Poof: A Senior Black + White High Dynamic Range Diptych by Payton Millet (2016)
Click to read Artist Statement
This project stems from my listener lyric project in English, which in turn came from a conversation with a transgender friend of mine. He opened my eyes to the invisibility and claustrophobia that transgender people can feel in the world. .The first picture in my diptych is meant to represent the feeling of societal invisibility. The ghosting effect in this picture actually occurred by accident, as I didn’t expect the subject of my photo to move during the three picture HDR process. However, I ended up thoroughly enjoying the result, and finding it rather fitting to the concept that I attempted to convey. I want the viewer to feel empathy for the subject of the photo, for how she finds herself more and more helpless as she disappears into nothing, and is systematically ignored. She becomes a ghost, as she is less and less noticed. The second photo of my diptych deals with the feeling of being trapped, which often comes hand in hand with feeling unseen. The imagery of a flower stuck behind a fence is meant to evoke a sense of longing, as the subject did not meet its true potential . The way that these photos play together is to convey a simple message, that disappearing from the world is gradual, and once the process is complete you are stuck with a people that can’t see your true potential.
In terms of editing, not much was done to the first photo, as again, the ghosting effect was achieved in camera. I boosted highlights, as well as the shadows, to enhance the wispy, ghostly nature of the photo. For the second photo, I played with increased contrast. I wanted to accentuate the difference between the sheer white flower, and its stark black surroundings. I felt that this was the best way to make the subject of the photo feel lost in its environment. In general, I attempted to capture a feeling of unease from both sides of the diptych. There are two subjects that are unwelcome, or that don’t belong in their surroundings.