Sandy Mclea | Photomontage & Landscape

Mclea specialises in hand assembled gallery exhibition artworks, 3D photomontages as well as landscape and pinhole photography. He has gained international popularity as his unique style is well appreciated.


McLea’s childhood saw him travelling across an array of landscapes that eventually piqued his interest in visual imagery. Armed with an SLR camera, he began exploring the medium of photography, which led him to study at the National College of Photography, from which he graduated in 2005. His world view has inspired him to push the boundaries of creativity in interpreting and representing “what the lens sees”. At only 33 years of age, he has developed a unique visual style that defines his imagery and gives his photography widespread appeal. Panoramic landscapes and city scenes have been the inspiration for Sandy McLea to express his artistic passion in an engaging photomontage series, created over a six-year period. The series depicts scenes as varied as graffiti on the streets of Barcelona, harbours and lighthouses in Cape Town and the desolate vistas of the Karoo. The simplicity of each image belies the painstaking effort that goes into its creation. Very often Mclea takes hundreds of photographs of his subject from different parallel vantage points, subtly altering focus, perspective and exposure from one image to the next. Of these, a few images are selected for the final composition, which is then printed and laid out on a work table in his studio.  This informal grouping is spread out and lay there, often for weeks on end, before the final arrangement crystallizes in the artist’s mind. Delicate adjustments are made from day to day until he is pleased with the assemblage. Lines and subject definition are carefully overlapped and then masterfully repeated to create a rhythmic kaleidoscopic effect. Also part of the series are unique “hand assembled” photomontages, where physical prints are grouped together and glued on a backing board to create a unique three-dimensional illustration. Mclea’s latest portfolio of pinhole photography, printed on aluminium plates, is certainly his most challenging body of work to date. Using a simple hand built lens-less camera, he has photographed a series of broody seascapes on film. Prints are made onto an aluminium substrate leaving the images with a wonderful metallic feel. Varied subjects and experimental techniques are what drives his creative impression, yet he has successfully been able to deliver a defined artistic impression that is unique to him and his work.