David Hockney know famously for his painting and drawing, and where his passion laid, happened upon using photography as a medium by accident in the 1980’s. He went on to create a series of photocollages which he called “Joiners” he used Polaroids pictures first and later with 35mm commercially processed prints to create his art work. This enabled Hockney to look further into his fascination with how we make and view images. He was interested in how we turn our 3 dimensional world into a 2 dimensional image. It was not particularly the novel effect that the photograph montages created but he wanted the viewer to read space, and discuss the way human vision works.
When you think about how we view the world, do we see the scene as a whole – just like a photograph or a painting? Or do we see a variety of elements and fragments that make up what is in front of us, with our eyes flickering between different parts of the scene, and our brains piecing it all together. I think that this is probably a closer description of how we see that world – from multiple viewpoints, which are then put together with our mind.
In Joiner David Hockney has tried to create this effect out of 24 Polaroid photos or photolab-prints taken of a single subject arranged a patchwork to make a composite image. Sometimes he laid the images out in a neat grid or he would overlap them to create a whole scene out of smaller fragments.
The image on the left of his Mother was one of his first creations using this process. Because the photographs are taken from different perspectives and at slightly different times the results of his works has an affinity with Cubism. Cubism helped to topple the single perspective in the hand-arts, and up until Hockney’s Joiners this still existed in photography. The idea behind his grids was to inject multiple reference points into photography.
This photo montage is one of my favourites out of the series, you do get a sense of how our own vision works, and it certainly is eye catching. The series make me think about how I myself view the world. Its something that I have not really thought about before.
Hockney’s photography exploration was short lived, as he got frustrated with its limitations, and returned to his first love and main medium painting and drawing.
Many artist have taken inspiration from Hockey’s Joiners. One that I like in Particular is Daniel Crooks. He is a contemporary artist, his works takes the idea of multiple viewpoints and uses digital media to playfully explore this theme. He uses digital video to chop, wrap or bend images.
The image below that Crooks has created is a distorted figure that seems to have been stretched by using a slow shutter speed or photocopier. It looks like he has distorted time and space, which he could have taken influence by the Futurist movement, which came about early in the 20th century which has some aspects of Cubism.
I have also created a piece inspired by Hockney using photoshop. We were asked to design a multi composition that either indicated a Collaboration or A journey. I decided to create a journey composition. After discussing colleagues we decided to take photos the process of making a cup of coffee. Its a journey that I make every morning before the day starts officially.
Using the facilities in the university we set about getting the scene set for our photoshoot.
I gradually built up the collage by cutting and cropping certain parts of the images, to create the piece.
Once all the tiled images were in place I changed the contrast and brightness on certain tiles to give the overall image more depth. My final Hockney inspired collaboration. I think the the overall image is really effective, and the white space around the tiled images helps with the readability. Making the eye wonder up across the page to the final image of a satisfied coffee drinker.
I enjoyed this process and is relatively quick to create after planning of photos which need to be captured. I will be creating more image compositions as final outcomes are very interesting to look at.