A picture can lie more than a thousand words…

These days Political satire in the form of digitally altered pictures is a regular feature on blogs and in newspapers everywhere. With software like Adobe Photoshop, manipulating pictures has become possible for most of us. Before I offend anyone though, as with any creative expression – satire in particular – doing it well takes more than just technical ability of course!

The blogs of Beau Bo D’Or and The Spine feature examples of what most of us probably associate with satirical photo manipulation at the moment. Traditional cartoonists tend to look at their work with a mix of fascination, trepidation and bewilderment.
What many don’t know however, is that past ink-cartoonists like Low and Vicky also had contemporary satirists who used manipulated photographs to lampoon the political players at the time.

It’s a well known fact of course, that the likes of Stalin was fond of altering pictures in an attempt to erase political adversaries from history, but that it was used in newspapers to create cartoon-like images, was something I certainly didn’t know until recently.

I came across a Danish photographer who produced incredibly sophisticated satirical photomontages for the front page of French newspaper Marianne before and during the second world war, until the German invasion put and end to the paper.
Not only is the work of Marinus Kjeldgaard extraordinary in terms of the quality of ideas and execution, but the way he portrays the likes of Hitler, Stalin and other world leaders at the time, shows a daring satirist willing to take a very public stand against the most dangerous facist forces at a time when many others shied away.

There’s currently an exhibition of Marinus’ work at Nordjyllands Kunstmuseum in Denmark.
Accompanying it is a book by Gunner Byskov called “Karikaturtegner med kamera” (Caricaturist with camera), published by Aarhus Universitetsforlag.

A good excuse to visit Denmark, I’d say.

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One Response to “A picture can lie more than a thousand words…”

  1. PCO Procartoonists - on photomontage — thebloghorn.org Says:

    […] a thoughtful piece on the art of photoshop and photomontage here. It’s written by Morten Morland who draws for the Times, and it’s worth a […]

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