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Submitted by on 01/27/2016 – 6:20 pm 26 Comments

What is photocubism and what is it trying to achieve? What is David Hockney trying to achieve through his joiners? Please share links to examples.


  • Renata says:

    Photocubism, in a sense, is really just abstract modern art. It’s putting together a bunch of pictures, like a collage, but having them connect together in such a way that they form one final image. The final image could be a lot of photos of one object, at different angles, composed in an abstract way such that the original object can still be made out.

    David Hockney realized that regular photos did not fully depict the object/ situation he was witnessing. By collaging all the photos together, he felt that he was achieving a better sense of time and space than just a regular picture.

    The below link I found very interesting, as it contains many of David Hockney’s joiners.


    • Megan Rowan says:

      Photocubism is essentially a photo collage that shows the warped sense of time and or space using an interpretation of Picasso’s art style. With the added digital technology, photocubism has become a modern form of art. Inspiring many artists from Hockney to Rankin to Daniel Crooks. Many modern movie posters use the abstraction of photocubism, such as Source Code. These artist want(ed) to show the world from multiple points of views and perspectives.

      David Hockney created his “joiners” using varying numbers of Polaroid snaps that are arranged into a patchwork to make a composite image. Because these photographs are often taken from different perspectives and at different times, the result is work that has an affinity with Cubism. Which was one of Hockney’s major aims because, for him, Cubism discussed the way human vision works.

      Here are several websites that i found that have interesting Hockney “joiners” and others as well:

  • Ami Vaughan says:

    Photocubism is just how it sounds. The type of art that is photocubism is just taking photos that are the displayed visually using angles and differing perspectives in order to create an image. The “Joiners” – as Hockney calls them- creates the space in the image so that it is an apparent movement of the subject.

    Hockney created these Joiners for five years with a Polaroid camera – Pentax 110 – by collaborating different angles and views of the same subject. These creations took hours to complete. In some of his pieces (specifically Joiners that focused on rooms), Hockney saw that the viewer actually moved through the room and it created a narrative as they visually perceived these angles. Hockney ended his Joiners and started painting again, given the limitations to his artistry through photography did not satisfy his potential for these perspective arrangements.

    More on Hockney’s Photocubism and Joiners can be found on this website:

  • Lauren Kruchten says:

    The term “photocubism” essentially means joining multiple photos together to create an image, using different angles, perspectives, and forms. The art form takes after cubist paintings that Pablo Picasso created between 1907 and 1914. More recently, David Hockney took that idea to photography and started photographing settings around him through time. He would take several photos from different angles and would zoom in or zoom out appropriately. Then, Hockney would print all the photos and arrange them together to make what he called a “joiner.” Hockney believed that the joiner, “gives the viewer a better sense of space and time than any ordinary snapshot.”

    For more information I would recommend the following websites:

  • Kimi says:

    Photocubism is a style very much linked to Analytical Cubism in that it essentially takes a collection of photographs of a single subject from different angles and arranges them to create a brand new image. Through this, the style tries to create a view of the subject that incorporates multiple perspectives of how the subject in question can be seen, as opposed to a singular viewpoint.

    What Hockney is trying to achieve through his joiners is closely in line with the goals of Photocubism. Joiners, in this sense, are compositions made out of a series of photographs with similar subject matter, and are arranged to bring about a new perspective of the subject matter in question.Through his joiners, he wanted to create a new sense of space and time in a way that regular photography, photographs taken from a singular angle and at a single moment, could not achieve.

    Here is a link to a website showcasing some of Hockney’s joiners, as well as other pieces of art that he has created over the years: http://www.hockneypictures.com/photos/photos_collages.php

  • Michael Smith says:

    Photocubism is a more modern digital form of the original cubism style created by Pablo Picasso’s style of painting in the early 1900’s. It is essentially an art piece created using several digital images of one product or space, at different angles and perspectives to make one final image.

    Hockney was trying to create a new space with photographs when he practiced photocubism. Instead of looking at one photo and seeing a space, he wanted the viewer to be immersed in the space and move through it with multiple perspectives. This in a sense gave the photos and the space he was manipulating a new form and function all together.

