An image – Hockney Style


The final brief we were given for the ‘Image’ module was to create an image in the style of David Hockney‘s collage work. For this project we needed to create a multi panel composition either indicating:

  1. A collaboration (between a minimum of three people)
  2. A journey (long or short)

Me and my colleague chose to create a collage of a journey. We came up with different ideas, mainly short and simple ones considering the time we had to finish the project.


The ideas running from the mind map which were highlighted were the final ideas we were considering to continue on to. Our strongest ideas were washing hands and the idea of the graveyard. We also found a ‘kissing’ gate which lead into the graveyard near the university, however the lighting was not a strong feature of the photographs.


We also took photos in the graveyard. Again we had a small issue with lighting. I decided it would be interesting to take a panoramic photo of the graveyard using one of the setting on my camera. Unfortunately the photo came out overexposed because of the extremely bright sky.


To take photos of each other washing hands, I first took photos from above my colleagues shoulder over a sink in the screen printing room. We chose to use the sink in the screen printing room because of the patterns of different coloured paint splatters on the wall. It would make out for an interesting photograph and collage as a final outcome. My colleague then took photos from the right side of the sink of me washing hands. She framed the photos very nicely so that the paintbrushes to the right side of the sink and the dirt up the sides could be seen clearly. Because the photos were landscape it meant we had more space to copy and paste elements of the photos. I made broad gestures with my hands so that an audience could clearly see what the image was trying to show. The soap and running water would have also helped with clearly showing the action or ‘journey’ in the photo. We considered washing hands as a small journey because of the impact that hygiene and water had on everyone’s lives in a good way. It was a small journey to feeling and being cleaner and healthier.

To edit the photos together, we used Photoshop. We followed the style of Hockney ‘s photograph collages to make our own out of the photos of me washing my hands. We used the marquee tool to take parts out of the different photographs. Because I used interesting hand actions to wash my hands we had a few slightly blurry photos which added to the sense of motion shown in the photo. The watch and red nails I had at the time made the hand gestures eye-catching. After completing the layer of collage we edited the brightness and contrast of the panels so that they differed from the photo in the background.

After completing the collage (outcome at top of post), we saved the image as a JPEG document to show to the tutor. He pointed out purposeful choices we made to make the photo more interesting, such as the left arm reaching for the soap. This reflected on the journey of becoming cleaner. Soap is of course the most significant part of washing hands. He liked the panels of the different hand gestures we had chosen to include in the outcome. Improvement he mentioned we could have made were cropping the photo to try and minimise the amount of the charcoal coloured jumper I was wearing. Otherwise he said I could have worn a different coloured shirt, such as a white shirt. The charcoal jumper made the photo look smaller and less eye-catching. Instead of taking the photos again, he also suggested replacing the colour of the jumper with a lighter colour. Because it was a dark jumper it was hard to edit out shadow emitted from it, so we stuck to cropping the photo into the dimensions of being an A3 photo, which was mentioned in the brief. At that point we also trialled switching the outcome to a portrait A3 photo instead of a landscape photo. However it took out significant elements of the photo and made the photo seem tight and poorly cropped. An improvement me and my colleague thought we could have made ourselves was using more soap to make washing hands seem fun and bubbly. This would have further portrayed the journey of washing hands.


I have enjoyed this project thoroughly because it expanded my mind as to how illegible a photo can be made by repeating parts of the image or images. This has encouraged me to want to use this style of working again in another project and even my own photos.


Author: jennifertaylorgraphics

First year student studying Graphic Communication at the Cardiff School of Art and Design

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