Marriage (Film Portrait Collage) XXXI
Beauty in Destruction
Stezaker has always had a destructive side; he used to cut up and deface books as a child. With his collages, he mixes violence and beauty. “Images in charity shops are like orphans,” he told the British Journal of Photography. “They’ve lost their context or culture, they’ve gone a little bit out of date. They’ve been neglected and overlooked for years and people have passed them by, then suddenly here I am, the alternative foster home, but unfortunately I then inflict terrible abuse down in the basement where I cut them up.”
Forgotten Performers, Familiar Poses
Stezaker prefers to work with pictures of forgotten performers in common scenes and poses. The shots’ generic nature allows them to evoke a sense of familiarity, yet the subjects’ anonymity prevents celebrity from overshadowing the effect of the combined image. “The moment you recognize a face, it disrupts the picture,” he has said.
Two Faces, One Photographer
A retrospective exhibit at Whitechapel Gallery two years ago earned Stezaker the prestigious 2012 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize, which is given to the person who has made the most important contribution to European photography during the past year. Stezaker doesn’t take photographs, but he defends his place in the discipline: “When people say I’m not a real photographer,” he told the Guardian, “I tell them I work with the medium, rather than in it.”