Essay

A PHOTOGRAPH IS NEVER ALONE. DISCUSS IN RELATION TO EXAMPLE OF MONTAGE AND /OR TEXT-IMAGE RELATION.

“. . . Images make us think of other images. Photographs remind us of other photographs, But words have their place, too, and what goes without saying often needs to be primed with speech.”- TEJU COL: A Photograph Is Never Alone.

Some photographs cannot stand alone. It varies its meaning and purpose from individual’s aspect, where some photographs are too simple to see and understand the intention of capturing behind it. The story, meaning and description about it. A single image with no description can vary it’s meaning from every individual viewer according to his/her perspective than it’s actual meaning.
But as we know every image has a story behind it, captured by its photographer and a text can describe the image, the perspective behind it and what influenced the photographer in own words in the foam of title or a small description.The text is language, a way of communicating, a communication between the image story and the reader.

MAN-CARRYING-STATUE-OF-GANESH-INTO-THE-INDIAN-OCEAN-MUMBAI-INDIA-1993-by-STEVE-MCCURRY-Born-1950-C32397Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 9.58.22 PMThis is an image by Steve McCurry under his project of ‘India’. At first glance, It is complex for the viewer to understand the actual meaning of the image. Here we see a man with a statue on his head and he is in the middle of Indian Ocean.The viewer gets many questions about the image like; “What is the purpose of the man who is going into the ocean with a statue on his head?Why is he going into the ocean with this tides? What is that Statue about? What is the ethics behind this?”
With the use of words as a small introduction by its side clears the meaning of the photograph.But Steve McCurry leave the viewer with ‘Man carrying a statue of Ganesh into the Indian Ocean,
Clearly, this doesn’t answer the viewer and render the conclusions of the image.
Where some images are easy to understand the story at first glance.There is not much to be described by words. These images are strong enough to stand alone.Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 10.07.56 PM
In the second image of Steve McCurry from the same series, A Sikh man is praying with his hands folded where other men are in motion with their activities. It’s a personal and routine moment of these the men who are engaged in their moments.
With this, the argument builds up about text and the images. Does every image need a description for it? If yes then what and how much text about the image should be printed? A description or a title or a caption?and if no, is the image strong enough to stand independently how complex image can be for the viewer?

“I saw a fresh, new conception of layout technique that struck me like a revelation: pages that bled beautifully, cropped photographs, typography, and design that were bold and arresting. Within ten minutes I had asked Brodovitch to have cocktails with me, and that evening I signed him to a provisional contract as art director.” -Carmel Snow and Mary Louise Aswell, ‘The world of Carmel Snow’, NY, McGraw-Hill,1962
Taking the reference from one of our Contextual Lecture on ‘Fashion Stories’, we were being introduced to a Photographer/Designer/Instructor ‘ALEXEY BRODOVITCH and his work for the fashion magazine Harper’s bazaar. In his work, he showed that how the banality of text by the side of the image can be reform into art. That text cannot just be used for writing or be describing the image but, he worked out of the box and made text interesting to read and see in his work. In some of his images he let the text to do the presentation than images and in some, both were co-related in creative. He created the cover for magazine unlike any other by that period. Not only text but he worked with Montaging his front covers and photographs to initiate the field and importance of art and design which was not popular in America at that period of time. The first issue of the magazine shows his creativity and showcases the texting as art and design. His works showed the montaging and text plays important role in creativity and just not for writing and describing.


Alexey Brodovitch was the very first person of his kind who was been working to merge text and the images. At that time period images and text didn’t use to go along but only by dividing the two with white wide margins.

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He didn’t stick to a particular typeface for the script. He often switched his typography according to the requirement of the image and the feeling and gesture that goes with the image type with the second priority of legibility for text image. Where people appreciate this new idea of text images, some, on the other hand, called it waste of white space as in his work he used free-hand use of white space.
Text are just not a side part for a small description or title but as a text image be an equivalent part of the image. It compliments the images in a unique way in which image alone cannot perform.Every image has a story behind it, but a text commends the image more, with a text it gets a better narration.

