Working from the Collection by John Stezaker

Andrea Raby
John Stezaker: Working from the Collection
At Atelier des Forges, parc des Ateliers

John Stezaker’s exhibit Working from the Collection challenged my perception of the photograph the most. Stezaker’s exhibit is a collection of collages—he takes two or three images and layers them, creating an entirely new statement with the overall piece. Some of this collages are just one image on top of another, but some are cut outs, some are oddly shaped, some match texture and some seem like they don’t go together at all. The relationship between these two images makes the viewer question the message of both and understand them in an entirely new way.

One of Stezaker's collages with a triangular cut out

One of Stezaker’s collages with a triangular cut out

For some of Stezaker’s images I had to stare to figure them out. Some of the images he has obviously go together, but some of them I had to decipher to figure out what message Stezaker was trying to send. He does a lot of interesting work with deletion of the main subject of one photo and inserting something else that changes the statement completely. He also worked a lot with contrast between black and white and color within his collages. This even translated to the presentation of his work, with each image in black frame with white matting against a teal wall.

Katie looking at some of Stezaker's collages

Katie looking at some of Stezaker’s collages

Overall Stezaker’s exhibit was one of the most visually captivating exhibits that I saw. The juxtaposition he brings out creates new characters, relationships and stories in each image. Although Stezaker collected the images that he put together and did not take them himself, this exhibit made me rethink collage photography as a fascinating art form.

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