Pain vs. Growth: A Senior Black + White High Dynamic Range Diptych by Ian Baxley (2016)
Click to read Artist Statement
I wanted to create a contrast between pain and growth. For my photo representing pain, I showed a lollipop in a field of rocks. I chose a lollipop as it is something doctors and nurses give children after they had been injured. The rocks are a reference to the phrase, “sticks and stones may break my bones…” again, making people think back to pain. For growth I had a picture of a gardening shovel partly buried in soil. You use a gardening shovel to help grow plants. Although there are no plants in my photo, the soil and shovel represent the ability to grow, which mirrors my essay about me growing, but not quite blossoming yet. It also can create the illusion of a shovel growing from the soil, which can be seen as ironic and humorous, making it more lighthearted than the pain photo.
To create the photos, I first created the subject matter. I stood a lollipop in a pile of stones, and half buried a shovel into some soil, respectively. The photos are also HDR photos, meaning each one is five photos, all at different brightnesses that are combined together in Photoshop in order to get greater depth of light and shadow. In Photoshop, I turned both photos into grayscale, then boosted the whites and blacks to create more contrast in the photos by using eyedrop tools to find very white whites and very black blacks in the photo. This boosts highlights and shadows in the photo. I also created an S curve in colors to again, make contrast and thus, make a more visually appealing work. All of this was done using adjustment layers. Finally, we cropped the Photoshop files to be put together into one photo, which is the final product you see now.