Film photographs embody the aesthetic of memories and dreams, as they are both products of the mind. I’m a bit obsessed with this aesthetic so most of my life I’ve been documenting my environments and subjects in film photography, and almost all of my work and process is based on this. I have a desire to create something greater or show something more esoteric than I feel I could with a single photograph, so I’m compelled to make new compositions from the images I shoot. The physical nature of film is my medium of choice because it’s tactile and manipulating it with my hands satisfies some primal need in my artistic process.
The final images that are printed are enlargements of very small compositions I construct by hand from the transparency film. I will photograph the same scene many times from slightly different angles, sometimes double-exposing the film, sometimes shooting details up close. I cut and collage several film images, combining and overlapping pieces to create a dream-like aesthetic. I use different tools and magnifying glasses to cut the film, then adhere the pieces on glass or acetate as I build up the overlapping composition.
When it’s complete I scan it at very high resolution and produce large scale giclée prints or face mounted pieces. With such magnification the artifacts of construction, like the glue, tape, imperfect cuts and overlapping pieces are quite visible and become a road map of the artistic process. The visual providence of the artistic process has a beauty all its own and I want the imperfections to engage viewers to look deeper and interpret what they see on multiple levels, the familiar glimpses of the subjects documented in the film as well as the remnants of the artistic process.
David Bellard is a Seattle-based artist working in film photography and video installation. Bellard’s photomontage compositions are influenced from a Venn diagram of disparate artists that use photography as a means to an end, such as Gilbert and George, Alexander Rodchenko, Joseph Beuys, Roman Signer, Derek Jarman, Hamish Fulton and Brion Gysin. Bellard exhibits his art and video installations regularly in the U.S. and around the world, and is on display in several corporate collections in the U.S. He is the founder and creative lead at Fluency Creative design studio in Seattle, Washington.