14 Jul 2010

Colour Relationships - part 2

Having been constrained by the difficult task of shooting photographs that comply with Gothe's colour relationship theory we have now been tasked with shooting 3 or 4 photographs that demonstrate how images that don't comply can also be 'correct'.

As an aside, this isn't the first set of 'rules' we have learned, only then to be asked to break them!  In photography, I am increasingly aware that complying to a set of acknowledged conventions is the safe path to a good picture but many brilliant photographs are achieved by breaking those conventions.  Only by learning the rules, however, can we understand what we have achieved when we deliberately go out to defy them.

This first image was taken in Shanghai, China.  The Chinese seem to have a love for large blocks of primary colour in their architecture.  They have huge estates of houses all with brilliant red roofs and then next door is a similar estate all with bright blue roofs.  It seems to be a crude use of colour and reflects an overbearing authority that dictates, rather than allowing personal choice.  Here is a classic stark orange entrance hall to a block of offices that is surrounded by a bright blue wall.  Orange is a very dominant colour and would normally appear in a smaller ratio to blue than I have shown here but I like the way it takes centre stage in the image, overpowering the blue wall although the wall is trying to hide it.  The appearance of the token tree has the effect of breaking up the line of orange and being on the centre line of the photograph adds to the symmetry.  Waiting for the girl to walk into the frame, however, has taken what might just as well have been a Lego block approach to photography and adds a little social commentary.  This is where people have to live!

This van was parked up in a New York street and is a mobile graffiti wall.  The colours look like a complete mishmash but when taking a closer look the artist has chosen 4 of the primary/secondary colours from the colour wheel and a 5th colour, green, is on the door.  Yellow and blue dominate in area and blue certainly takes the subordinate role of shadow to the bold yellow letters which is a good use for it in this context.  Red appears as a highlight to emphasise parts of the lettering and the whole area is lined with violet which acts surprisingly well in its task despite scoring the lowest on Goethe's numeric allocation.  I like the chaos of this image and the disreputable character who sits idly by, however even in chaos the colour has a purpose and a meaning.

These running shoes have three rather cute shades of violet and are surrounded by an expanse of orange.  Orange scores very high on Goethe's scale as an 8 whilst violet is only a 3.  Despite this I feel that the orange street and the advertising sign only help to emphasise the presence of the shoes.  This is partly due to the depth of field putting the background into blur and partly the lines created by the legs of the passer by.  This was no fluke as I needed those legs to add interest to an otherwise rather run-of-the-mill photograph.  It looks to me like the shoes are just waiting for those legs to walk into them and start running.  So despite the difference in colour emphasis, I feel that this combination has worked well.

I wanted to show that I am capable of taking photographs in this module that are more naturalistic and that not every shot had to include hues straight from the colour wheel.  Here is a pagoda in the gardens of a Japanese temple and the singing lady in the kimono is being accompanied by a man playing what is probably a kokyū, traditional 3 stringed instrument played with a bow.  That explained, the colours are a lovely combination of red and green, although the green is dominant in area.  This doesn't distract from the image as the red serves to highlight the performers and because of it's prominence in the centre of the image it holds its own well.  The splash of blue that the kimono gives also works well as although blue scores well below green/red the muted natural colours of the foliage give way to the more strident hue that the blue gives.  It works for me and I hope it works for you too.

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