Darkness of Competition: A Senior Black + White High Dynamic Range Diptych by Aashia Mehta (2016)
Click to read Artist Statement
My diptych is about the darkness of competition, especially in the Silicon Valley. The left side of my diptych features a bouquet of roses, which represents youth and life, staring into a mirror and reflecting upon itself. The flowers represents myself and how I am reminiscing of how I used to have a sense of self appreciation and individualism. Here, the focus is on striving for our personal best, rather than on competing with one another. The second side of my diptych shows the corruption in education and displays a scissor cutting through a measuring tape. Although these school supplies are common, when put together it symbolizes the destruction of knowledge. Because of the harsh standards in society, I believe that the emphasis on grades creates a cutthroat environment. The purpose of education has been molded into competing with one another to be the best. I hope to be the “flowers” on the left side, instead of the “scissors” on the right side. I try to make independent decisions about my academic life, based on the integrity of those decisions, instead of on what anyone else is doing. I believe that I should be a contributor instead of a destroyer, but I am also caught up in the darkness of competition.
To create my composition, I took multiple exposures of a scene and combined the best light from each exposure into one image using Adobe Photoshop. I used this platform to further edit my photo using Levels and Curves to achieve two black and white HDR photo. Then, I placed both images side by side in one photo to juxtapose them. I struggled to add depth to my photo, while making it black and white and had to play with the brightness and contrast a lot. Even though I used a tripod, several merged photos turned out blurry. If I could change something, I would attempt to photograph at five exposures, instead of three to get more depth in my HDR photos.