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The manipulation of photographs has a history going back to the mid-19th century when photography was born. However, the truly new art form of photomontage had a more identifiable birth shortly after the First World War when double exposures and composite images made by darkroom masking were first produced. Creativity centred on Berlin, Germany, where a group of artists known as Dadaists searched for, and found, a means of expression more meaningful than the trend of the times towards abstraction. They used used photomontage techniques in 1915 to express political dissent.

However, the movement did not last too long and photomontage faded into obscurity as surrealism swept Europe. It was not until the 1960s, when pop art enthusiasts began a revival, that photomontage made another real impact on public consciousness. The anti-nuclear movement of the 1980s later adopted montage techniques to produce graphic images for protest banners and posters.

Although photomontage was born in darkroom chemicals, it is the arrival of digital photography that has given it renewed life. The poossibilities opened up by Photoshop are limited only by the imagination of the artist. This is a long way from the earlier cut and paste techniques.Numerous internet sites now provide tools to create reasonably good montages from a selection of uploaded images.


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