Axel Saffran

that would have been me ... if it had shown

Although the process of creating a photomontage consistently turns out to be beyond my rational control...

...along the way I tend to start recognizing more and more visual representations of personal insights, layered amongst and blended with references to large-scale phenomena. This means the scenes depicted in my work can be interpreted in multiple ways. While working on a photomontage, I try not to gravitate toward one "meaning".

    The analogies  that can be recognised between seemingly separate aspects of reality, are the most beautiful things that I know of. They can be experienced as different layers of reality that partially merge when placed over each other and observed from a certain perspective. They can be expressed in different ways: in literature, in music... (analogous fields) One major aspect that sets my kind of visual expression apart from these fields, is that everything is simultaneously present. It might, however, take some time for everything to reveal itself.

I usually take a pragmatic approach toward most aspects of compositing. The process of making a photomontage is like channeling a stream, or rather channeling several streams in different dimensions simultaneously. It consists of perpetually making choices, and thereby imposing restrictions on the potentially unlimited array of possibillities that exist in the arena of adopting and manipulating pixels. Conceptually, by defining a theme, I create spaces in which I search for the magnetic trajectory that is in line with something deeper, which ties together elements out of inner necessity.

The way I gather the raw material for my photomontages, resembles the way traditional collage artists spent lots of time scouring books and magazines to fill their palette of images to work with. My raw material consists mainly of stock images, or found images that were obtained under a Creative Commons licence. Ocassionally I use a self-shot image or draw specific elements by hand.

You can find the credits due for photographs other than my own in my collages here.

For this website I've made my own licence:
- All images may be downloaded and shared, as long as you leave the watermark intact -

Digital Art Collages and the age of hi-fi prints

The year 2003 was the first year in which digital cameras outsold those near-obsolete ones in which you first had to put light-sensitive film, taking great care to pull as little film as possible out of the roll, as you attached the end of the strip to the little barbs on the right hand spool... No previews, no instant analyzing of the taken shot. In that same year, if you wanted to print a digital file onto something that resembled photopaper, you'd better not have too high hopes for the result to resemble a classical "C print" photograph.

In recent years, however, we have finally entered the era of hi-fi digital prints.

With the arrival in 2007 of several baryta papers for inkjetprinting, as well as Innova's award-winning Fibaprint, which uses titanium dioxide for a reflective base, the quality of inkjetprints has finally reached (and in many ways, surpassed) that of the best traditional silver halide prints. Also, the range of ways in which you can make a digital file into a physical entity, is larger than ever before... and if you want your print on paper, with today's high end inkjetprints, you can have a larger tonal range and colorspectrum than any photographic print has had ever before.

About me: I dropped out of the Rotterdam academy in a previous life, deciding to go and see the world with my own eyes. After four years of that, I returned to live in The Hague, where in those days you could still make use of reasonably well-equipped workshops at the Vrije Academie. I worked (among other things) as a sculptor for seven years... until I decided that I had to move to Thailand and live in a forest monastery for a while. Now I've moved back to my home town, Venlo, finally able to appreciate this wonderfully green minicity plus surroundings and thinking it is definitely one of the most blessed places on this planet, in terms of human habitat. My main fascination is still the global picture and its intricate workings, but now I mainly study it on a computer screen, piecing together and refreshing my personal frame of reference as I go. Late 2008, I began using a Mac with Wacom tablet and -- much maligned, but truly wonderful -- Photoshop to morph pixels until something special emerges: images in which the personal and the general merge in ways I couldn't have planned. It turns out that the principles behind phenomena in the world at large, are often identical to the principles at work in my own psyche, resulting in images that at are both highly personal, while at the same time having a wider relevance (and hopefully appeal). In recent years, I have (due to personal circumstances) not really exhibited my work in a physical setting. It can, however, be seen in all its splendour at various sites online. Make sure you view it on a large screen. You get the best deal when purchasing my art through my website. (All communication fully TLS encrypted / full money back guarantee)