In the past decade, Jessica Antola has used collage both for her commercial clients and personal projects. Below, she explains why she's drawn to this medium and what it brings to her work… 

My love for creating collages stems from my fine art background of painting, drawing, and sculpture and the way in which I’ve always liked working across various mediums and incorporating different materials, forms, layers and textures. I’m known for my use of color and pattern in my photography, and collage is a natural extension of this.

I use several different approaches to collage, depending on the project. In this first example for Melissa Joy Manning Jewelry, I first created collages in-camera by layering and arranging Melissa's exquisite pieces with natural objects such as fossils, rocks, and crystals. The pieces are fragile and are not intended to stand upright on their own, so It’s a process to arrange and balance all the elements. It takes loads of patience and museum wax! 

After I shot the in-camera collages in studio, I then collaged my photographs further digitally by incorporating other images to add depth and dimension to the photographs.

I used a similar process for the more sculptural vintage jewelry images below—only these were even more of a balancing act, as they became freestanding sculptures of vintage jewelry and shells. As with MJM’s jewelry, I shot these on seamless in the studio and then collaged them digitally. 

In my latest campaign for Page Sargisson and in the fashion images I created for the boutique Bird, I sought to enhance the atmosphere and the emotions of the models. I wanted to create narratives.

The images below were also shot for Page (as part of a larger campaign). Again, in-camera I arranged the jewelry on the flowers and then collaged them digitally in post. 

Regarding my overall digital process: I add and layer images, I play with scale, I extract/cut away. Sometimes this is loose and I show the edges, and other times I’m intentionally more precise. Also, I paint and draw on the images and incorporate opacity, tones, tints, and outlines. I allow for the eye to travel around the piece and draw attention to what the client wants to show. I work and rework the images until they feel finished and work compositionally.