The found image in photomontage

Exercise 1.3 (Digital Image and Culture) pg.29

Use readily available images to make a short narrative series of four to six collages based on a recent or contemporary news event.

The challenge of this exercise was the vast array of contemporary news stories to choose from – everything from sexual harassment in the workplace to Brexit, and from abuse of power to fake news. In some ways the most recent news felt too close and overwhelming. Trying to make sense of an increasingly complex and apparently senseless world is challenging.

I keep a folder of potential blog posts and started to look through that for inspiration. That’s when I came across the research from the British Nutrition Foundation (June 2017) that was widely reported in most mainstream press at the time. It contained fascinating findings on how little UK children know about how food is made and where it comes from:

  • 25% of respondents thought that cheese was made from plants
  • Nearly one in ten secondary schools pupils thought that tomatoes grew underground
  • 30% of 5-8yr olds thought pasta was made of meat
  • 22% of respondents thought that fish fingers were made from chicken
  • 28% didn’t know carrots grew underground
  • 11% thought that fruit pastilles counted towards their five a day!

I thought I would work with this because I have a strong interest in what has been happening to our food production and how distanced from it many of us have become. On the one hand it is amusing and I thought provided a playful topic, on the other hand it is serious issue that our future generations are growing up with so little understanding of their food. I thought I could create something childlike but with an underlying message.

I started collecting images that might relate to the various statistics and then worked on cutting, assembling and sticking. I wasn’t too happy with the original versions of tomatoes and cows.

I reworked these two for the final set.

I think the chicken and the reworked pasta cow are probably the most successful. The chicken was the one I had the clearest sense of in my mind’s eye before I started.