“Bully the Little Stuffed Bull” (?) posted a series of Jack Kirby photomontage panels from some early Fantastic Four issues. You can get a better view over at the Flickr page for them. Kirby’s montages, at least the ones seen here, are primarily outer space and alternate dimension type images. They foreground an alien landscape by creating a different style of image and placing the characters into it, still in their normal style.
I haven’t seen a lot of comics use this technique successfully, even though the technical ability to do this has increased enormously over the 40 years since those issues came out. In one sense the technology might be too good. If Kirby could have put high quality reproductions of those photos into the comics the contrast between the photos and the drawings might have been too great, too jarring. One does occasionally see a comic like character drawn over a unmodified color photograph, usually to poor effect.
I tried using photographs as background images for a series of pages in the “Actaeon” chapter of Things Change. The scene takes place in a supermarket after the protagonist has been hiding in his house for awhile. I wanted to foreground the bright, excessive, and almost alien nature of the market. I tried to downplay the contrast between photo and drawing by manipulating the photos in Photoshop, upping the contrast and applying some filters to abstract the photos without losing the basic content. The flat and non-realistic colors help off-set the realism as well, while adding to the brightness of a the experience.
Was it successful? I’m pretty happy with some of the pages/panels. Others not so much. Partly this is because I didn’t take the photos I used; I had to make do with ones I could find. Partly this is because it was my first attempt at this. Maybe I’ll try again in the future.