The word, collage, comes from the French coller, “to glue”. It’s a very pre-digital activity.
I started using collage as a way of salvaging photographs and paintings that didn’t work. It evolved into an end in itself when I found myself picking up the camera for the sole purpose of creating a collage.
Photography is often described as a way of seeing. Dissecting the images and re-arranging them pushes that idea further. The action reminds me that I don’t have to accept things the way they are. I can push for something better. It reminds me that sometimes change produces an unwanted outcome, but that’s ok because I haven’t finished yet. That sounds overly positive. It is true. Sometimes. The reality is that I have given up on a few pieces and chucked them out. Making that decision can be a lesson in problem solving.
Collage has changed in the digital age. It is so easy to delete a digital image. The process seems too limited. When it is so easy to give up, what is there to learn about life and when is there opportunity to learn it?
In response, it’s back to the glue pot – or in my case the spray adhesive and sticky tape – and the search for meaning in a well-ventilated spot and the absence of a fixed perspective.
Some past examples:
Try turning this one around in your mind’s eye. Has order been turned into chaos? Or chaos been ordered? A friend described it as team building – you all start out as individuals and then you form a team. The white line across the bottom represents the emotional scars and bruises that occur along the way. I haven’t seen him for a while.
To me, this one visually describes knowledge. The triangles form an aperature that allows in the light that is required to sort and make sense of the jumble.