Pleasing and politically motivating

Krugers work shows the persuasive strength that photomontage has if used correctly. Her montages are carefully chosen, in this photo in particular line and composition are key. With the text above and below, you are forced to read the upper text first. By using black and white pictures and red text boxes Krugers work is bold and forceful. Kruger is just one example of a modern artist that has been affected by the earlier photomontage era. Even though the era of photomontage was short-lived, it helped to create a source of art that is both aesthetically pleasing and politically motivating.

Especially Heartfield, whose long-term abuse of the Nazi party showed how useful a political weapon photomontage could be. This picture by Heartfield shows Hitler with coins inside him. This almost scientific picture allows the reader to make his own assumptions. It also uses photography to give an air of realism and profundity that would not be accessible in a cartoon. "By using an x-ray photograph he invites the viewer to see through the press image"6. Photomontage did have its weaknesses, having associations in style to advertising means that photomontage political work can look too obtuse.

That it is merely selling a simple idea to the masses, the masses could either take this idea or mock it. No one wants to be lectured to, so for a political montage to work it must leave enough for the viewer to assume, rather than forcing assumptions. Photomontage is now part of our culture, it is inescapable. Wherever we turn we see images that have been put together to create an idea. Occasionally in the style of Kruger it re-appears in art form. Yet these artworks still nod towards the ideas of mass culture, such as billboards, advertising and propaganda.

Because of this it is questionable whether a political photomontage in modern times can still induce political thought. Also, with the advent of modern computing photomontages are harder to spot, and are associated with deceptive photographs. Photomontage has potential for political use, and this is clear from the work from post World War one Germany. The style of an artist such as Heartfield is faultless, the only weakness is that a single photograph can be more powerful than several montaged together. Documentary photography has superseded photomontage, and political photographs can be more persuasive because, they are pure realism.


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