Is It Clear? cant tell: A Senior Black + White High Dynamic Range Diptych by Christien Skousen (2016)
Click to read Artist Statement
On the one side of my diptych was the race track. On the other side was a pair of crumpled pants strewn on the floor. On the race track, it shows the number 9, but upside down, so there is ambiguity to which one it is. If one could clearly see the other numbers, than maybe discerning it would be clearer, but the other race track numbers are out of focus. Even with all of its straight lines and order, the fast and sleek race track is just as confusing as the distorted, crumpled, messy pants. Things that are messy don’t always make sense. Things that are clear don’t always make sense. Even when all is as it should be, a race can be as futile as the slovenly attitude of throwing things on the floor. Even as we try to put life to order, it pointedly stays confusing. The pants show the after effects of someone passing through; after being done with them, they were discarded on the ground. The track shows the flat path ahead, ready to be run unburdened by the heavy and cumbersome pants no long draped across the protagonist’s loins. But even with these acute differences, at the end of the day, they are more the same than anything else.
I took the HDR pictures, then had a lot of fun grading it into black and white. I did a ;pt of layer work in Photoshop, and reversed many of the values, as well as homogenizing them and also making them more erratic. I waited until sunset for the pants, and I took the racetrack early in the morning. I went through and extensive process of finding different angles and proximities to take the pictures, and it was interesting seeing how the various leading lines I used changed and flattened as I got closer to the earth. One issue I encountered was that during the time frames when I wanted to get my shots, people were all over the place. It was difficult to take an HDR photo of the track, because joggers kept on crossing the shot.