The art of montage

Hello creatives!

Back to my blog to talk about the art of montage and how digital photography and editing programs have given us the chance to professionalize and extend visual communication allowing us to use photography as a melting pot for all elevated arts. This real professionalisation of the digital work takes me by storm.

I have had this post on my mind since I was in my adored hometown these last holidays. Milan in Italy is a place a person should visit at least thrice a year. The cultural life is cosmopolitan and dynamic, allowing you to clash with the best of right about everything and discover a lot. Every time I am in Milan I plan a visit to a great exhibition. I say I travel home to feed my soul.

In December I went to an exhibition at Palazzo Della Ragione that showed how the great photographers portrayed Italy. Just the fact of seeing Capa, Cartier-Bresson, Seymour, Newton, Crewdson, Salgado, McCurry AND SO FORTH all in the same rooms is elevating, but you too discover in how many ways the same area can be photographed. A humbling school on the photographic eye and the subjectivity of it.

In this last occasion I could discover a lot of great artists I knew nothing about (you can’t know them all). One of them really blew my mind. Well, at least three but today I want to talk about this one in particular, Japanese master photographer Hiroyuki Masuyama.

Now at this exhibition they had separated the rooms according to towns or regions, and it was when I entered the area dedicated to Venice that I saw the works of Hiroyuki.

Wow! Just wow! It was already quite the experience that his work was not on paper but on screens. Just like this

On that: BRAVO MILAN! You enlightenment in Europe! You make me so proud of you! That’s how we should work. This is digital photography and has the same status and can walk by side with Salgado, Capa and other photographers. All my respect to the gallerists who made this happen. It is very important that we describe art for its value and understand the skills required to work with digital is just as valuable as the skills we had in the darkrooms. At times even more.

It was quite the thing, I promise. As you can see, it is Venice, but it is more like an impression of it than a real straightforward photograph of it. I fell in love with his work as soon as my eyes dropped on it. Never seen his work so I went checking the name. Who’s doing this? And that is what I found:



Now to understand Hiroyuki, you must learn about J.M.W. Turner.

[Joseph Mallord] William Turner, was an English Romanticist landscape painter. He is today highly considered for his avant-guardism, bur for his time, he had quite a controversial way of painting landscapes. Turner worked on both oil and watercolor and he is known as “the painter of light”. He can by all means be considers a precursor of the impressionist school. I honestly did not connect Masuyama to his paintings at first sight, but being in love with impressionism, I was fascinated by these representations of Venice mostly because they were in a photographic gallery.

Turner made a series of pictures about Venice around the 1840íes. Due to the very delicate and fragile nature of many of his works, they are not often displayed in galleries, but his Venice work are very celebrated among painters for their magical content and the luminous watercolors.

Now look at this amazing painting he made


Grand Canal, Venice | William Turner

Such an interesting way. Do you see why he is so celebrated for his lights? I really see the point in being fascinated by his works.

The “after J.M.W. Turner” is this breathtaking dialog between Masuyama and Turner’s paintings where Hiroyuki reproduces them by using the means of digital photography. But they are even more than this: they are a conceptual operation on his works. The creative genius in Masuyama is that he used photography to sketch and then he brought hundreds of images to his digital darkroom to complete extremely complex montages. Look. At. This:


This is how it looked at the exhibition [through my mobile, so forgive the limits of my means].


What we can do today with digital photography and an editing program has virtually no limits but our own skills.

I of course bought the catalog of the whole exhibition and be sure I will write about other photographers that caught my attention. Although, the unicity and creativity of this master photographer truly deserved a page on its own. Look at the same picture on print:


I suggest you to follow this photographer and check his page

because he’s even more amazing than this.

Now consider what it is possible to do with montage in the digital world and if you have Photoshop you have all you need to jump into the advanced digital photography. Find your own voice and create, communicate with other forms of art. It is not necessary to make it in the digital world, montage has existed since always. Check Man Ray or the art of pictorialism to see what experimentation also can look like and what the history of creative photography is.

Hope you enjoyed this post and learned something new about who we digital professional photographers work.

Stay creative and see you soon for more creative stories!


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