Getting to Know Mixed Media Photography

Photography can be so much more than the snap of a button. Various methods have made their way into making shooting of photographs much more fun and interesting through the times. Ever thought of how you could play around with a photo to make it look unique? Or are you bored of conventional photography and would like to experiment more?

 There exists a style called mixed-media photography, which simply put, is the usage of various other mediums in a photograph to enhance its look. These include ink, watercolour and even the burning of photographs to give your work a different feel and look. This use of mixed media is a form of experimentation that can produce very unorthodox yet mesmerizing artworks. We will be visiting some of the different techniques here and see how they have been employed to sell photos.


Forced Perspective 

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NO FEAR #lovenewyork #Philippepetit #Pejac

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Forced perspective photography employs optical illusion, it can make certain subjects of a photograph larger, smaller, closer or farther away than they actually are. The forced perspective photography is well-known among photographers, but using forced perspective in a mixed media photography is lesser-known. You could use this technique to exaggerate your photograph and to give it a better depth. For example, Pejac used a photograph of a man doing tightrope walk and added a new photograph of a man’s silhouette that makes it looks like he is drawing. This artwork was inspired by photographs of Phillipe Petit who did a tightrope walk at the top of the World Trade Center, Manhattan in 1974 with no safety.


Stitching Your Photographs

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Stitching a photo sounds pretty straightforward, but could actually take years of experience and study to create a masterpiece out of it. We found Victoria Villasana, a textile artist who started embroidery as a hobby. Her artworks did not only require strong imagination and creativity, but also passion because of their meaning and purposes. For instance, photos that features people whose lives were transformed because they have clean water. These artworks were created for WaterAid who had an exhibition at the United Nations in New York and Victoria wanted to make sure people who were at the exhibition could feel the spirit of the people in the photos due to her embroidery. The first artwork that we chose for this article is a photo on New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who is comforting a person in grief of the Christchurch terror attack in 15th March 2019. The photo is followed by photos of more popular figures, such as David Bowie and Queen Elizabeth II.

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“Trophy” (2000) by Lisa Kokin

 Another impressive artwork of this technique was made by Lisa Kokin. For instance, she stitched different photos of people together – who had no relation to each other – to form one cohesive artwork. When the photographs were stitched together, it created this imaginary bond that made it seem like the photographs were related to one another. The usage of this technique can pique people’s curiosity as they try to make sense of this connection. 


Watercolour Photography

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Photos can also be painted with watercolour to give this soft, magical feel to the photograph. The addition of paint adds a layer of fantasy into something real, thus this medium can really make your photo dance between the grey lines of realism and fantasy. It does not have to be done to the finest detail to do its job either, some simple strokes can have the same effect. We selected “Silences” , “Synthesis” , and “Hedy Lamarr” – artworks by Aliza Razell – to show you a few examples. Aliza Razell plays with watercolour on photographs to bring out more movement and stories told by a photograph. Aliza describes herself as a storyteller who uses wedding photographs and painting to tell magical romance stories. With her wild creativity and passion, she certainly does stand out among visual creators. 



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Other types of painting, such as acrylic, can create strong dimensions from photographs. We took artworks by Valeria Trasatti, Rocío Montoya, and Helena Almeida as examples. Helena Almeida’s art series “My work is my body, my body is my work” depicts strong relation between representation (the act of painting or drawing) and presentation (of her own body as a “medium” of that act) as mentioned by Jeu de Peume. Even though these artworks would not be a whole without painting, photography still plays a big role. Rocío Montoya indicates that the essential basis of her final artworks are always photos. 



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If you find that these mixed media techniques are difficult for you because you did not study fine arts, perhaps collage could be your type – it’s simple yet chic. Collage can give you more control over your creation in comparison to embroidery and paintings, such as allowing you to play around with photo and paper pieces before consolidating into final art. One can’t redo a painting, but that is not the case with a collage. If the final artwork does not turn out like how you wanted it, simply re-do and print your photos and papers again. Now, why don’t you get some inspiration from Anna Bu Kliewer and Katy Edling?

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arnistonweekend. #papercollage

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There are many other mixed media photography techniques out there, you should try your hand at any of them or figure out something new by yourself! It is such a broad category of discussion and experimentation that no matter how you attempt mixed-media photography, it would be something original that only you could have thought of in this photography landscape. Who knows, you may end up with a unique creation that is valued and used by brands.

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