Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Eisenstein's Montage and Photography

I’ve been thinking about Sergei Eisenstein, the famous Russian filmmaker. Eisenstein suggested that two film pieces spliced together inevitably form a new concept, or quality arising from the juxtaposition. Europeans call this a montage whereas stateside we call this process simply editing or putting together a sequence. Robert Johnston said that in film, we add or subtract images to construct the narrative structure of a film.

This idea has intrigued me for some time…the juxtaposition of images. What happens when we view a succession of images? Does one color our interpretation of the next? How does the context of surrounding images shape our interpretation of another?

In film making we are seeing a images follow images in time where the succession of images accumulate to convey the narrative structure. But what happens in photography if images are placed next to each other purposefully?

While a single photograph may be visually arresting in its own right, I noticed that pairing two or more photographs creates something more than the literal aesthetic of the singular image. Such pairing of photographic images seems to create a new indeterminate or non-visible space which fosters a symbolic conversation among or between the images while retaining the beauty of each. As an artist in this method, I tend to appropriate images of a common or shared vernacular but rework them into a unique juxtaposition.

Does this artist then becomes a curator and storyteller by re-shaping the literalness of the individual images where viewer is invited to contend with the peculiar pairing and relationship between the images to approximate and appreciate the symbolism.