May 3, 2017 at 6:39 pm #14141May 3, 2017 at 6:42 pm #14142
This is a trick question regarding colour. Why is the “slow down “sign on the far lamp post –black?? Image has lost its sparkle a bit in the post.May 3, 2017 at 10:20 pm #14143
I think Ian’s photograph is an interesting choice for this topic as the colours are relatively muted compared with the other photos posted. The ladies’ coat is still prominent against an almost monochrome background. It shows you don’t need strong colours for them to play an important part in the image.
I think the answer to Ken’s trick question is that the sign lights up when a vehicle exceeds the speed limit. I think the main colour in this photo is the red on the road. However, I don’t think it’s strong enough to be an important compositional part of the picture. I think the lady on the bike is. and the red supports her. Perhaps I’m missing the point?May 3, 2017 at 10:34 pm #14144
No–you are quite right Peter.May 3, 2017 at 10:52 pm #14145
Thanks for your comment, Peter. The point of the picture of the girl (apart from the centred, X-shaped geometry of the visual design) is the complementary colour palette of pastel hues – pinks versus greens. You don’t really notice it, because, as you say, the colours are so pale; but they produce a kind of overall coherence or harmony that binds the foreground and background together.
(This unifying effect was only achieved by cropping out a bloke standing under the bus shelter who was wearing fluorescent orange overalls, and by desaturating the reds and oranges of the bus signs to the left of the girl’s head!)May 4, 2017 at 6:08 am #14146
Here’s another similar idea, but this time with an “analogous” colour palette of pale blues, pale pinks & mauves, and greens. (Analogous colours are close together on the colour wheel, whereas complementary colours are on opposite sides of the colour wheel.)
(But the shoes of the girl on the right could do with desaturating a bit – they’re the right hue, but they’re too intense, and are therefore a bit distracting.)May 4, 2017 at 9:26 am #14147
I agree about the shoes. Most of the photograph contains cool colours and the shoes are a warm pink and really stand out.May 4, 2017 at 1:10 pm #14148
…And here’s one where the colour is essential to a visual joke:May 5, 2017 at 9:15 am #14149
The reds certainly have it. Would you normally convert this one to black and white?May 5, 2017 at 9:54 am #14150
Would you normally convert this one to black and white?
Oh, no – it’s definitely a colour picture: in monochrome, the reds are almost the same tonal value as the greens, and they just disappear. But more importantly, the picture isn’t about form/shape/pattern/texture, which is what gets emphasised in monochrome; it’s about colour – the joke of the man resembling the post box (or vice-versa) only works in colour.
Apart from the visual joke, the ‘picture’ job that the colour here is doing is to create figure-ground contrast. Indeed, perhaps the most routine use of colour in photographs is to give figure-ground contrast: for example, a man in a yellow suit walking past a pale blue wall – which wouldn’t work in monochrome, because the tonal values are too similar.
That’s why I said, in the piece you kindly referred to, that the colour has to be doing a job. Otherwise, the photograph is a monochrome picture (about form/shape/pattern/texture) that just happens, arbitrarily, to be in colour – and then the colour can tend to distract from the form/shape/pattern/texture, or just gets in the way of appreciating them fully. (Of course, there are photographs that are about form/shape/pattern/texture/colour – but you have to be really good at visual design and photographic technique to pull that one off with a camera. It’s much easier for painters!)May 5, 2017 at 12:01 pm #14151
Thanks for the explanation Ian. I’m starting to get my head around it now!May 5, 2017 at 6:59 pm #14152May 5, 2017 at 7:00 pm #14153
Just like thisMay 5, 2017 at 7:07 pm #14154May 5, 2017 at 7:10 pm #14155
Crewe Memorial Square– taking several images of this shot with people in various colour garbs–so yes the colour was the prime attraction. (and could feel the cctv cameras on me.)
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