My photography class began learning how to combine multiple photos into one, and our teacher gave us a project to create a composite image. Initially, I had planned on making some sort of digital photo collage by using Photoshop to crop multiple pictures and paste them onto a single canvas. But once my teacher showed the class more examples, I realized I wanted to produce a piece that featured a double exposure. I had been familiar with Photoshop and similar applications for over six years, and I needed to challenge myself.
There was always something about double exposures that held my attention. I only had a vague idea of how to make one digitally, so I went to the same source that first taught me how to digitally edit images – Youtube. In the ‘Related Videos’ section of one tutorial I viewed, I saw a thumbnail of cherry blossoms overlaid on a woman’s hair, and I instantly thought of one of my good friends, Jessica, who had recently dyed her hair a beautiful, electric blue-green. I asked her to be my model for the assignment.
The idea for Iceberg came to me as more of an afterthought. I had already finished the piece I intended to use for my project, but I wanted more practice in digitally double exposing photos. Iceberg began to manifest when I started browsing through the extra photos I had taken of Jessica. During the photoshoot, I was able to get the shots I needed for the project faster than I thought, and on a whim, I posed Jessica leaning forward and looking down, and fixed her hair to cascade like a waterfall.
My aim was to use Jessica’s hair to help convey the complexity of the mind. Ultimately, I decided to merge her photo with an iceberg – playing off of the idea that our demeanor and the words we speak are often just ‘the tip of the iceberg’ in that the human psyche serves as a vast vault that we fill with memories, accumulated thoughts, and parts of ourselves that we choose to keep private.
Since it’s quite difficult to capture a stunning image of an iceberg in sunny San Diego, I had to pull one off google; I selected one that fit almost perfectly over Jessica’s hair. I still wanted some strands to be visible through the iceberg, so I used the dodge tool to enhance the edges of the hair and make the portions that became the shadows more pronounced.
I was pleasantly satisfied with how Iceberg turned out, and also presented it to my teacher along with my main double exposure. Evidently, he ended up liking it.