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Superimposed: A Senior Black + White High Dynamic Range Diptych by Estelle De Zan (2016)

Click to read Artist Statement
With a French father and a Salvadorian-American mother I was raised speaking both French and Spanish at home. This strange household dynamic of two cultures under one roof created friction and division, both languages eternally fighting for the top spot. The contrast of these two photographs illustrates this identity struggle. The first photograph is that of a glass of red wine, flowers, and perfume bottles laid out on a dirt path. I chose these objects to represent the notion that french culture is that of high class without its own set of problems. This is the stereotypical image most often echoed in the media despite France having its own set of flaws, what with issues of racism. The second photograph is that of an empty wooden chair that’s decorated with traditional Salvadorian paintings. Because of it’s worn out appearance, this chair is meant to represent the rich culture of Latin America. Additionally, the chair itself being empty is a representation of my past rejections of the Latino half of my identity.

To create this diptych I used the HDR photographing techniques we learned in class to emphasize the different textures in the setup. Wanting to emphasize shadows and highlights, I made sure that the composition of the shot had an interesting lighting I could work with. The next step was editing the photographs in Photoshop, customizing the settings to make them more vibrant so that they complemented each other. Cropping and vignetting tools were also used to close in on the subject, properly aligning it so that the blank space wasn’t overwhelming. Issues I encountered were that the lighting wasn’t always evenly distributed and as dramatic as I had wanted it to be. This could have been fixed if I had shot at a different time of the day.
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