Digital Montage

The Big Idea:

How can a digital montage create the illusion of capturing a real moment in time?

Activity overview

Canadian photographer Jeff Wall creates large-scale, transparent photographs which are displayed in light boxes. Wall draws inspiration from literature, painting, and the everyday world around him to create large-format staged photographs. Rather than photographing an event at the precise moment it occurs, Wall often constructs a composite photograph by cutting and joining together a number of other photographs and converting them into a seamless photo print. This process, referred to as digital photomontage, gives the illusion that he has captured a real moment in time.

In this activity you will:

  1. learn about the artist Jeff Wall
  2. imagine a scene you would like to photograph and sketch this scene
  3. write a verbal description of the scene
  4. gather props and stage this scene
  5. photograph individual portions of the scene and compile them to create a photo montage
  6. create a title for your montage
  7. present your work to your peers
  8. critique your peers' photographs
  9. reflect on what you've learned

You will be graded on:

  1. quality, craft, and attention to elements and principles of design
  2. creativity in applying new techniques and experimental methods
  3. participation in a critique of their peers' work
  4. written reflection
  5. detailed observation notes

New term:

staged photography

montage