Term 2 – Photomontage, Martha Rosler

Photomontage represents ideas relating to spaces and places and is also used to make political arguments and points.

Consider the ways in which Photomontage is often used to make political points – why does this technique lend itself so well to that?

  • Juxtaposition.
  • Brings the truth forward.
  • Can created unrealistic and shocking humour / situations.
  • Critical and visual representation of opinions onto one media platform rather than several different platforms, means that it is cheaper to create a campaign.
  • Accesibility
  • Emphasises points and makes them more relatable.

Examples of Photomontage

Martha Rosler Bringing the War Home” (1960s and 70s)

Bringing the War Home” was based around the idea of a ‘perfect home’  being layered with photos of war, representating the Vietnam war that was happening at the time of the photographs.

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In these photographs, Rosler utilises the collage / montage technique which is favoured by surrealists in many circumstances. She created a series of shocking images by layering images of war onto glamourised images of perfect hosuewives in perfect locations with perfect lives. This idea was done to shock the audiences who viewed the images by drilling realisation into them that the acts of terror and war were happening around the world and how would they react if these acts were transported into the audiences own homes.

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The above photomontage is an example of how effective Rosler was at playing with the audiences subconscious. She took everyday situations, such a hoovering the curtains, and gave them a disturbing twist by including these images of war which pictured soldiers, soldiers which could easily be the audiences husband, father or son.

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When first viewed many people believed that Martha Rosler was ‘glamourising’ the idea of war; however after further expectation it became apparent that this was the complete opposite to what she was trying to voice. Rosler incorporated a sense of glamour ( for example the woman in the above image who is dressed in a ballgown with a fancy camera) with the images of war to create a sense of juxtaposition and highlight the differences of the two lifestyles. The idea I get from it is that Rosler has shown the young woman as being glamourous with a sense of freedom and no worries, a sense of freedom and no worries that has been created by the soldiers going to war and fighting for the freedom that the citizens back home have.