Daily Photo Collages

Every day for the last 4 weeks I have made a small collage using xeroxes of my old family photographs. (My father’s side of the family.) The point of this is to keep my brain thinking creatively every single day. (Also, it is a class requirement.  Not the collages, but to do “something” creative every day.) Even though it was required of me to start this practice, I am really glad I did, and I hope to continue doing something like this on a regular basis. I set my own parameters and rules. The first rule is: Don’t think too much about the collage. I just go with my intuition of the moment. Each day I will be in a different mood, and each day, the collage may be approached differently. The second rule: Each collage is placed on the same size black paper and dated. Below I have included some scans of my favorites. Comments are below each photo.

This is how many I have so far. When I stop doing this particular task, I will probably make a book with these.

This one is of my Paw Paw Keck. (Yes, we called our grandparents Paw Paw and Maw Maw…it’s a southern thing.) I liked bring the figure out of the photograph. It’s a little play on time and moving away from the past….or maybe an alter ego…or maybe his dark side.

I don’t know everyone in this photo, but 2 of them are my Maw Maw and Paw Paw Keck. This simple collage is just a single cut across the photo, and then separated. The black across the middle created an unexpected depth that I really like. It feels like a crowd of 10 now.

This is my great grandmother, Minnie Sharpe. My biggest memory of her is actually her funeral. My dad asked me if I wanted to touch her hand in the casket. If course I did it. Yes, it was creepy. Why do you think I still remember it?

This is my Dad as a kid.  He is no longer with us.  He passed away with AIDS in the early 1990’s.  He was always into horses.  He even found a way to work with horses when he lived in San Francisco.  He used to drive the tourists around in a horse and carriage.  I like this collage because I think he would have liked to ride horses in the mountains.  I don’t think he ever did that.  Maybe he did.

This is my great grandmother again, Minnie, with a little girl who I don’t know.  They must have known each other though, because I’ve seen Minnie photographed in the same background from the picture that I took the little girl from.  Here Minnie is the same size as the little girl.  They always say that older people revert to childhood in their old age.

General observations about my daily collages:

  • Time Travel –  This is expressed in a few ways.  Cutting the figure out of the photo and placing them so that they break the edge, and using the same figures at different ages in the same collage.
  • Creating New Moments – Photos are moments captured.  By combining moments, I am creating new moments.  Fictional moments.
  • Scale – The scale of people and objects are affected when combining the different elements.  This has been fun to play with.  Children the same size as adults.  Cars too small to get in.
  • Nostalgia – Many of the people in these photos, I am related to.  I have only met a few of these people.  Obviously the others are friends or family, so they were probably important to the people I love.  Therefore, they are still connected to me, even though I don’t know them.  These photos were lovingly given to me.  They are precious.

What I need from you:

  • What do you think of these photo collages?
  • Do you have a favorite of the few I showed you?  Why? What does it say to you?
  • How could I push these further? What should I try next?
  • Should I introduce color photos that are more recent or do I have more to explore with these?


Filed under Artwork in Progress, Collage, Inspiration, Memory, Photo, Studio Practice, Trace

3 responses to “Daily Photo Collages

  1. sarabumgardner

    I am really enjoying the playfulness in your collages…. the scale and the silhouettes are so interesting and engaging. You could have a show with all of these! I think you should try playing with color photographs, just to see what happens. It might not work for you but I think experimenting with it would be interesting. Also, maybe bring fabric into the collage to add another dimension. It could create pattern and texture and could almost be like paper dolls, which is nostalgic and of the time period you are working from. Just some things I was thinking about, I cant wait to see your stuff for midterms on wed!

  2. Cindy Mizzell

    What an interesting concept. Yes your dad did ride in the mountains. He helped with a camp there. Do you remember the story about loosing the brakes on the truck coming down the mountain with a load of horses?

  3. Lisa Spinella

    Ok. I have to tell you I love these. graphic yet intimate. Simple but enigmatic…

    My favorite is Minnie ironing. Do you have stories with these or does the image stand alone. What are you going to do to finalize this. Are you going to bind them in a book format? project them? Frame them together in groupings?

    I love the idea of a daily journal pictorial.. and would love to see more of these!

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