I've been interested in photography since taking a course back in my college days. It was the only time I did actual darkroom work and though I enjoyed it I'll leave that to dedicated photographers. I'm a primarily a painter but I also enjoy working with photographs. After that course I took up the habit of taking snapshots and of shooting reference pictures for my artwork when called for. This lead to me having a big pile of pictures that weren't good enough for me to stick in my photo album but had some interesting parts to them. Next I saw a television show on David Hockney's photo collages. He would take overlapping photos of a subject and paste them together to form a large picture of that subject. He was certainly not the first artist to do this but his photos dealt with a sense of space and time like others (at least that I know of) hadn't. Inspired, I grabbed my camera and took some overlapping pictures to mess around with. In messing around I found that in piecing the pictures together I seemed to always create a cubist sense of space. By that I mean whenever I put two overlapping photos next to each other they didn't line up perfectly, which is to be expected, but created a shallow bending of space like in a cubist painting. I kept coming to this cubist space conclusion which I wasn't interesting in working with (Hockney does it much better) and I never wanted to work with a sense of time (Hockney does that better too). So I turned to my pile of cast off pictures and my sense of modernist geometric space (think Mondrian).
I start a photograph by picking out my main images and seeing how they play against each other and what sense of space do they create. Will it be a literal space where it looks like the photos are on the same stage? Will it be a photo with a deep sense of space next to a photo with a shallow sense of space? Will I flatten everything out like a Modernist painting? These are the questions I ask myself when starting out a photo. Surface is one of my favorite parts of painting but that manipulation of surface is lacking from photography. So I turn to texture. I use pieces of the photos I stockpiled just for their texture and color. I cut them to the size and shape that influences the whole as I want it. Keep in mind there is also somewhat of a surface to these photos because some pieces are pasted directly on top of others. The photo can be two or three layers thick in some places. I'll use thin strips of a photo to sweep color and texture across the image and to connect different areas of the picture.