Collage! Photography, bit by bit

I like the way this guy approaches what he does – takes a photo then collages pieces of magazine to recreate the photo: large.

Giles Davies began doing collage after a career working as a graphic artist and in publishing – he made some pictures for a small group exhibition and found that they sold instantly – to the first person who came in through the door.  A new career emerged.

Watching him at work, it becomes clear that this is no easy way out of drawing.  It is incredScreen shot 2017-09-12 at 18.38.39ibly painstaking.  It’s like putting together an immense jigsaw with many pieces…. and you have to make the pieces first, to begin with.

However, it is clearly absorbing.

And if you’d like to learn, how to, Giles gives lessons from his studio in Derbyshire, England.  Details on his website:

I can’t wait – I want to start now – what do I do?

The first stage for Giles is to take a superb photograph of landscape – some of it obviously involves high hill challenging walks – then he draws it out roughly.

Next, he gathers pieces of coloured images from a pile of magazines, and arranges them like an artist’s portfolio, to give him the ranges of colours and tones in the photograph.

Gluing down can be a messy process for collagists – Giles does this really cleanly and simply through sheets of contact adhesive – similar to double-sided sticky tape but available in full page size, in rolls (this is a tool he used in graphic design days).

There is obviously huge skill in cutting the right shade of each paper to be in just the right place.


Two pictures in one

Screen shot 2017-09-12 at 18.45.02

The beauty of this technique is that Giles gets to enjoy peoples seeing his landscapes from a distance, appreciating it, then going in closer and suddenly discovering to their astonishment that it’s made up of fragments of unexpected elements.

Creative Ideas to takeaway

For those of us with some visual ideas, but a lack of confidence in drawing skills…. collage can be a good starting point.  You can use someone else’s images – either cutting and pasting (quite literally) or copying part of them – maybe the colour or simplified shape.

Also, on a day when you lack that starting spark for the brain cells – you can randomly pool together cutout elements from magazines and see which random pairings start a new idea.  This is also a way to produce wild and whacky results by chance, if you set yourself the constraint of working with a certain set of elements.


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