    Here is a link with examples of his work.http://www.hockneypictures.com/photos/photos_collages_02.php

  • Emily says:

    Photocubism took the modern spin on classic cubism. Using a camera to capture a space or object in a new way, this art form allows for extreme attention to detail in certain areas to grasp new views that may not have otherwise been captured. This often can depict the image with an added sense of time and place. Hockney used incredible detail in many of his photocubism pieces. He explores the specifics of every component in the overall image creating an entirely new different experience. His photographer friends even told him it was more like painting because of the meticulous use of the collection of images he captured.

    I found this link to be quite interesting, as it talks about the different perspectives captured by cubism, joiners and multiviewpoints:

  • Tommy says:

    Mike –

    I would like to address your question by first discussing David Hockney’s joiners. In the early 1980’s, David Hockney grew frustrated with traditional photography by how lifeless photos appeared. He concluded that photos could only capture a fraction of a second and not the “true sense of events they depicted”. In comparison, drawings or paintings required careful, long study of the subjects.

    Hockney had been working with a curator from France whom was putting together a retrospective show of Hockney’s photographic work. The curator traveled to Hockney’s California home and took a lot of Polaroid photos to make his selections. After he was done, he left Hockney several unused boxes of Polaroid film. One day, as Hockney was planning a painting of rooms in his home, he took several Polaroid photographs and spread them out to make a collage of the scenes. He discovered that the collage gave the feeling as if the viewer was walking through the rooms. With further experimentation with his Polaroid, he realized that as with paintings and drawings, he could focus on some areas while ignoring other areas and arrange or “paint” with his photos to achieve interesting lines and forms. Since he placed photographs next to each other or “joined” them together, he called his collages, “Joiners”.

    Still or moving objects were subjects of his photographs for his joiners. By taking multiple photographs from different angles and at different times of the day, the photographs in his joiners could provide a feeling of time, space and motion. He believed that photos from different points of view or perspective allows you to more readily participate in the assembled scene and experience the space. The joiners of the desk in your post is a good example of how he used different perspectives to allow the viewer see the top and sides of the desk at once.

    Hockney was a great admirer of cubism and thus, the cubist appearance of joiners were very appealing to him. In both cubist paintings and joiners the artists fragmented or dissected subjects into cubes or squares and included multiple perspectives of their subject to make a collage or fragmented painting. Thus, to answer your question, Hockney was trying to achieve or capture space, time and motion by “painting” with his photographs in the cubist style. Multiple examples of Hockney’s joiners are shown on these websites.


    Regarding your question about photocubism, a definition or description of the origin of the term “photocubism” could not be found. I believe it is a term used to describe the joiners method developed by Hockney to produce works in which the cubist style is emphasized. I believe photocubism is trying to achieve a cubist style through photography. This could be achieved using a film-based photographs as with Hockney’s joiners or digital photographs that are assembled with computer programs such as Photoshop.

    Here are the sources for the information in my response:

    Hockney on Photography

    Hockney at the Tate, 1988, Produced and directed by Alan Benson, Chatsworth, CA: Image Entertainment, c2000



    Apollinaire, G., Elmert, D., & Podoksik, A. (2010). Cubism. New York: Parkstone International.

  • Ashley says:

    Photocubism is a technique within modern abstract art, particularly cubism, in which photographs from various angles create a composite image of a single subject. By doing this, the artist creates an image that has a sense of space that the viewer can move about.

    Hockney realized that a photograph was a single snapshot: a “fraction of a second, frozen” in time. By compiling photographs of the same subject to create a new image, it conveys a sense of perspective in which the viewer can maneuver about, as well as creating a sense of time, much longer than the single moment of an individual snapshot. I think he wanted to achieve this and the sense of life & movement in a photograph, much like what can be captured in a painting or drawing.

    Source: http://dangerousminds.net/comments/david_hockneys_cubist_photography

    Here are some links to some of Hockney’s work that I really enjoyed:


  • Cole Smith says:

    David Hockney’s idea for photocubism came from his frustration with photography’s ability to cheat, capturing in less than a second what takes painters copious amounts of time to achieve. He felt photos did not capture a subject in its true form, and as a result he began exploring his ideas for his “joiners”–a vast quantity of photographs arranged to portray a larger area. In short, a “joiner” is more complete than a standard photograph. It creates a more unified feel of a time and place and allows for the audience themselves to feel a part of the work.

