What do we mean by digital collage?
What’s the difference between a digital collage and a photomanipulation?
The basic definition of Digital Collage is that it is a form of graphic art that uses virtual imagery and textures from different sources pieced and layered together (in a program such as Photoshop) into one final assembled image. The difference between digital collage and photomanipulation is that in a digital collage the artist usually works to make it somewhat obvious that the finished image has been made by “pasting” different images together.
Digital collage tends to rely heavily on traditional collage strategies such as ~
- Chiasmage - consistent destruction of the primary motifs. The structures of various types of print, of music sheets, letters, geographic and star maps, chessboards or photographs are torn to little pieces and then put together again and glued to a base.
- Confrontage - placing intact images next to each other, counting on hinting at some connections.
- Crumblage - crumbling and deforming images, shifting, twisting and interrupting parts of the main motifs.
- Montage - the technique of combining in a single composition pictorial elements from various sources, as parts of different photographs or fragments of printing, either to give the illusion that the elements belonged together originally or to allow each element to retain its separate identity as a means of adding interest or meaning to the composition.
- Prolage - a method of creating vistas by inserting images into holes cut or torn in the base material.
- Rollage - cutting up a picture reproduction into strips and then putting them together again according to previously laid down rules.
Digital collagistes often also use various digital techniques to make the finished product look like it is put together using traditional collage methods (illusions of taped or pasted paper, frayed or torn edges, the hint of 3D dimension in placement of different images, rough-cut edges, etc.). Photomanipulators, on the other hand, tend to aim at an illusion of seamlessly blended and merged reality (albeit a strange and surreal one!).
Sounds simple, but in practice these distinctions can be confusing.
So here are some obvious examples of digital collage.
And here are some examples of work that could be classified more comfortably as photomanipulation, rather than as digital collage. See if you agree?