Unit II: Digital Imagery

Project IIh Portrait of a Place

Studio Fundamentals: To gain experience with the manipulation and composition of digital images using basic image editing software.

Conceptual objective: To gain experience in the integration of diverse source materials and perspectives into a larger whole.

Project Overview

Construct a photomontage using original and historical photos to create a portrait of a place.

References for further study

cutandpaste.info - a brief history and overview of photomontage

ASU Library Photographic Collections - The Arizona Collection has historical images of Arizona and the Southwest.

Ricardo Salamanca - a contemporary artist using photomontage

Worth1000.com - a photoshop contest site with some excellent montage work

Collection of Flickr users’ montages featuring surrealist environments

David Hockney photomontage

Anthony Goicolea self portraits - photomontages of the artist occuping multiple roles in a single image


Photomontage/cubist lesson plan


photomontage, levels, pixels, RGB, CMYK, JPG, GIF, PNG, hue, saturation, brightness, contrast, resolution, histogram, lasso, selection, crop, layers, image mask

Materials digital camera (or film camera with film and scanner), Photoshop, internet access


1. Pick a location (or locations) as subject matter and research it online, gathering imagery, keeping records of each image's source.


2. Spend one hour exploring your location(s), and use your camera to take photos. The more you take, the greater the chance of getting some good images. Take at least 50 images.

3. Transfer images to the computer (or scan photos if using film) and review your images as well as the historical images you gathered. Select a location for the final montage if you haven't already.

4. Use Photoshop to alter brightness, contrast, and levels to get the photos to look their best. Create final .psd file (11x17 inches, 300dpi) and work with selections from photos in layers to construct your montage. Create 3 versions you are happy with (these can be combinations of existing layers if you wish). Save print-quality .tiffs (full resolution) and web-quality .jpgs (800px largest side, 72dpi using "save for web" tool)

5. Save your own PSD copies, then export each in full and web quailty (800px wide) JPGs.

Photomontage Exemplary Solid Passing Poor Failing
Aesthetic/Conceptual: Are your photos beautiful and intriguing? Is the composition interesting? Did you creatively interpret the subject location using both your own and historical imagery? 5 4 3 2 1
Technical: Are your darks dark, your lights light? Is there noise in your image? Artifacts? Did you demonstrate understanding of the basic editing functions including levels and layers? 10 8 6 4 2

Total points possible: 15

developed by Becky Stern

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