Piece things to­gether

James Pater­son ex­plains how to cre­ate a por­trait col­lage in­spired by the fa­mous photo-joiner art­works of David Hock­ney and other artists

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

Back in the 1980s, the artist David Hock­ney pieced to­gether Po­laroid photos into col­lages that showed a sub­ject from mul­ti­ple an­gles. Hock­ney’s join­ers cap­tured the pub­lic imag­i­na­tion. Since then, the tech­nique has been muchim­i­tated, to the point where it has al­most be­come a bit old hat. There’s even a phone app – the Hock­ney­izer – that will do the job for you, which is prob­a­bly about as far from the orig­i­nal spirit of the idea as you can get.

But ex­per­i­ment with this photo col­lage tech­nique and you’ll find there’s still life in it, in the un­usual point of view that it cre­ates and the ef­fect that it has on an ev­ery­day scene. Hock­ney’s join­ers were all about play­ing with space and time – he was in­ter­ested in how our eyes see a scene by pick­ing out de­tails and study­ing them from dif­fer­ent an­gles, and how we turn a 3D world into a 2D im­age. If we stay true to those ideals when shoot­ing the images we need for this, then the re­sults can be stun­ning.

So to be­gin with, we shoot a set of por­traits taken from dif­fer­ent an­gles, some cropped in tight, oth­ers looser. Va­ri­ety is a good thing here, as sub­tle dif­fer­ences be­tween the frames will help to set them apart.

From here you’ve got two op­tions – you can ar­range your col­lage in Pho­to­shop, piec­ing the images to­gether and then adding shad­ows to sug­gest depth. Or you can take the old-school ap­proach and print out the photos and ar­range them by hand. We’ll ex­plain both of th­ese meth­ods over the page.

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