Wednesday, 20 July 2022

Paramontage analysis: 'The trumpets'

In this post I’m going to talk about the development of a paramontage made initially in May but revised this month. I had two versions of ‘The trumpets’ printed and I’ll start by showing the first version. 

I chose ‘The trumpets’ because it seems quite successful with the secondary images down the left side being larger than the ones down the right side. In my paramontages I normally privilege one photo above the others, in this case it’s the main photo is the house with the chimney and a garden with a flowering tree in it. In this layout the house occupies pride of place, stretching from the middle of the piece right down to the bottom. 

To the left of this photo you can see buildings including more houses but they’re smaller photos. Even though they’re smaller because they’re twinned they have a strong presence, and I also put in two photos showing a road because cars are a secondary theme in the paramontage against the idea of housing. The poem that goes with these images is, as follows.

Do you hear, comrades? Anarchy redounds
on each peak, in each valley and each croft.
Here’s our answer. A posse feints its rounds.
Hung on pennants people’s hope’s wrought aloft:

the King and Christ! A Constitution, now –
on a Dagger pointed at arbitrary rule’s
dark Heart, in opening my eyes I vow
to mimic the righteous, History’s fools,

who emerged in recent times from the Womb
of America, of Spain, and of France.

Recalling the martyrs of Greece and Rome
we march valiantly, our horses prance

and Glory gives her countenance to greet
the beggars who stand waiting at their feet.

This sonnet is consciously copying an old style, in fact it points back to the 18th century with its earnestness and enthusiasm, or even, indeed, to the 19th century, a time when revolution in Europe was in the air. I wanted to put the poem next to photos showing factories and houses and cars because it’s a very masculine story.

Below you can see the second layout.

To achieve this new look I made the poem bigger and stretched its backing box across two of the photos on the right-hand side: one shows a tree in a garden and one shows a tree in the street. Trees perform a major role in this paramontage, because like pipes and telephone lines they’re full of conduits, and looking after such equipment is normally the province of men. I wanted to show how the revolutionary impulse of 200 years ago has been channelled into property markets, where men with families own homes, often more than one, in a prosperous community.

I’m much happier with the second layout because it’s more open, the poem has room to breathe whereas in the first version it was a bit cramped by the photos on the right-hand side of the piece.

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