Sunday, 31 January 2016

The Prompts - Responding to and writing about images "Colour".

You have a been issued throughout the year a number of prompt sheets in conjunction with your work. One of the key things you need to do is learn about the work of other photographers through your research. One of the main things you have to do is make sense of the images... analyse and deconstruct them as a part of this process.


Much of the photography you look at will be designed e.g. the photographer will make conscious decisions about the colour, whether they want the colour to be muted or vibrant, obvious or subtle. In other situations they may not have a great deal of say in the colours that appear in the image whether in foreground or in the background, but colour has the ability to ruin and image or make the image, so is a very important aspect of the image.

When you're looking at the photography that you're researching one of the easier things to discuss in your work and make sense of and critique is the colour. It helps if you have some background knowledge of how colour is used in Art generally and if you're looking at attain high grades it may be worthwhile doing some re-capping on basic principles in painting and colour psychology. Look to at how colour is perceived in other cultures and the significance of colour in other cultures.

Some of the questions you address in your analysis of the images you research might include the following...

If the image is a colour image - consider whether it would be improved by making it black and white? Think about what B&W images convey to the audience - why do people make black and white images or convert colour images to B&W sometimes? This has been discussed earlier in the year during your early visual language lessons.

Image result for photographic colour wheel
Double Click this image to watch a short video about the basic principles.

Discuss the colours used in terms of whether they are warm or cold? Is there a reason for using one of the other? Think too about the use of light - has this an overall affect on the colours in the images. Remember light is described in terms of being cold or warm - has the approach the photographer has used included making the images in a certain light in order to create an overall sense that the images are warm or cold - if so why? You could ask 'What if'? Type questions around this aspect of the images in order to take your up a level to include analysis. Looking at the images you're researching if warm or cold light/colour was applied how would this impact on the images?

Remember when you're looking at and discussing these aspects - write about them in terms of what if I applied this or a similar approach to my own work - how would it impact on my work?

Look at your research images and consider whether the photographer has used colour contrast in the images e.g. colours on the opposite sides of the colour wheel together to create an image that has dramatic use of colour that potentially works because of the stark contrast.

Look at the use of colour discord. This is the use of colours that don't work with each other and look wrong in the image. This may be a considered tactic used within the image to draw attention to something or add to the negative feel of the image.

Does the image use colour harmony - a series of colours that are of a similar grouping that work together and are visually pleasing. One of the most frequent used images that exemplifies this is autumnal leaves - combining oranges, reds, browns and yellows.

Look at images and say whether you think the photographer has chosen to saturate the colours if it's significant. Has the saturation been achieved - is it artificially done using post production methods (Photoshop or similar) or has the saturation occurred through the choice of light? 

It may be that when you look at the images, there's little to say about the colours in which case explain why the significance of the colour is limited and move on to the next prompt.

Colour is such an important aspect of images, you do need to consider it's use carefully and the more you discuss it with a sense of real knowledge, the higher grade is likely to be.

Check out this website here and the links at the bottom relating to the connotations of colour

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