David Hockney and Unit 32

Today I will be introducing my new Unit 32 Experimental Imagery in Photography. This brief is our first fully self-directed brief to give us an experience on how the Final Major Project will work.

For this brief I started with research on presenting a final image, I decided to look at David Hockney who has used Photomontage within painting and photography.

DHDavid Hockney was born in 1937, and is considered by many as one of the
“most popular and versatile British Artists of the 20th Century” – Tate Gallery. Hockney is a painter, printmaker, photographer and stage designer; with each of the media he works with he tries to create his own unique style and approach. For example his photography is known for the photomontages he created. Photomontage is the process and result of making a composed photograph by putting multiple images together. This can be done with physical prints or done digitally. Hockney split his photomontages into two “Photographic Collages” and “Composite Polaroids”. Photographic Collages are different sized prints and shots that overlap each other. Composite Polaroids show a more uniform look to them as it looks like Hockney shot with 600 series Polaroid film which has an aspect ratio of 3×3. If you look at the images below you can see the Polaroids all look square.


This is a Composite Polaroid called Still Life Blue Guitar. It is a still life image but has each individual Polaroid shot to capture more detail and increase the size of the image. The image has a certain charm from the style of photograph created by shooting on Polaroid, to the still life photograph split into 63 3×3 Polaroid images. The subject matter echoes the work of the Cubist artists (Picasso, Braque) who developed still life paintings with similar themes.


This is Hockney’s Photographic Composite of the Merced River in Yosemite Valley, shot in September 1982. This is composed of many different shots of the scene and printed onto larger photographic paper than the Polaroid permits. These photos are also allowed to overlap each other. This creates a very dynamic image and brings a sense of perspective and depth to the image, at the price of uniformity in the final piece; but this means parts of the same images on each print can overlap each other so you don’t see two different perspectives.

Hockney has also used this technique in painting with the piece “A Bigger Grand Canyon” which is an oil on canvas painting spanning over 60 canvases.

Hockney’s work in painting and photography is intriguing and different; it isn’t just about displaying something, it also creates a perspective that the viewer should try to grasp. The images are more than just a snapshot capturing life in a second, they are about creating a dynamic landscape. The Photomontage concept is something I have explored with this image below.

My Initial responses to David Hockney’s Photomontages:

Person 2This image was created for my Unit 34 Image Manipulation assignment, which was done in Photoshop with three different images.


This image was an initial response to David Hockney’s photographic collages. I used portraits shot of Holly, who I shot for my Unit 9 Professional Practice. The images were all layered on top of each other. This was also done completely in Photoshop rather than layered with actual prints.


This was another response to Hockey’s photomontage by combining elements of photographic composite and composite Polaroid. I used a canvas size that has an aspect ratio with 3×3, to replicate the square feel of a Polaroid picture. I split the images up on some of them to create the uniformity of the puzzle.

Photomontage Final Presentation:

If I was to shoot photomontages I have considered how I would present the images the first drawing below. I would have the photomontage constructed on multiple prints and suspended in the air with lights embed in the metal component attached to the ceiling. The image would have more depth and would give a better sense of scale and complexity.

Scan Pr 1

This is the reality of how I would present the image, printed onto a wall, or many different prints but will still be on the wall. It won’t be as dynamic and will look flatter but can be just as complex if each image is printed and stuck onto the canvas.

Scan Pr 2

I hope you have enjoyed my first piece on Unit 32, there will be more to come through the coming weeks and an update on UCAS!

Further Reading:

David Hockney: A Bigger Picture, Royal Academy of Arts, Review – Article by The Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/art-reviews/9018212/David-Hockney-A-Bigger-Picture-Royal-Academy-of-Arts-review.html

David Hockney’s iPad Doodle Resemble High-Tech Stained Glass – Article by Bloomberg http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aTsCxV8aS84UDavid Hockney’s iPhone Passion – Article by The New Yorker http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2009/10/22/david-hockneys-iphone-passion/

David Hockney http://www.hockneypictures.com/home.php

David Hockney Bio http://www.biography.com/people/david-hockney-9340738

David Hockney “most popular and versatile British Artists of the 20th Century” – Tate Gallery http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/david-hockney-1293


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