Project: Photomontage and Collage

For this exercise you are going to make a montage or collage with a political message.

Your subject matter could be a current issue, or something that you feel strongly about such as animal rights, the treatment of elderly people in hospital or images of women in the media.

Collect images from newspapers, magazines, your own photographs or images online.


My research of other artists who worked in this area can be found here.

Thinking about this I had no doubt what I wanted my montage to be about. I was not sure how I would put it together but I knew it had to be about the HOMELESS in Ireland at this time of year.

I first did one or two trial collages in my log book using images of homeless people from my own files.

homeless_2_sm homeless_3_sm

I was not altogether satisfied with these. I think they lacked punch. So I decided on a montage in InDesign. I chose InDesign to keep my skills in that software a little honed…

I used the following three images.

Emily, my granddaughter playacting..
The Irish Proclamation 2016













I cut out, using a screen snap, the relevant statistic from Fr Peter McVery’s page. This man is a hero of the homeless in Ireland. I then used the magic wand to extract Emily from the above image and copy her to a file with a transparent background. I saved this as a Png. Not sure if JPEG would have been sharper. The image is not that sharp as Em was moving non stop!!! I took the relevant part of our proclamation concerning the states promise to cherish all children equally….. What a cynical joke that is. I then added a speech bubble with the phrase “how will Santa find me if we have no house”

I assembled all these parts bringing forward or sending to the back relevant parts of the montage. Resizing the image of Emily was a bit challenging but I succeeded. I reduced the opacity of the Proclamation but highlighted the relevant part in red.

Here is the first result:


The hair was not great so I looked this up on the internet – I found most of the suggested ways to refine hair, unsuitable for my image as the hair and the background were too close. However I eventually found one method which gave a reasonably satisfactory result. I decided not to put the outside frame around this second one as it was evident from the first one what size it is:


There are so many political situations in the world at the moment that I am fired up about that I could stay on this theme for the rest of my life!! The Brexit vote, Trump in the US, Syria, post Arab Spring, Gaza and the Palestinian question not to mention my beloved Africa…..


You’ve chosen a poignant subject matter befitting the use of photomontage. Your tagline is strong and the combination of words and images are beginning to work to illustrate your idea. I think perhaps more examination of the semiotic readings of each of your elements may be useful. For the collage artist, this process is a lot about a painstaking selection of imagery – from the cutting’s specific depiction, to the context of where these images are extracted from (a tabloid, a documentary photograph, a specific era or place for example). The crux is for the images to read as if words on the page. For your image to work I think the pictorial elements that must be present in the illustration include : 

symbols of 

  • Impoverished childhood (as this is a sensitive subject, this might need to be anonymous/from behind/a toy in place of a child etc) 
  • an exterior/ uninviting context 
  • the suggestion of a visit from santa / or Christmas in general. What symbols have other artists used to depict homelessness in collage, editorial or marketing?


I re-worked this using the suggestions of my tutor but somehow I do not feel it is as powerful: