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compression you can encompass work that is generally not recognised as photomontage, e.g. the historical definition that defined photomontage has of bringing together two or more images from different sources into the same picture frame. Hiroshi Sugimoto’s photographic series started in the 1970s taken in movie theatres are exposures defined by the duration of the film: compression of time into one frame. At the centre of the photograph is the film screen, bleached out leaving no trace of the film narrative due to the long exposure to the light from the projector. We are left with the compression of time, leaving no trace of the story as the film erases its own history. The compression of time is taken further in the work of Michael Wesely. His long time exposures taken from one fixed position can sometimes to be up to three years. The resulting images also depict what the eye can’t see, but what the camera can, one image of extended time. The work he undertook between 1997 and 1999 recording the construction of the Potsdamer Platz, Berlin and between 2001 and 2003 recording the building of the new extension of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, depicted over months and years the remaking of the urban landscape. In the resulting images the buildings appear like ghosts, melting into the cityscape. The sun casts its rays across the sky as each day it rises and descends leaving its traces and layering of light on the image. Something similar can be found in the work of Abelardo Morell with his series titled Camera Obscura. His exposures are sometimes 8 hours long, but where Weselys’ images look out onto the world, Morell enters the camera to make his images of the outside inside a room. By reducing the amount of light entering a room to a small point, the room is turned into a camera obscura. The light entering the room is projected onto the internal wall and objects within the room. Two visions are brought together: the superimposing of the outside on the inside. Morell’s images are the compression of time and different spaces into confines of one photograph. Both Morell and Wesely’s images look similar to the photomontages from the 1920s made by Paul Citroën and Kazimierz Podsadecki that envisioned the modern metropolis of skyscrapers. The

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artists from the 1920s took their images from the pages of newspapers and magazines to construct their work; where the images of Morell and Wesely are made in the camera. The images by Andeas Gursky are made both in the camera and with the computer. For sometime Gursky has been using the computer to compose his images; first changing small details within the picture and later to create more complex pictures made-up of many different photographic elements. Recently he has taken the construction of his images to the edge of pictorial realism, in particular when dealing with the spectacle of sporting events. With his work Monaco made in 2007, Gursky creates an amazing vision of the Formula 1 racing track at Monte Carlo that looks more like M. C. Escher print than a photography. Similarly when dealing with the same subject his series titled F1 Pit Stop that combine photographs from different racing tracks around the world to create one image that depicts the moment when tyres are changed, fuel is taken on and the engine is checked at the pit stop. These are moments of tension when motor racing becomes theatre. But there is also a moment of tension when viewing these images on Formula 1, you have the feeling that the images might be falling apart. Your eyes tell you that they do add up however different elements seem isolated from the whole. This is the tension you find in photomontage, how does this image add-up? This impossible image of the world made by the camera and computer from different photographs taken at different times and different locations becomes real because your brain makes the connections so meaning can be resolved. The surface of the photographic print brings it all together and so the world becomes safe again, but you are left unsettled, not sure how the image was made. This may be also due to the fact that these images are not made in response to seeing a subject in the real world. As Gursky recently said: “Now I have a big archive where I collect images and after a while I lay everything down in the studio and I think about which subject is worth researching.” The subject is to be found in the archive. And this has been the direction that some other photographers have taken; they have found their subjects in the archive. Instead of re-creating a realistic

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EXIT #35 · Cortar y pegar / Cut & Paste  

EXIT Image & Culture, a quarterly thematic magazine on Contemporary Photography and Visual Arts. ESSAYS • INTERVIEWS • PORTFOLIOS. EXIT Ima...

EXIT #35 · Cortar y pegar / Cut & Paste  

EXIT Image & Culture, a quarterly thematic magazine on Contemporary Photography and Visual Arts. ESSAYS • INTERVIEWS • PORTFOLIOS. EXIT Ima...

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