Splitting Image

The dual worlds of John Stezaker

John Stezaker (2012) Muse XII

This is an adaptable session which aims to introduce participants to the construction (or confusion) of meaning using simple / dual collage techniques. It encourages in-depth independent research into John Stezaker’s practice and its positioning within wider ideas regarding collage/montage and the nature of photographic representation.

‘Since the 1970s, the celebrated artist John Stezaker (b. 1949) has created distinctive collages using found photographs and illustrated ephemera, particularly mid twentieth-century film stills, press and publicity portraits. His minimal, but impactful interventions in these works – cutting out, slicing and splicing images – create uncanny and psychologically charged results, which challenge our ways of seeing and interpreting images’ (National Portrait Gallery, 2019)

This Session could be run in conjunction with:

John Stezaker (2007) Pair IV

Aims & Outcomes:

  • For participants to explore the construction / confusion of meaning in photographic representation.
  • For participants to consider scale, composition and juxtapositions in the construction of dual collage portraits.
  • For participants to conduct in depth research on the work of John Stezaker and apply these ideas to thier practice.
  • Participant Outcome: 3 (edited) final 6×4 digital prints

Research: the work of John Stezaker:

‘Montage is about producing something seamless and legible, whereas collage is about interrupting the seam and making something illegible’ (Stezaker in O’Hagan 2014)

You will Need:

  • An introductory brief & Presentation (below) for participants to outline the ideas and provide examples
  • A booked room to critique participants work (either via a projector or via print)
  • Blue tack to pin the work
  • Costings and Risk Assessments
  • *If you are running this as a physical / craft session you will need: A selection of magazines, Glue, Scissors, A photocopier
  • *If you are running this as a digital session you will need: digital cameras for all participants (and appropriate memory cards) This session can also be run using Camera phones or Lumix cameras, Card readers, Access to the Internet, Photoshop and computers (or laptops)
  • If you are running this in conjunction with a Portait / Studio session you will need: Portraits of all participants, A booked studio, Access to the Internet, Photoshop and computers (or laptops).

Preparation work:

    • Ask participants to read John Stezaker in conversation with Sophie Cristello (2015) in The Seen available here
    • Ask participants to independently research John Stezaker’s practice and watch the video John Stezaker In Conversation (2011) for the Picture This Exhibition at Laurent Delaye Gallery available here
    • Ask participants if they have thier own digital cameras and cards
    • Make sure you have collected magazines / have access to computers
    • Make sure there are enough team members to support participants (never assume thier prior knowledge)
    • Decide whether you will project the work or print it.
    • If you are printing it (6×4) make sure the Photo Lab are aware and be aware of timekeeping so they have space to print the work.
    • *If you are running this session off campus, make sure there is access to printers or projectors

suggested session outline:

Part 1: splitting image / dual portraits

Presentation ideas: the Neutral Portrait

part 2: splitting image / the photographed and the found

Presentation ideas: The constructed collage