Nadia Bettega / Pimlico Academy / Visual Literacy activities

Activity: Collage Work – Form and Photography

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How collage work alters materials, size, presentation

Materials needed:



Photographs shot prior to the session (could be a still life, portrait, environment)


A3 paper/Note Books




PowerPoint illustrating photography collages by David Hockney

Prepare talk about how the images were made, what effect it has on the final piece (e.g. becomes more abstract, how would it look on the wall, are they made in photoshop or by hand etc)

Prepare an example of this yourself in advance of the session (or get the students do the following steps in a session of their own)

Standing in one place; photographing a scene or object in pieces like a puzzle. The best way to do this is to use a fixed relatively wide angle lens, stand in one place, lock the exposure if possible or set the camera to manual so the exposure does not change and photograph the scene. Start photographing the scene at the bottom left – sweep right then move up and sweep left – and continue until the entire object is captured. Be sure to overlap your images. 

Print these images out


  1. Show PowerPoint beginning with David Hockney “Composite Polaroid”  or “Photographic Collages” works.  What sort of art works are these,  what makes them artistic, what is the subject matter, who/what is in them,  how does the form/feeling change, how has the artist made the works, are they individual or replicable pieces (one offs vs mass produced). Discuss.
  2. Divide the students into teams for 4 or smaller, distribute images that have been previously made and printed out.
  3. Students are asked to:

Recreate the scenes with the images they have received

Work together as a team and see how ‘parts affect the whole’

How can the students add their own personal touch to the collages

How can they make it more or less abstract/cubist/modern

Each group should discuss how the ‘little parts’ impact the wider photo

At the end, the students should tell a story about what the image is about and compare their images to that of their peers (as each one will be slightly different). Ideally they should be able to discuss how the collage altered the form of the photograph/s.


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