Interesting and unusual effects can be created by combining images using
digital technologies or through multiple exposures when printing in a
darkroom. Examples can be seen in the work of Andreas Gursky, Jerry
Uelsmann and Heinz Hajek-Halke.
Heinz Hajek-Halke was born in Berlin in 1898 and spent part of his childhood in Argentina. He worked as a photo editor, press photographer and commercial artist, concentrating almost from the start on montage techniques. During World War II he lived quietly and photographed small animal life-forms. In 1949 he became a member of the German group fotoform and took part in the first of two subjektive fotografie exhibitions. Hajek-Halke was appointed lecturer in photography and graphic design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin in 1955. During his lifetime he published two books, Experimentelle Fotografie and Lichtgrafik. He died in Berlin in 1983.
Hajek-Halke is one of the undiscovered geniuses of early twentieth century experimental photography. He surmounted the purely documentary nature of photography in the turbulent 1920s and developed a variety of aesthetically challenging photo-manipulation techniques which he applied to both personal and commissioned advertising work. His techniques were the innovative forerunner of digital photography and web design.
Andreas Gursky makes large-scale, colour photographs distinctive for their incisive and critical look at the effect of capitalism and globalisation on contemporary life. Gursky studied under Bernd and Hilla Becher at the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie in the early 1980s and first adopted a style and method closely following Becher’s systematic approach to photography, creating small, black-and-white prints. Since the 1990s, Gursky has concentrated on sites of commerce and tourism, making work that draws attention to today’s burgeoning high-tech industry and global markets. His imagery ranges from the vast, anonymous architecture of modern day hotel lobbies, apartment buildings and warehouses to stock exchanges and parliaments in places from as far a field as Shanghai, Brasília, Los Angeles and Hong Kong. Although his work adopts the scale and composition of historical landscape paintings, his photographs are often derived from inauspicious sources: a black and white photograph in a newspaper, for example, that is then researched at length before the final photograph is shot and often altered digitally before printing.
Jerry Uelsmann's photomontages are perhaps the most significant silver printmaking achievement of the sixties. His photographs are a curious hybrid of themes, motifs, and sensibilities. In a single Uelsmann print one might find elements of Pop and Expressionism, photography as comedy, photography as self-knowledge, aspects of surreal and romantic fantasy, and formalist and conceptual experiment. Uelsmann's prints are as pristine and seamless as Ansel Adams's and as expressionistic as the work of his "photographic godfathers," as he calls them, Ralph Hattersley, Minor White, and Henry Holmes Smith. No current photographer has successfully imitated Uelsmann's eclectic vision, but his influence can be traced widely to photographers as divergent as Meridel Rubinstein and Robert Cumming.