r e a l i t y


“Reality” is a surreal fine art photography piece displaying the reality of global pollutants. I titled it  “Reality” because the globe in the middle is a literal depiction of the effect on our Earth from pollution, and there is a juxtaposition overall because the image is not a real scene from our Earth but a surreal depiction of Earth’s relationship with pollution. I took some pictures in Marina Del Rey as well as El Segundo and Anaheim of different factories and refineries. I then realized that I could use myself as Mother Nature, and subtly represent all things living that are affected by pollution. Once I got back to San Diego, I went down to Sunset Cliffs and hiked to the tide pools an hour before sunset. I had my twin sister use the tripod as I directed her where to shoot the pictures of me. I stood on the tide pools for a while and got a variety of pictures that were all a slightly different motion, because I knew I wanted myself to not be in a static position, but have more of a free flowing, organic feel.

After editing the pictures, I began with warping the background with the factories and refineries, and stacking them on each other to symbolize pollution going into the atmosphere and oceans. I then put the tide pools fading into the ocean in the foreground, I did this in three different sections lowering the opacity and blending them together. Then for my body I decided to create two so that I can create negative space in the center where I put the globe blending into gray. I wanted to represent on a global scale, the reality of pollution. I spherized a piece of one of my paintings in order to add a brighter element to the Earth to symbolize hope in restoration preservation on Earth. During the editing of the figures I used a lot of clone stamping and puppet tool warping in order to get the dress to extend into the ocean. I then added a gradient blend mode to the dress to the ocean. I wanted to create this essence that I was a part of the ocean as well as the sky, because the destruction from pollutants is a huge damage to the ocean and bodies of water, as well as our atmosphere.



In this piece  I was particularly inspired by jerry Uelsemann and his highly surreal black and white collages that are incredibly seamless and powerful. Ueslemann’s work peaked my interest in particular to the psychedelic mixture and feeling of his images with the highly realistic and surreal mixture of nature and people/places. I wanted to incorporate some of the characteristics of his work such as the naturalistic, surreal feelings all in a highly contrasting and vast range of black and white tones. It took me a while to truly connect with one of my ideas and when I went to the San Marcos lake where my background images are taken, I was almost lost in the beauty of the nature and for a few minutes forgot about stress, worries, obligations and anything that keeps people from stopping to appreciate the world; and that idea and feeling sparked my idea to create a surreal collage that captures that feeling of being lost within the atmosphere. For my piece I wanted there to be a chaotic and psychedelic feeling that the viewer could lose themselves in, yet not fully understand at first. I incorporated my face in a few parts of my image and warped the lake on the bottom and top in order to create a dreamlike illusion. I used many different blending modes and had my hands blend into the lake by using the gradient tool. I worked a lot with Puppet warp and blending modes and drop shadows in order to try and connect the reality and surrealism of the composition.  Overall this surreal photographic collage embodies the idea of slowing down and connecting with the atmosphere around us, which so many people do not either have time for or do. We are only on this earth for so long and it is important to stop, connect and appreciate it.