Collectively developed by the Berlin Dada group, photomontage is a variation of collage in which pasted items are actual photographs or photographic reproductions culled from the press. The appropriation of the mass media provided endless fodder for the dadaists scathing critiques, and the disjunctive cuts of photomontage effectively captured the fissures and shocks of modernity. Substituting scissors and glue for brushes and paint, and calling themselves monteurs (mechanics) rather than artists, the Berlin dadaists employed photomontage in their radical assault on traditional art.
Artists outside of Berlin also experimented with the new technique. In Cologne, Max Ernst frequently used military photographs as source material for photomontages. Pasting together images of planes or bombs with humans, he created haunting machine figures that reflect the destructive capacity of the new technologies used in World War I.