Behind the Image: NAU Guest Blogger – Taylor Tracy » You Can Sleep When You're Dead: Blog by Colleen Miniuk

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May 062015

Photo copyright Taylor Tracy

My inspiration for this photo was a two photo series that showed how men and women view themselves. The photos had a fit women looking in the mirror, seeing herself as fat, and a skinny boy seeing himself as muscular. While one was sad, the other funny, it made me think of how people see themselves can be more than just physical. Mirrors can also hold memories of the past, feelings or even what you hope the future will hold.

With that in mind I took this photo. I wanted to show the mirror showing the past or missed emotions. I wanted the person in pan or upset about something he had lost, her. I wanted to show an image of the aftermath of losing someone you love. I didn’t show how she was lost, if it was a breakup or something more dark like death. I feel it’s an emotion everyone can relate to. Everyone has loved and lost, without that love they feel ‘gray.’ This is why I put the current world of his in black and white. Usually black and white signifies the past, but in this photo I’m using color, or lack there of, as a symbol of happiness, life, and feeling. To portray that with her was when he felt alive ad happy, without her he is lifeless and sad. With this picture I want people to feel his pain and sadness and then look in the mirror to see happiness, love and joy. So maybe they will understand the phrase “it’s better to have loved and lost rather than to not have loved at all.”

For this photo I used my Canon 70D camera, set up on a tripod with a wide-angle lens. ISO 250, f14 and 1.5 sec shutter. I needed the wide angle lens because where I was shooting was in a very small apartment with only the doorway to look through onto the mirror. To take the photo I had my model stand in front of the camera in different poses till I found one that conveyed the feeling I wanted. I then set the camera to go off with a trigger. I manually focused on the mirror so that it wouldn’t change focus with the trigger. I then went into the photo to position the two in the mirror so their reflection was in the shot but they were not. In post editing I went into Photoshop for the black and white portion of the photo. I selected everything of the photo other than the reflected part of the mirror. Once selected I copied that portion and pasted it right back onto the same photo, creating a layer on top of the background. I then copied the whole photo of the ‘happy’ scene and pasted it onto the ‘sad’ photo with two layers. Making that photo have another layer I move it between the two ‘sad’ layers. Then it was simple to size the photo perfectly into the mirror to be the reflection. With the use of the tripod the mirror photo easily fits into the layers with little editing. Making the top layer black and white perfectly fit the emotion I want for this photo. With just having the top layer selected it was simple to copy and paste it onto other ‘happy’ scenes to make the editing simple and fast to choose the appropriate photo, Which is how I created this photo showing the happiness love can have as well as the pain it can, and usually does, leave behind.

About the Photographer:
I am Taylor Ann Tracy. Photography was a small hobby that came to me when I started college. I had a friend that it was his goal to become a photographer. My friend passed away from cancer and I have tried to continue his dream for him. I volunteer at an animal shelter to take photos of the animals they have up for adoption. I’m a natural photographer. I use the world around me as it is to make good photos, I don’t do a lot of setting up or trying to make things look like they’re not. I try to capture the world as it is, beautiful.

To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction at take a minute to leave your insights and constructive comments in the Comment section below – the student would love to hear from you!

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