David Hockney is perhaps best known for his drawing and painting, but during the 1980s he spent a lot of time exploring the camera’s ability to ‘draw’ perspective. Using a polaroid camera he built up dozens of small prints into a tile-like mosaic forming one large composite image. Several of these works included people. In this montage novelist Christopher Isherwood is talking with poet Bob Holman in a room in Santa Monica.
By including several different prints of each man within the area they occupy, Hockney makes the men seem animated. The surroundings are arranged more traditionally and so appear static in comparison. Hockney has deliberately chosen the parts of the scene which interest him and discarded the rest… giving only a suggestion of the space around these men and controlling the narrative.
I suspect this is one of those things which seems like it would be very easy to do oneself, but in reality is difficult to carry out successfully. I think it’s very clever.
“Christopher Isherwood talking to Bob Holman” by David Hockney 1983