Long before there were computers and scanners, there were paper, scissors, and glue. Collage was a matter of trimming paper from newspapers, magazines, books, and various kinds of junk paper. Cut and pasted in the best way possible, these collages used up the source materials they were made of.
Later, there were photocopy machines. Source material could be copied and saved, but only in black and white. And still later, there were color photocopiers, which could copy all kinds of colored papers and save them for use in many collages.
Eventually, computers came along. Now all source materials could be reused indefinitely at little or no cost. But the collage remains electronic and intangible until it is printed. Moreover, even the making of the collage is intangible. Cutting and pasting images on a computer screen is nothing like making a paper collage; for all the advantages of digital collage–all the effects that can be easily created in a digital collage but not with paper–the physical feel of paper collage is lost.
Here are five collages done with pasted paper, dating from before I owned a computer. Even though I can now do so much more with digital collage (both in black and white and in color), I still miss the feel of doing paper collage.