reflectionswho am i

The purpose of this integrated Reflections Project is begin to learn communication techniques and skills to explore and answer the question of "Who am I?" in various mediums using a variety of modern professional equipment and applications such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Animate, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Avid Pro Tools, Apple Final Cut Pro, Propellerhead Reason, and Google Apps.

In English, we read the Citizen and created a listener lyric based on the book. We also wrote a personal essay. In Design, we created a black and white diptych using HDR photography. In Digital Media, we learned JavaScript to create this website and created two videos, "Things I've Learned So Far" and the Perspective Video.

The goals of these projects from all my classes personally helped me grow as a person and digital artist. I learned to explore myself through my writing, videos, and artwork.

Personal Essay

I wrote a Personal Essay in English about my web application, Da Schola, and how I am always eager to solve issues in society. This essay will be used as a part of my University of California College Applications as well. It is one of the projects I am most proud of in my high school career as well.

Click here to view my personal essay.

"Things I've Learned So Far" Video

In Digital Media, I created a short animation using Adobe After Effects of the "Things I've Learned So Far." I had to use kinetic typography and multiple images to reflect these things as well. These definitely align with my own values and make me who I am today.

lyrical essay

In English, after reading Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric we were required to emulate one of Rankine's shorter pieces through interviewing a person who is distinctly different from you in an identity category. I noticed that Rankine uses section breaks and sometimes single pages, often dominated by white space, to organize the book into shorter personal and historical experiences which accumulate over the course of the reading. Often relying on the second person (“you”), Rankine employs a writing style that delivers these experiences to the reader with personal, present-moment immediacy in order to promote empathy. I chose to interview my mom, who has a different national origin than me, as she grew up in India.

From the Saris to the States

The traffic is an organized chaos and you’re in the midst of wandering people and animals. Clouds of smoke obscure your path, but at least you weren’t stuck at the train station like during monsoon season. You long for a better education, a better lifestyle--what’s out there for you? It’s time for you to travel to the “land of opportunity.”

She asks you why you wear a red dot on your forehead and if your people are not fond of having daughters. Did she really just say that? You know the reasons behind your culture, but you were never told to think of yourself any less than a boy. You were the first woman engineer in the family and money did not stop you in your education and upbringing. You are worth more than being sold to marriage and chicken tikka masala and saris.

But, that doesn’t matter. Age doesn’t matter here and you got your Master’s degree at age forty-two when you could have been a housewife with a low paying job back there.

You might not have much of an immunity to water in your homeland, but you take ownership of your culture. Basha, bhushan, and bhojan. Language, dress code, and food. You keep your native language in the family by teaching your children to to read, write, and learn it. You go to the temple every Sunday and show off your brand new sari and you cook spicy vegetarian dishes daily.

You know you’ll go back one day with your children to show them what you lived in. The traffic may no longer be an organized chaos and just chaos with nothing to see on the road because of the pollution. Maybe, it will be your new “land of opportunity.”

From writing this Lyrical Essay, I definitely enjoyed emulating Rankine's work and listening to my mom's stories back in India. It gave me a different perspective on life and allowed me to empathize with her more. As an immigrant, she gave up a lot back at home and without her I would have had a different experience growing up in India.

black + white HDR

In Design, we had to create a black and white diptych juxtaposing two images that are in discord and/or harmony using a piece of writing in English. An HDR image is commonly made by taking three photos of the same scene, each at different shutter speeds. The result is a bright, medium, and dark photo, based on the amount of light that got through the lens. Adobe Photoshop then combines all the photos to bring details to the shadows and highlights both. The inspiration for my HDR Photography was an essay I had written in English and I think the left side of my diptych describes myself today, but also makes me complex as a person.

Click here to view my HDR Photography.

Artist Statement

My diptych is about the darkness of competition, especially in the Silicon Valley. The left side of my diptych features a bouquet of orchids, which represents youth and life, staring into a mirror and reflecting upon itself. The flowers represents myself and how I am reminiscing of how I used to have a sense of self appreciation and individualism. Here, the focus is on striving for our personal best, rather than on competing with one another. The second side of my diptych shows the corruption in education and displays a scissor cutting through a measuring tape. Although these school supplies are common, when put together it symbolizes the destruction of knowledge. Because of the harsh standards in society, I believe that the emphasis on grades creates a cutthroat environment, which threatens goodwill among students. The purpose of education has been molded into competing with one another to be the best. I hope to be the “flowers” on the left side, instead of the “scissors” on the right side. I try to make independent decisions about my academic life, based on the integrity of those decisions, instead of on what anyone else is doing. I believe that I should be a contributor instead of a destroyer, but I am also caught up in the darkness of competition.

To create my composition, I took multiple exposures of a scene and combined the best light from each exposure into one image using Adobe Photoshop. I used this platform to further edit my photo using Levels and Curves to achieve two black and white HDR photos. Then, I placed both images side by side in one photo to juxtapose them. I struggled to add depth to my photo, while making it black and white and had to play with the brightness and contrast a lot. Even though I used a tripod, several merged photos turned out blurry. If I could change something, I would attempt to photograph at five exposures, instead of three to get more depth in my HDR photos.

This is a picture of my Photoshop window during the process of creating my diptych. I had to edit this image as a Raw file in black and white after merging a series of photos.

perspective video

In Digital Media, we had to use Adobe After Effects to create a Perspective Video on any topic of my choice. I chose to talk about the darkness of the Silicon Valley. I am definitely caught up in this darkness because I am the type of person who takes multiple AP classes and extracurriculars, instead of giving time to myself to enjoy.

Coming from the competitive Bay Area, we are often told to compete with others and make the best of our educational experience. However, this comes with a price. We often indulge ourselves in activities to put on our college applications, instead of enjoying our time in high school.

This is the Adobe After Effects interface that I used to create my video. In this unit, we used kinetic typography, motion graphics, audio, photographs, 3D space, and a variety of effects.