Part 1: Coalition
'Coalition', the theme for this part of assignment 1, was inspired by the current political climate. Following on from the shock of Brexit, the Americans chose Donald Trump to be their president, despite apparent interference from the Russians, and the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, scraped past the finishing post to remain in power, with the support of the Democratic Unionist Party. These unpredictable times have starred a variety of political adversaries, who have many opposing views. The outsider often sees these figures portrayed separately in the media, and depending on the media's political preference will determine what sound-bytes the viewer hears. I was intrigued to explore how their images could be merged together to create one entity, which focuses more closely on them as individuals rather than parties.
Over a week, I looked for suitable images on the Internet. I needed to print them out at home, so they needed to be a suitable resolution to print clearly. When I was looking for photograph paper to buy, it occurred to me that I had never used my printer to print photographs. It was a step into the unknown and I was unsure how my ideas would turn out.
My starting point and inspiration for this was John Stezaker's 'Marriage' series, in which he combined male and female publicity shots of film icons to create a hybrid celebrity. In Stezaker's montages, the two segments compete against each other for the viewer's attention. I wanted to replicate this for the politicians who compete for the electorate's attention.
Jeremy and Theresa
My first photo montage is of Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May. In order to find two images that would be easy to match, I used Photoshop to ensure that when printing each one onto 4" x 6" paper that they would align with each other. I didn't want to waste cutting up a photograph to find out that each person was not in proportion to the other. Also, I converted the colour photos to black and white, so that the colours did not detract from the overall image, in keeping with Stezaker's style. After using a craft knife to cut Jeremy Corbyn's face, I lined up each half based on where the nose would be. It was after I had finished the photo montage that I realised I was able to make a second one from the cuttings that were left over.
At first, I was unsure if this had been successful. Image 3 (below) shows my first attempt at combining the two photographs. Something didn't quite look right. After closer inspection, I realised that both eyes were unnaturally looking to the edge of the face. However, I did like the fact the direction that each MP was looking reflected their political views (Jeremy Corbyn looking left and Theresa May looking right).
Image 4 is my preferred version. With them looking cross-eyed, there is a satirical quality to the final image.