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Tea break for designers: Spotlight on photographic intervention

photography intervention

Being a multipotentialite leads me to be a person who suffers greatly from inspirational distraction.

Every discipline excites me, which makes it quite difficult to label myself professionally. After graduating in Psychology, I taught English as a foreign language and most recently, ventured into graphic design (which has led me to also design an awful lot of personalised T-shirts). Writing was the only one that I left as a hobby — purely because it was the only passion I had that didn’t pay the bills. It wasn’t until I was asked at Printsome to write creative content for designers that it all just clicked into place.

The idea with this series of articles is simply to take a design-related subject that I am interested in, but have trouble finding collective information about and to curate things into useful little groups.

This week, I’ve put together my top 10 references for what I call ‘photographic invention.’ When I was studying graphic and digital design, an art director who was teaching me my first steps in Adobe Illustrator referred to this technique, yet to my disappointment, typing the term into Google just didn’t bring up the kind of results I was looking for. Since that day, I’ve worked hard to collect examples of what he meant by the term, in an attempt to create a series of references that I could use in my future design work.

What is Photographic Intervention?

For me, it’s the use of photography as the base for some form of design or illustration. The photograph itself remains intact. This is very important. The creative magic lies in what the artist then does with this photograph. It’s also essential to distinguish the difference between Photographic Intervention, photo montage and collage.

Photo Montage:
“is the process and the result of making a composite photograph by cutting, gluing, rearranging and overlapping two or more photographs into a new image.”

Photo Collage on the other hand, may include both photos and other types of media intervention, often manual interventions and originates from Futurism, in 1915 with the exploration of the relationship between paint and photography.

So that being said, here are the top 10 artists I have in my reference goodie bag.

Photo Intervention by Tyler Sprangler
Source. Tyler Spangler

1# Tyler Spangler

His works stands out because of the fresh colour palette he uses and because, unlike others artists, he dabbles in GIF animation of his work. The magic lies in his removal of the images from their original context and by the sheer quantity of his work. I’d love to know how old his is (I reckon he’s in his early 30s) and he’s a visual artist close to my heart, probably because he is also a Psych grad.

hoto Intervention by Jonni Cheatwood
Source. Photo Intervention by Jonni Cheatwood

2# Jonni Cheatwood

Maybe it’s an age thing, because Jonni has also only got one less than me. For him, it’s all about process and he says his portrait of lover would be a photo of her with paint dripped all over it. (ref) He doesn’t just work with photographic collages, but also with other mixed media techniques and a lot of abstract stuff.

‘Awake’ by David Apollo Marinos
‘Awake’ by David Apollo Marinos. Source

3# David Marinos

David is a pretty impressive guy, at only 18, he has an incredibly mature and personal style, often working using classic imagery that he modernises, as well as exquisite pieces of photography. Again, he doesn’t only work in photographic invention, but the pieces he has done have a more fashion based aesthetic. Like Tyler Spangler, David’s series ‘The Awake’ makes use of digital media to create his pieces.

Rosanna Jones - from the series Concealment II
Source. Rosanna Jones – from the series Concealment II

4# Rosanna Jones

Rosanna Jones is a fashion photographer & mixed media artist from London. Interestingly, it seems that the use of photo collage is particularly common in the world of fashion editorial. A fair few examples of this style can be seen on magazine covers (I’m definitely a massive fan of for this reason). Rosanna makes use of small objects, like tape to create her collages in her series ‘Concealment II’

Photo intervention by Naomi Vona
Naomi Vona. Source

5# Naomi Vona

Naomi Vona isn’t just an artist, she’s also a collector of vintage photographs, which is what she uses for her canvas. I find her work quite fascinating for the way that she draws and paints directly onto others’ photographs, bringing them new light and new meaning. You can read an excellent interview with her by Frankie Magazine, another great resource for artists you hadn’t heard of before.

Hattie Stewart
Hattie Stewart. Source

6# Hattie Stewart

Known for her work with magazine covers, Hattie’s style is slightly different from the others, as she tends to cover photographs much more than other artists, using both black and white lines, primary colours and little winking hearts with legs. What’s not to inspire? See more of her work on her blog and for a  great overall review of her work, It’s Nice That is a great starting point.

Zericiphone. Source

7# Zericiphone

Designispiration is just one of those sources of inspiration that I just can’t mention enough. Think of it as a curated Pinterest for professional designers, where you’ll find everything from T-shirt design to infographics and designer objects. It’s the kind of place to go on a little tea-break when the working day just becomes too much. It was there that I discovered Zericiphone’s work. Also known as Parisian artist, Eric, he uses historical photographs and fuses them with everyday objects to create his surreal work. His motto is “f you obey all rules, you miss all the fun.” He definitely looks like a very fun man.

Pawel Nobert
Pawel Nobert. Source

8# Pawel Nobert

Pawel’s work is something I’ve always imagined, but never thought to create, a series of photographic art that challenges our perception of reality, as a comment on the subjective world of social media that we live in. I’m also a sucker for someone able to create a novel colour palette, and Pawel’s use of colour really is quite something else. Check out his website both for his series ‘Constructed’ as well as his other works.

Danielle Krysa
Danielle Krysa. Source

9# Danielle Krysa

Ok, so this one is a bit of a cheat, mainly because I said no cutting, but Danielle still manages to maintain the kind of aesthetic I’m talking about, without too much chopping up of photos. Her work is a beautiful array of very simple colourful elements, like dots, dashes and paint splodges that make her work quite unique, despite her use of very similar techniques. So, apart from the chopping, Danielle’s work makes for another decent reference for the coining of my little new term within the field of photo collage. Check out more of her work here.

Michael Meadors
Michael Meadors. Source

10# Michael Meadors

Another early 30-something artist, Michael Meadors in theory, shouldn’t be on my list either. Believe it or not, this is not a photograph, but a highly rendered graphite painting. Since it has the same aesthetic, I’m forgive myself for keeping this super-artist on the list.

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