Photographic Montage II

20/11/12 – Montage Cross

Once I had attached all of the photographs, I had suddenly realised I had created a montage of a Cross, which was quite peculiar considering I am not religious. Over the past eight to nine months I had studied the way the skull and the cross is represented in the Mexican Day of the Dead Celebration. From visiting many Mexican restaurants and local retail / boutique stores around Melbourne, the cross must have been ingrained into the back of my mind. The Day of the Dead also reflects elements of Catholicism and the cross is another important symbol within the celebration; that usually features colourful and decorative patterns.

So once I had created the cross, the montage itself did remind of both European and Mexican representations of death. While the face paint I had used for the photographs reminded me of the Mexican sugar skulls, the montage also reminded me of Western / European symbology. The photos were distorted with cello tape, water and black paint that featured a very interesting composition with the clear, glossy photographs that I had also pinned to the wall.

The cello tape also provided another reflective surface and the artificial lighting also highlighted the different angles, shapes and compositions within the photographs. To me personally, the photos reflect a morbid, distressed version of the Mexican Day of the Dead that is normally associated with colourful and vibrant decorations.

In a way I have achieved my goal that I had at the start of the year, I have provided a Western interpretation of the Mexican Day of the Dead and the hand crafted skulls, it’s amazing to see the way black & white can altar one’s own perspective of the photographic image.

At one stage viewing all the photographs of myself was quite disturbing and haunting, I suddenly began to imagine what happens after death, I began to question what will happen to my own body after death? Will I suddenly disappear and disintegrate into the ground, will I travel to the after life, will I travel through the different levels to reach the land of dead? The thing is, I’ll never really know, there are so many different possibilities.

After this particular realisation, I had also discovered that I had also achieved another goal I had initially planned, distorting and manipulating the surface of the photographs does invite me to contemplate upon my own death and mortality. There isn’t a specific meaning or explanation, although this is what the cross means to me.

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