Optimistic Realist by Jessica

I’ve always floated through life with my head above the clouds, and I’ve always seen myself as a cheerful idealist. But recently, I’ve come to appreciate the necessity of a good slap in the face to drag me back down to earth. In light of that, I’ve worked to create a new self: an introspective adult whose function is to navegate reality. Unfortunately, my idealistic self is often reluctant to cooperate with this new self, because I still struggle to come to terms with the idea that too much optimism and trust can go wrong. I understand this cognitively, but I have yet to apply it internally, which means that I often feel myself getting tugged in two different directions at once. It will most likely be a lifelong struggle for me to try to figure out how to fuse these two selves together, and how to find a healthy balance between optimism and reality monitoring. But at least optimistic me will never stop trying. :)


In Between


Aaron: This is such a strong image; I think it illustrates the concept well. The poses work well and evoke what you’ve described. I’m not sure how to read the setting, though if I were to take some license I’d look at it as if your optimistic self was more “natural” and attempting to free itself from the more firmly planted self that wants to continue on down the path we see in the frame. I wonder if, compositionally, the road could have been used as part of the narrative more. Additionally, I notice that “reality” self has her feet cut out of the frame and I wonder if seeing them would further emphasize the notion of floating vs. being firmly planted on the ground. One additional thought, I feel like this could have been processed somewhat differently – the highlights have a red tone to them that I think clashes with the predominantly green scene and also takes away some of the contrast of the red dress. Not sure if it was intentional or a byproduct of adjusting the colors, but this could be altered pretty quickly using Photoshop’s curves tool. But I really love this image – is there a reason you chose a square frame? A landscape showing more space might add drama to the spirit trying to escape. As is it looks like “reality” self is winning!

Amanda: I absolutely love your image, but I’m even more amazed that you did all of this in about one day! There is clearly so much thought behind the image which I really appreciate – the outfits, the poses, the photoshopping, even the fact that the creative spirit is wearing no shoes! I can only imagine how many shots you had to take to get these photos yourself & how many times you had to jump up and down to get your body framed the right way, but it was all worth it in the end. To make this photo even stronger, I would be careful with the highlights getting too blown-out. It’s also quite difficult to do, but it would be great if the lighting could look more natural between the two selves rather than looking stitched together. However, I think the stitching does look very natural for the most part & I’m very impressed!

Jacquelyn: This is one of my favorite photos from this project! I love how you distinguished between your two different personalities, while highlighting that both are never separate from each other; the hand-in-hand pose underscores that though you are grounded, you never stop soaring to new heights (pun unintended) and keep your goals in check.
Two aspects of your photograph that I really appreciate are the setting and your outfits! The bridge is a clever location to use. To me, it signifies that there is one direction to go. While your day-to-day self knows to follow the set path, your idealistic self wants to cater to life’s curiosities and distractions. Your outfits also matched the two personalities you conveyed; black and white signified rationality and right vs. wrong, while coral/red was more free-spirited and lively. Great work!

Khatiti: I absolutely looove this photo! Everything detail seems to have been clearly thought out and all of those details work together to deliver a message about yourself. I feel like this image needs no words or explanation, it says so much on its own. Both the composition and the editing of this photo are on point, it looks seamless and so beautiful. I love it!

Mary: This is a really strong image. You can tell, even without the artist statement, that this focuses on the idea of struggling between two selves. The details were handled really nicely: The poses of the two selves, the colors and types of clothing, the hair styles, and expressions all really lend themselves to the dichotomy of these parts of you and the different personality traits each ‘you’ represents. I am curious about the environment you chose, and if there was any particular significance or reason behind it. Also, I was curious about the dimensions. Square formats are particularly difficult for forming an interesting composition, and you don’t see them often–although instagram has changed the frequency that we see square photos. My only real critique is that I wish I could see your feet for the ‘grounded’ you. In general, it’s a good rule to make sure you don’t crop out small pieces like feet, or parts of heads, but I think it would really strengthen the metaphor if you could see the part of you that’s trying to stay level-headed and “grounded” actually ON the ground. Other than that, this is a really well thought out and executed photo.

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