Surreal Black And White Analog Photo-Montages By Thomas Barbèy

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Thomas Barbèy grew up in Geneva, Switzerland, across the street from the “Caran D’ache” factory, the largest manufacturer of art supplies. He started drawing seriously at the age of 13, using black “encre de Chine” and gouaches for color. His influences were Philippe Druillet, Roger Dean and H.R. Giger.

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After living in Geneva for 17 years and designing posters for musical bands, he decided to move to Italy. Thomas lived in Milan for 15 years making a living as a successful recording artist, lyricist and fashion photographer. Today, he resides in Las Vegas and travels the world, taking his camera wherever he goes.

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Thomas has been a photographer for over twenty years now and prefers to use his old Canon AE1s when he shoots in 35mm or his RB67 when he shoots in medium format. More recently, he has been doing Black and White Photomontages for the sole purpose of doing Fine Art, without working for a specific client. He’s combined several images taken over a period of twenty years to create surreal situations with the help of the enlarger in a dark room. His work has a specific style and is very characteristic. He only works with Black and White, including Sepia toning at times. Thomas exhibits in galleries throughout the world and is included in many private collections.

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“The inspiration for my work comes from many years of traveling all over the world, everyday life, and from some of my favorite artists, such as Rene Magritte, M.C. Escher or Roger Dean. I bring my Mamiya RB 67 or several old Canon AE-1s wherever we go to shoot my photographs.The process of my montage starts with concept. It is then followed by the exposure and selection of the negatives. The design is then created by carefully choosing printing procedures as combination printing; sandwiching negatives together; thereby printing them simultaneously; pre-planned double exposure in the camera; the re-photographing of collaged photographs; and/or a combination of the above.”, Thomas says of his work.

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“I sometimes retouch and/or airbrush the collages before re-photographing them from above with a special contraption to hold the camera in place. I then make a master negative to make a limited edition of prints. Although constantly asked about how I do them, I would like to think that the pictures can be appreciated without any real knowledge of their technical virtuosity. The visionary inspiration and imagination is not a technical skill learned in school but rather to my personal belief, a gift from God. This is the only way I can explain the source of any idea I may have during the creation process.”, he added.

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