 

I, on a personal level really liked these two images from this series.I liked how he turned to a boring descriptive paragraph into an interesting one. I like the integration of the images, font, graphics and above text.The use of images repetitively in the first image. The playing of images horizontally and diagonally goes along with the images. Like the images are moving just like the moment in the images. The image on the left looks so spontaneous on a blank white paper with an image merging onto the next page as all this is together and continuous. With the proper use of spacing, a description is mentioned in between all the images.
Where in the second image, not sure is it montaging or text-image or both. It makes the banal newspaper text exciting to read as a viewer to know what is the text she is coming out ripping?Who are these two women trying to come out fro ripping? Is this
image is about boundation of women? Is this image for feminism or is this something totally opposite? Where these text help describing the image and the work more briefly.
Screen Shot 2017-03-25 at 10.01.39 PM
Even though the image doesn’t have any human in it but a text shows the feeling and excitement of the person who is in that moment but absent from the photograph like “WOO-HAH, It’s summer!’ and the description continues about the place and what the series is about.
It is interesting to see the series ‘VACATION’ of Fantastic Man 2012. It is a documentary, fashion, text, documentary graphics all combined in one series.Though it is a menswear promotion campaign shoot but the images doesn’t seem like posed expression which usually are in a brand shop documentary as ‘sunny day’ location shoot. I like how they mixed up the brand into the environment and location description like. “The enduring allure of Hawaii makes floral prints a natural for vacation wardrobe.” The use of text for comparing the clothing to tempting weather and location of Hawaii. As mentioned above a text can be used in several ways to enhance the image and the definition.
Stepping up from Text-images to Photomontaging.
There are many things that make an ordinary image an extraordinary one. Montaging images (known as PHOTOMONTAGE) is a part of it. Photomontage is layering an image onto another be it the same image or different. but, at the same point, it is not about cutting, pasting, folding or be it layering, it is also about a resemblance between the two different/similar images into one image. Which might be seen as two different elements individually but together make a different meaning beyond the imagination and capability of the image individually.
By definition, it can be said to be cutting pasting or photoshopping but in a practical way, it is more about creating the unexpected or mixing up or be it recreating many images together to bring out one.
This is in practice since long used by many graphic designers and photographers for making an image exceptional from its originality or basically to create and resemble the two or more images in such a way where they bring up an unexpected extraordinary story with it.Montaging can be made from resembling thing or be it totally different to each other (images or context). It can totally be anything. But the series I am going to write about is for the two different images /places which are being placed together to make it more personal to the viewer to feel and understand the image to self-level (and at an emotional level too).

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I very much liked the series of ‘Bring war home’ by Martha Rosler.
This series was shown to us in one of our lectures ‘Inside Outside’ for our Environment assignment.

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For me so far, this was one of the best example been set for montaging.This series talks about the two totally different spaces of a human. This series was created in response to the Vietnam war 1954. Our comfort zone at home and the reality of what was going in Vietnam at the same time was merged together as a harsh truth and show the reality to the people. She montaged images of lavish rooms, sofas, bedroom, kitchesns, cozy home and luxurious house with the photographs of Vietnam war of blown bodies, dead children, army attacking, people panicking with blood all over and war scenes together. Which resulted in something one never could think of.The final photomontage images were difficult to see and imagine. It attacks straight to the viewer at the personal level cause of house as what is this happens to your comfort zone in your personal cozy space. The reference was made “your cozy sofa with a dead blown body on it”.
Individually these images don’t resemble any point to anyone. But together this brings up a social issue. Separately both the images are two different aspects of a documenting war image and an interior photographer. But along this is an expression of a personal level to think of. The comparison and ‘what if this happens to you’? As an inside space like a home, a place which is personal, comfortable, known and familiar to us. Where outside space is opposite to this.
Montaging is not always about clean and appropriate pasting and locating the images as per used by Martha Rosler in her series, but it is often used as graphic design with text and image together.
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Placing all thre together(text/image/montaging).
It is interesting to see this piece of an image but just with expression and undescriptive text over it, montaged hair and face identity, it makes me curious to know about the work and therefore I really think that a text is what makes an interaction between the image and the viewer as a bridge. To make it more understandable.
In conclusion, just by using two elements of an image it can clearly be seen that an image is never alone. It always says the story, meaning, and reason behind it.With the story, it always comes with curiosity to know about the work.Especially with the montage art work, it gets interesting and curious to understand the relation of layering and the mixed up images.
But, it is complex as mentioned above.For text description, I think that a title and a small script always lifts up the image in point of the viewer to look at the image with the perception of the artist to understand it better.

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