Thoughts on Photography – Color
As you may know, I typically have a preference for black and white when it comes to street photography and even to a degree in photography in general. But there are always exceptions to rules. And it isn’t really a rule for me that I have to do everything in b&w!
Lately I have been exploring using color over composition. Letting color be the composition. Yes, I am very much inspired by the work of Saul Leiter as well as a number of abstract expressionist painters where the palette can be the most important aspect of a work. Often color is used minimally. Less is more. I have often said that I may not have a great appreciation for color. In fact, it is perhaps that I am sensitive to too much color.
As well, there is so much meaning embedded in a color. We often don’t process the meanings of color on a conscious level. My favorite color is red. It’s a color with many meanings that range from love, sex, passion to anger, aggression, danger and even the devil. In Chinese culture red is a very auspicious color.
Red doors, red envelopes and even a Little Red Book. Throughout history, red has been a color of royalty and the pope and common people weren’t allowed to wear it. Pigments and dyes in red were very costly. Now red is common everywhere.
Red is also associated with many major corporations including Coca-Cola, Maserati and it is the number one color used on flags for countries around the world. Of course it is also the color of stop signs. Using a color is always about the context that it is placed in. Why are red roses considered more romantic? Although there are many meanings associated with the color red, it is never ambiguous. I think that the histories and meanings embedded in colors is an interesting topic. More on color in later issues. I have a number of books written about color. Perhaps I will list them in a later issue if people are interested.
From Issue 44 of the Shoot New York City Newsletter. You can subscribe here