Junior Conceptual: A Junior Conceptual Project by Kathryn McClellan (2016)
Click to read Artist Statement
'Hold it in- Don’t let them see inside. Keep up the facade.'' ''Pain. Suffering. Despair. Anger. They make you think you are wrong for feeling them; you are weird. The only emotion they tolerate is peace. Happiness. They do not talk about it, do not want to acknowledge it, leaving the rest of us alone. Isolated.'' This is a response to being too emotional and open, and as a result, true emotions are withheld. This translates into the bright flower in my photograph; the perfect facade. But the real emotions don’t just go away, which is the wilted and dying flower just behind the other, just under the surface. This leads into the second set of lines from the poem, at the end when I talked about the effect of bottling things up to not feel different; it leaves you feeling alone, like no one else can understand what you’re going through. And because no one ever talks about the issue, you become further convinced that you’re the only one in the world who feels the way you do. Everyone wants everyone else to be happy and perfect, and if you aren’t, they either get uncomfortable or simply disappear until you cheer up. Or, in many cases, pretend to have cheered up. The bright flower blooms, hiding the death festering below the surface. These emotions are toxic, and cause serious damage when they are ignored.
I took my photo by placing a vase of flowers my mother had bought outside; I arranged the buds so the dying one that had been next to the blooming one was now behind it instead, and I turned the vase until the sun was directly on the blooming flower, casting shadow on the dying one. I then focused the exposure on the blooming flower to make sure that shadow was not obliterated in the final photo. I then went into Photoshop and accentuated the light and shadows I had created in the original photo, darkening and adding purple to the dying bud, lightening and adding pink to the blooming one. The most challenging part of this project for me was creating the dying effect in the edges of the petals. Nature doesn’t have too many natural lines; most flowers, including the one I worked on, die gradually. The difficulty for me was creating selections that managed to gradually fade out to the normal color so it wouldn’t be obvious I had edited it. I ended up solving this by smudging and using the dodge tool to lighten the lines of my selections, then using the blur tool to hide this. The next struggle was how to do this in a way that wouldn’t compromise the integrity of the lines that were supposed to be there. I used a small brush and only blurred what I had to, but it still didn’t end up as perfectly as I would have liked.