Reflecting on my work constructed & photomontages

Posted on by Ben Hodson

In my own practice I have been creating slightly more abstract and directly constructed imagery.  My series of work “Light in the Darkness” depict a number of locations and more importantly events where light and dark are captured in tension with each other. The process of painting with light forces me to slow the image creation process down.   I used over 10 Min exposures, torches, flashguns, assistants and lots of jumping up and down to create these fictional events. The images are carefully assembled from pre-conceived ideas and compositions.  The work is inspired by artists such as Jeff Wall or Gregory Crewdson, who are not considered modernist, however, the inclusion of the painting with light technique involves a direct light invention as in the photograms of the modernist photographers.  The simplistic and almost abstract compositions that are produced could also reference modernist inspirations.


Another style of work that I have been working on is using montage or more specifically photomontage.  As a technique it is very similar to David Hockney’s Joiners from the 80’s, although it also has close associations with some modernist movements. Taking from Cubism’s lead a number of other modern art movements starting working with collage and photomontage.  Some of the key artists include; Raoul Hausmaan, Hannah Hoch, John Heartfield (Helmut Herzfelde) and the constructionist Alexander Rodechenko.  The format was also used by some of the artists in the Pop Art movement, such as Richard Hamilton, who was known for his re-appropriation of images from popular culture.  With my series “Lutopia” I stood in a location and extensively photographed a scene with an exact number of images.  These images were then cut up and glued to hardboard.


The large scale photo-montages depict views of in and around Luton.  The fragmented works envelope the viewer in a distorted panoramic world that seem familiar yet somehow painterly.  The collection makes an enquiry into the photographic image as an object, a self-referring form.  Photography has lost its association with the notion of truth. The work does not resist this change, it embraces it.  There are many imperfections and repetitions in the work. This is intentional, as it again references the passage of time, fragmentation and the cubist inspirations.  More importantly, it shows how I have begun to create and subvert the image to reveal my reality of the place (as a painter would).  Although the image is no longer a true photographic representation it remains connected to my interpretation of the truth of the scene. The terms montage and collage are often used interchangeably and both are associated with the early stages of modernism.