Background 1920s 1980s Present Day

Peter Kennard has spent most of his life in London, and has been considerably more involved than most in the capital's political gatherings during the last 25 years.

As a young artist he was a painter, much influenced by the "intense and merciless" etchings of Goya. Dissatisfied with painting's lack of immediacy, he took up photomontage for its ability to show the "unrevealed truth" behind the image.

His two major subjects quickly emerged: armaments and poverty. This was the early eighties with 3 million unemployed, Thatcher in her first term girding her loins for the Falklands War, and the CND at the height of its popularity. Kennard had an audience.

For the next few years his images were everywhere. A series of touring exhibitions took his work into the galleries, but it was on the streets of Britain and Europe where they had maximum impact.

"The point of my work is to use easily accessible iconic images, but to render them unacceptable. To break down the image of the all-powerful missile....after breaking them, to show new possibilities emerging in the cracks and splintered fragments of the old reality."

His belief at this time was that photomontage had the power to show the causes rather than the results. In recent times however, he seems to have had his doubts: "There is a problem with montage in that you see it everywhere now because of digital technology. There is so much transformed imagery around that people accept constructed images without questioning their meaning. I think my work was losing impact because of that."

As a result Kennard has devoted himself more to his teaching (he is now Senior Lecturer in Photography at the Royal Art School where he was a student) and to returning to his first love, painting. But he has not by any means given up his political activism: he regularly turns up at the London Stock Exchange with a barrow full of images and sets up an impromptu exhibition in the street, much to the consternation of passing stockbrokers.

Further information about Peter Kennard
can be found on his website:

A 35 minute video that he made with
Chris Rodrigues and Ron Stoneman can be seen here:

Photomontage Today Video

Olympus digital camera reviews and prices


Peter Kennard



Defended To Death