    So, to define more clearly, photocubism consists of a group of photographs arranged deliberately to produce a variety of perspectives.

    Source: http://dangerousminds.net/comments/david_hockneys_cubist_photography

    A few works by Hockney and others I found particularly captivating:




  • Jay Lee says:

    Cubism is an abstract artform which was first invented by Pablo Picasso in the early 1900s. Picasso painted ‘broken’ pieces of a picture and put them back together again using different styles and colour palettes. Photocubism is a more modern digital form of the original cubism style. Photocubism art is created using digital images which are chopped up into pieces, then different effects are applied to each piece, and finally the pieces are put back together again. Hockney’s creation of the “joiners” occurred accidentally. He took Polaroid shots of the living room that he was working on a painting of a living room in Los Angeles. He realized it created a narrative, as if the viewer was moving through the room.

    Source: http://www.shootingfilm.net/2013/01/joiners-polaroid-collages-by-david.html

    other few sources that related to photocubism:



  • Morgan McNeill says:

    In the early 1980s, Hockney began to produce photo collages, which he called “joiners”. Because the photographs are taken from different perspectives and at slightly different times, the result is work that has an affinity with Cubism, one of Hockney’s major aims, discussing the way human vision works. He also wanted the “Joiners” to convey a greater feeling of space and time than other traditional photographs. Instead of like normal video or pictures where there is usually a single focal point the “Joiners” create an abstract story as if you were the one looking around in the space.

    Def of Cubism-an early 20th-century style and movement in art, especially painting, in which perspective with a single viewpoint was abandoned and use was made of simple geometric shapes, interlocking planes, and, later, collage.


  • Kyra Platt says:

    The patchwork style of Hockney’s “Joiners” pay a great deal of homage to cubism. The motivation to produce such images is derived from the desire to intertwine space, time and narrative. Hockney has expressed that a photograph is a single instant in time, and so, cannot express the concepts of time or (arguably) narrative. Cubism, photocubism and “joiners” all have in common that they are a more “total” vision than photographs – they express a story rather than a moment. The photographs used in these compositions were carefully chosen and constructed in a very pointed direction, to make the viewer experience the way he or she sees the world in a more authentic manner. In other words, photocubism has inherent qualities which make the viewer feel more involved in the scene by creating parallels between how the image is created and the way it is being viewed.

    Here is a great site to view some of David Hockney’s compositions: http://www.shootingfilm.net/2013/01/joiners-polaroid-collages-by-david.html

  • Christopher Smith says:

    Photocubism is a form of art derived from Pablo Picasso “emphasis on the geometrical depiction of natural forms” in cubism. Photocubism involves grouping together a series of photos with the same subject to form one final picture. The Subject is usually photographed from different perspectives as well as time of day and lighting; the subject is in often times seen as “moving” through the pictures.
    David Hockney style changed through the years, he began by taking Polaroid photographs of a moving subject to form a final grid layout picture, he would later change his technique and move the camera around the subject instead of staying static; he did this while creating a series of lithographs with a Los Angeles. As Hockney did more work through the years he moved through different mediums and upgraded his equipment which allowed him to increase the complexity of his pieces. One of his Polaroid joiners took 5 hours to complete, while his longest Pentax joiner took 8 days of photography. At the start of his career, while working on a painting of a Los Angles terrace, he took pictures of the terrace and the he glued the pictures together not intending them to become one final piece. He then realized that these photographs grouped into one final piece created a narrative and that was what he ultimately wanted to achieve.

    examples of his works:

    Pearblossom Highway (seen in the video)
    Merced River, yosemite Valley
    telephone Pole

    Resources used:





  • CeCe says:

    Photocubism is an art that takes different aspects from an image to form a new one. Usually this photo includes views from different angles of one object or place. David Hockney thought to give a new perspective to photographs to improve the viewers experience. His goal was to create a more unified feel of time and space, which he calls “joiners”. the subject of his photographs look like they are moving and create more active environments.

    Some examples:



  • Chanrica Blackmon says:

    Photocubism is the art of taking a photograph (or multiple photographs) and arranging aspects of the image to reveal the same image with more dimension. Hockney discovered that you can feel the lack of movement and space in a single photograph and began using multiple photographs to create what he calls “joiners.” These joiners take different perspectives of one image and adds depth, time, and space. Hockney believes that looking at a joiner is much more appealing than a single photograph because it is not static; you feel the movement and surroundings behind the image. It actually reminds me of the 360 cameras that are becoming popular. When watching a video or looking at an image taken by a 360 camera, the perspective of which you are viewing the video/image changes as you move the device that you are viewing it on. I believe that that technology is a result of the concept photocubism.

    Here are my resources as well as some images that I found interesting:

  • Zachary says:

    Photocubism is an artform consisting of taking multiple photos of a single subject, taken from a variety of perspectives and moments in time, and combining them into a single piece. Photocubism is inspired by the art movement of cubism, which, similar to photocubism, consisted of painting a subject from multiple perspectives to give a more comprehensive overall view.

    David Hockney’s aim in creating his “joiner” pictures was to give a better overall view of a subject than a single photograph would. Joiner pictures allowed him to give a sense of time and space to a subject, rather than the single moment in space and time captured by a normal photograph.

    Here is a link to some of his work:

  • Shae Sharpe says:

    What is Photocubism? Photocubism, is a modernized version of cubism in digital form. It is a art that is created by using multiple images of on a single subject and arranging them in such a way that provides a different effect.

    David Hockney created a version of photocubism and proclaimed his work as his “joiners.” In the 1980’s, Hockney, started using Polaroid pictures of a single subject and arranged a patchwork to make a composite image. By taking the photos from different perspectives and at slightly different times, the result is work that illustrates the way human vision works.

    Other Examples:


  • Brooke says:

    Photocubism is the art of combining photographs into sort of a collage that, when put together, make a larger picture. This can either mean that pictures are taken of details of a scene then put together, or many small separate pictures are put together.

    David Hockney is known for his photocubism style, he called these pieces “joiners”. He would take polaroids of different details of a scene or person and put them together to make the picture come together. He did this to add depth and detail to an otherwise average view. Hockney was interested in the cubist idea of odd perspectives and how things looked a bit off. This is what fueled his idea for the joiners. He would take pictures form different angles and perspectives, just to make things seem slightly off.


    Examples of Hockney’s works:

  • Ashlee says:

    Photocubism is the use of multiple photographs of everyday life gathered together to provide the viewer with multiple perspectives. Each rectangle or square is supposed to represent a portion of the whole subject or idea that is portrayed.

    It is said that David Hockney came up with this idea accidentally. According to 5election, David was working on a photography project and after taking a number of Polaroids and pasted them together and as a result he had a composition. Some of the things Hockney tries to accomplish in what he calls “joiners” is the idea of movement throughout the piece. From his observation Hockney said, “…picture came closer to how we actually see, which is to say not all-at-once but rather in discrete separate glimpses which we then build up into our continuous experience of the world”.

    Here is a link to my favorite Hockney piece:


    Source: http://www.5election.com/2010/09/05/david-hockneys-joiners/

  • Rebecca Younce says:

    Photocubism was explored by David Hockney as a way to fully experience the time and place that the photos were taken in, far better than a simple snap second photo could exemplify. Hockney in his “joiners” would take pictures where he would concentrate on certain areas while at times ignoring other areas or aspects. He would then place his selected photos on a board through the decision making process that he would use when drawing a picture. He used line and form to create an arrangement of photos, and the result would be a multi-photographic portrait. These portraits would give a better sense of time and space than normal snapshots and could be of a place or an individual.

    Photocubism as an art is when photos that are individual and separate are arranged to make a larger whole. They can either come together to create one item/place or else put together pieces of one person or item as they have moved or from different perspectives. It keeps the viewer thinking and taking in images from different angles and perspectives. It is in a way, making a painting of multiple photos! It is also a way to create 3 dimensional art out of a 2-dementional art form.



