Thomas Barbey’s Photomontages

Thomas Barbèy was born in Connecticut in 1957, he was brought to Europe from the time he was six months old. Helived in Italy and Germany, and then moved to Switzerland where he lived for 17 years.He spent a semester at the University of Geneva, but left to pursue a career in the music industry. He found success on the Italian music charts and subsequently moved to Italy where he remained for 15 years. During this time he focused on his music career while photography remained a hobby.By the early 1990s he owned his own fashion photography studio.
In 1995 Barbèy moved back to the US.He now lives in Las Vegas with his wife and business partner, Suzanne.He creates his images through a process he calls “photomixage”. His work is inspired by artists such as M.C. Escher and René Magritte as well as many years of traveling the world.His process begins with a concept, then creation and selection of negatives.Photography is a tradition in Barbèy’s family and he sometimes uses old negatives from the family archive in his work.To achieve the desired outcome, negatives are double exposed in the camera, sandwiched together to be printed simultaneously, collaged and re-photographed, and/or any combination of those processes.

Artist Statement
The inspiration for my work comes from many years of traveling all over the world, every day life and from some of my favorite artists, such as René Magritte, M.C. Escher and Roger Dean.I carry my Mimiya RB-67 and several old Canon AE-1s wherever I go to shoot my photographs.

The process of my montage starts with a concept. It is then followed by the exposure and selection of the negatives to be used.The design is then created by carefully choosing printing procedures such as combination printing; sandwiching negatives together, thereby printing them simultaneously; pre-planned double exposures in the camera; the retouching of collaged photographs; and/or a combination of all the above.I sometimes retouch and/or airbrush the collages before re-photographing them.I then make a master negative to print a limited edition.Although I’m 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.