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Answering Adversity


Allaire Bartel, Team Pittsburgh

I first got the idea to use myself for this project during a very long and frustrating week, one of my worst since I moved to Pittsburgh. A few days later in one of our weekly meetings, the idea was encouraged by both my mentor and teammates. At the time, I thought that there would be a miraculous catalyst that brought the change from bad to good; it took me a few weeks and a personal epiphany to understand that that’s not how life works.

One point that should be made clear is that I do not consider myself unique. Pittsburgh is primarily one huge college town, and there are thousands of kids within a ten-mile radius, millions across the country, struggling with the same issues I am. However, I do believe that our collective point of view is unique during this period of recession. Most of us just graduated high school and moved far away from home, being abruptly shoved into the “real world.” With no experience or stability, and hindered further by the economic standstill, every day presents a lesson to be learned in the race to establish oneself in society. My final diptychs depict three universal adversities — relationships, money, and time management — and emphasize that there is not one miracle cure for the struggles in life; each situation must be evaluated independently and optimism and perspective are just as important as actions.

The diptych format shows an example of “adversity” in black and white accompanied by a hand colored photo as its “answer.” Color psychology was emphasized in my choices, and the word pairs offer insight to my personal experience and feelings on each subject.


All images in this article © Allaire Bartel