History of Collage and Photomontage: Charlie Hanacek


I chose the photo collage artist John Turck. He is a contemporary artist based out of New York. He deals exclusively with collages made up of photos. In the work that I chose for this post, Turck has created a surreal scene of a man fishing on a misty lake while in the distance, astroids seem to rip away from the ground and into space.

A photo collage by John Turck (MyModernMet.com)

The contrast between the upper and lower portions give the work its power. Seemingly, this collage is made up of just two photographs layered on top of one another.

Turck’s use of lines in this collage is multifaceted. At the bottom of the collage, the ripples in the water at sunrise create contrast. Moving upwards, Turck chose to leave the upper image slightly raised from the image below, casting a small but noticeable shadow. This boundary line enforces a separation of the two source materials, even though most collages try to blend their components seamlessly. This collage would not fool a viewer into thinking it was an unaltered photograph. The color palettes of the source images are similar, which is probably why Turck chose to combine the two. The orange behind the trees in the image in the foreground has a similar hue to the orange of the planet in the background.

Although Turck is an artist of our time, his collage works hard to feel analogue. The image in the foreground of the man in the boat looks as though it was placed physically on top of the space image, and then photographed under a bright light. However, the background image of space looks fantastical, so it is probably computer-generated. Turck’s other works that I found on his Instagram page seem to follow a similar style, with photorealistic imagery in the foreground paired with breathtaking or abstract computer-generated backgrounds. Turck’s use of analogue style shows a commitment to traditional photo collage techniques, even in a time where photo collage artists have a wide range of methods to create their work.

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