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Retreat: A Senior Surreal Photo by David Courter (2014)

For my project, I decided to make an ordinary hallway break away and turn into a water-scape. The floorboards of the hallway fade into the ripples of the lake, upon which sits a paper boat. A little girl sits on the side of the boat and dangles her feet over the side and dips her feet into the vibrant water. Over the distant mountains is a fiery red-orange and yellow-orange sky with the texture of an orange peel. I used five photographs to create this composition: a photo of shoreline for the waterscape, a photo of my hallway at home, a photo of an orange peel to create the texture of the sky, and a picture of my friend Katherine. For the first four photos previously mentioned, I used a technique called HDR, or High Dynamic Range photography; This technique is done by taking three photos at different exposures to achieve a photograph with extreme darks and lights. The result is an image with vibrant colors and extreme detail. Using Photoshop, I combined these images and used brushes to create the final product.

In creating this piece, I started out with wanting to convey a feeling of hopelessness, particularly for a child in a rough family situation. As I moved forward, I decided to focus on the comforting nature of the imagination while dealing with a difficult situation. It is for this reason that I chose a split complementary colour scheme, using blue, yellow-orange and red-orange. The blue represents to me the hopelessness that the child feels surrounded by, and the red and yellow oranges represent the comfort. I intentionally made the girl wearing blue and still having her feet in the water to show that we cannot always escape negative situations entirely. The story behind this is that of a child whose parents are divorcing. The child runs to her room and recedes into her imagination, where everything is good. Her room breaks away and she finds herself drifting in a paper boat, leaving her cares behind.
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