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HomeContentsThemes > Political collage from 1970 onwards


371.01   Political photomontage and collage from the 1970s onwards
371.02   Martha Rosler: Bringing the War Home
371.03   Postcards with a message
371.04   Unemployment in Thatcher's Britain
This theme includes example sections and will be revised and added to as we proceed. Suggestions for additions, improvements and the correction of factual errors are always appreciated. 
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371.01   Photomontage >  Political photomontage and collage from the 1970s onwards 
The socio-political use of photomontage has continued to be important and flourishes for intermittent periods in different regions of the world:
  • UK: Peter Kennard, Michael Bennett (1954-), Peter Dunn and Loraine Leeson, Cath Tate
  • Germany: Klaus Staeck
  • Canada: Carol Conde and Karl Beveridge
  • Sweden: Christer Themptander
  • USA: Patrick Nagatani - Used photocollages to examine people living in a nuclear age in his 1991 book Nuclear Enchantment. Larry Fink was working on a satirical series dealing with George Bush in the halcyon days before 911. The images are a stylistic homage to the photomontages and paintings of Weimar Germany but the hightened sensitivities following 911 made it politically impossible for them to be included in a newspaper as originally intended. In 2004 they were published in the aptly entitled book Forbidden Pictures.
371.02   Photomontage >  Martha Rosler: Bringing the War Home 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
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During the Vietnam War (1961-1975) Martha Rosler recognised the disconnect between a cozy existence on the home front in America and the brutality of the war taking place. On the pages of LIFE magazine she saw this in a tangible form. Here one could see commercial advertising cutting through the photo-essays that depicted in stark detail the reality of the news. By cutting photographs out of the magazine and creating photomontages the two worlds interacted - GIs could be seen in a Red Stripe Kitchen (1967-1972) and a naked woman posed in front of Vietnamese civilians being watched by GIs in Playboy (On View) (1967-1972).
By merging images from supposedly distinct contexts Rosler showed how spurious the separation between them is. The economics of the one world impact politics and military ramifications are a result of that - with no separation. 
371.03   Photomontage >  Postcards with a message 
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371.04   Photomontage >  Unemployment in Thatcher's Britain 
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Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 during what was a highly charged political atmosphere. Her intention was to reduce the power of trade unions and the resulting miner's strike of the 1980s traumatised the country. Unemployed was high and the chance of getting a job was remote at a time when Norman Tebbit famously said about the racial and unemployment riots taking place:
I grew up in the '30s with an unemployed father. He didn't riot. He got on his bike and looked for work, and he kept looking till he found it.
By the right it was seen as a solution and by the left it was seen a callous and unrealistic statement. The companies printing political postcards, most notable Leeds Postcards, used photographs that parody the postcards that could be bought in British cities and seaside towns. The distinctive orange and white design of government unemployment offices was used to parody the complacency of the middle class and the impossibility of getting a job. Showing an astronaut visiting a job centre was a serious reflection of the times.[1] The use of humour, parody and satire was intense in the postcards of this period. 

  1. Λ As a personal aside during this period I remember visiting a Job Centre and there were only two jobs available on the board - one for a glassblower in Cornwall and the other for an aircraft engineer in Saudi Arabia. (Alan Griffiths)


HomeContents > Further research

Readings on, or by, individual photographers 
Klaus Staeck 
Staeck, Klaus, 1971, Pornografie, (Göttingen: Steidl Verlag) [Δ
If you feel this list is missing a significant book or article please let me know - Alan - 

HomeContentsPhotographers > Photographers worth investigating

Larry Fink  (check) • Peter Kennard • Patrick Nagatani  (1945-) • Klaus Staeck  (1938-)
HomeThemesPhotomontage > Political collage from 1970 onwards 
A wider gazeRelated topics 

HomeVisual indexes > Political collage from 1970 onwards

Please submit suggestions for Visual Indexes to enhance this theme.
Alan -

ThumbnailPhotomontage: Postcards with a message (1980-2000) 
Refreshed: 17 January 2015, 09:24
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