclub, 2006 and A Sudden Gust of Wind (after Hokusai), 1993.
2. Brainstorm:
Think about a scene that you would like to photograph. You may draw your inspiration from art history, history, or everyday life. You should avoid making this scene too complicated as you will be shooting each part of the photograph individually.
3. Sketch:
Make a sketch of the scene you plan to create. This does not have to be in color, but may be if that will help you get a better sense of how you will stage the scene.
4. Express:
Write a detailed verbal description of your scene. Be sure you list the props you will be including, as well as what type of background setting you would like to have.
5. Gather:
Gather your props.
6. Stage:
Stage your photograph. Use your notes and sketch as guidelines for your photograph.
7. Photograph:
You are now ready to photograph your scene. Remember you will be photographing this scene in stages. You will photograph the background first. Then you will add elements to the scene one by one, re-photographing each time. If you have actors, they may be photographed multiple times if you wish.
8. Compile:
Use your finished photographs to create a montage of the scene. You may either develop your pictures and cut and reorganize them to create an analog photomontage or you may create a digital montage in Photoshop. Your teacher will specify which method he or she would like you to use.
9. Title:
Give your work of art a title.
10. Critique:
With the class, critique each person's photograph. During the critique, be sure to consider:
  1. What works visually? What needs work?
  2. Why did the artist choose to depict this particular scene?
  3. How well does the title reflect the photograph?
11. Reflect:
In your journal, reflect on what you learned through this process. What was it like working in a group? Reflect on your experience.