PCO Procartoonists – on photomontage

October 31, 2007 in General

There’s a thoughtful piece on the art of photoshop and photomontage here. It’s written by Morten Morland who draws for the Times, and it’s worth a read.

Speaking about photomontage, or photoshop, artists, Morland says;

Traditional cartoonists look at their work with a mix of fascination, trepidation and bewilderment. What many don’t know, however, is that famous ink-cartoonists like Low and Vicky also had contemporary satirists who used manipulated photographs to lampoon the political players at the time.

Well, do we?

Bloghorn thinks that Morten is right about there being some ignorance about photomontage as a form of image-making. A lot of this may be tied up with the technology brand name, Photoshop, which can raise the hackles of many cartoonists as it implies a mechanical technique, rather than the more natural human process of drawing.

There are many links to great examples of photomontage, both past and present. Great names of the past would include Helmut Herzfelde aka John Heartfield, who arguably, invented the form in the inter-war years. Good present British exponents would include Beau Bo D’Or, Leon Kuhn and The Spine.

We cartoonists cannot stop change in art and developments in the tools with which it is made, and published. But, perhaps we could explore and think about the past and future of making images-with-a-point, a bit more too. It might help put the economic changes, of which photoshop is a part, and which are challenging the ways in which we have made a living, into a brighter perspective.
31st October 2007
British cartoon talent

2 responses to PCO Procartoonists – on photomontage

  1. Railing against Photoshop as a tool, rather than the way its used, is Luddish, and I’m as guilty as anyone else for using the word “Photoshop” as a byword for lazy and ignorant editorship. But here’s the rub – its the fact that editors are ignorant of the underused traditional cartoonists in this country at least, which concerns PCO. Even the use of the word “traditional” is perjorative, conjouring up as it does, images of ink stained fingers [like mine !] scratching away at 220gsm cartridge, with a pointy bit of steel. Most cartoonists [even me] use the computer to amend, alter, or send drawings. Many use the graphic capabilities offered by various programmes exclusively. But there remains the fingerprint of individual style, whether the drawn joke was produced with pen or pc. I’m not convinced that technically capable but unfunny people can do that with Photoshop any more than they’d be able to do it with a steel nib.I think its a reasonably safe bet to say that the public who throng to Shrewsbury, or to events like The Big Draw would be mightily underwhelmed watching a photoshopist at work.

  2. Bill,
    As I sit in front of my PC, wearing my threadbare underwear, I must reluctantly agree with your final point.

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