  • Chelsea Fogarty says:

    Photocubism is the juxtapostioning or joining of multiple photographic images taken in a variety of different ways (whether it be angle, distance, time of day, etc.) to form a singular image when arranged together. Each shot is taken and arranged in such a way that a different kind of image is formed than what would be seen in a singular, static shot of the same object(s). The artist manipulates the multiple photographic images together to form something with potentially more perspective and complexity than would have been possible previously with a single photograph taken with the limits and constraints one has without the use of multiple viewpoints as seen / utilized in photocubism.

    David Hockney originally created his composites or “joiners” by accident when he took a multitude of Polaroid photographs of a living room he was working to paint at the time. He placed the images together and realized that it created something unique narratively and provided the feeling of the viewer being able to move through the room. His new creations provided Hockney with a fluidity and movement to his otherwise static images. Hockney’s joiners allow the viewer a glimpse into a moment(s) from different angles, viewpoints, and captures of time all in one singular but immersive glance at one of his pieces.

    Here is a link I found to a gallery of Hockney’s joiner work:

    Here is an interview with Hockney that I thought was interesting:

  • Joseph says:

    Photocubism is a visual style in which several photos are taken of the same scene or object from different times and angles, and put into one piece. It is essentially a photo collage, in which the scene or object is given a different effect. Photocubism is used as an artistic method to change time and space to an otherwise linear photograph. David Hockney created a type of Photocubism in which he pieced several photos of one scene together in order to make a more interesting and active work. These works of Photocubism are called “joiners”, and David Hockney was trying to add more visual and meaningful depth to scenes by using this method.

    This is my favorite “joiner” –


    These are other great “joiners” –



  • Kola says:

    During a discussion with a colleague, David Hockney came to the realization that photographs did not fully capture what they depicted. He referenced Rembrandt’s portrait, and how it captured hours and hours of observational drawing. A photo captured only a microsecond of an event and did not do too well in showing the depth and character of a three dimensional work or even a Rembrandt portrait. As a remedy, Hockney took multiple pictures, selected those that conveyed the idea he was going for, and pieced them together onto a board. The creation was accidental, but he realized that his composition told a story. Hockney called the resulting work a “Joiner,” which he attributed to Cubism. Some of his works took several days to complete. His longest Polariod joiner took about 5 hours to complete.

    Photocubism is similar to Hockney’s “joiners.” In that both forms, multiples pictures are captured and arranged to form a larger composite image. According to Ben Yates, Photo-Cubism are digital prints mounted on a three dimensional structure of blocks of varying heights.



  • Susan Mykalcio says:

    Photocubism is a technique in modern art that uses many photos to create one final cubist image. Photocubism aims to warp the space and placement of the image. The photos that comprise the finale image can be static or from different angles. Depending on which one is used, there can be different effects on the final image.

    David Hockney changed the game by using Polaroid to emulate photocubism in his work. He positioned his polaroids in a gird formation. Over the years Hockney changed his technique and style. Originally his photos where static but then he started to change the angles to create more dynamic images. He realized that these different angles helped to create a story. The piece as a whole was not just an image, it was a narrative.

    This site have many examples of Hockney’s work:


  • Hunter Kenny says:

    Photocubism is a form of abstract art represented quite well by David Hockney’s photomontages that he himself refers to as “joiners”. Photocubic art is created by photographing any space or any person, place or thing – multiple times in several different perspectives (usually up close), that are then placed carefully into a larger composition that represents the original space as if it were looked at from one perspective – however does not quite line up correctly. This achieves a fairly intriguing aesthetic that creates almost a Picasso-esque view of our natural reality. I would assume that David Hockney is simply trying to intrigue people with his “joiners” and provoke them into considering what true perspective really means, and how it can be altered. His pictures may perplex, or fascinate people, but others may find these images troubling – especially with his joiners involving the faces or bodies of actual people. I believe that we humans are often drawn to comfort, safety and stability, as a natural instinct. And some of Hockney’s photocubic images of faces distorts our reality and natural perception to the point where it may discomfort or dismay some people at first glance – just like Picasso’s pieces. See what I mean in these Hockney photomontages:

    I on the other hand find these compositions quite fascinating and am excited to practice and explore this idea with my own artistry.

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