View Full Version : "color isnít lying to us, weíre lying to us

09-24-2013, 03:30 AM
What does le Ducís tortoise teach us about color perception? Lots of things. Sapphires lose their flash under artificial light. Opals and hydrophanes only sparkle when wet. Royal in-breeding can make aesthetes downright squirrelly. But most critically: color isnít lying to us, weíre lying to us. You can change any objectís color by playing around with the light, putting other colors next to it, or adding movement. But color perception is transformed most profoundly, at times, inside our skulls.


Fun little article about color perception.

It was a few years back that I realized that there was no such thing as "perfect real color" in a photo. IMO as close as we can ever get is "its the way I like it".

Sometimes our audience gets to define it, sometimes we do.

So, how do you use colors?
Do you use it to set mood or...?

09-24-2013, 04:08 AM
I take a lot of pinhole images with old & expired Fuji film, like NPH400, NPS160 and NPC160. Sometimes it gives me a beautiful color shift. Not way off like cross processing but more like a little shift. Like a blue sky but then in some kind of pastel blue.
74684 74685 74686 74687 74688

It may not be suitable visible on screen due to scanner & screen calibration, but when looking at the prints it's much nicer and visible.
I tried expired Kodak Gold also, but these films mostly turn into a muddy brown.

See also some examples I made for Worldwide Pinhole Day 2013 (http://www.apug.org/gallery1/browseimages.php?do=member&imageuser=60001).

Mustafa Umut Sarac
09-24-2013, 04:55 AM
I think our compositions and use of color depends of our luck in street. I am not talking about studio photographers. We can be more intelligent.
We can add our photographs more politics , more social science , politics or say anthropology.
Soviet Cinematographer Eisenstein was strongly believing this and he was saying we must hit to the enemy with our images , colors , compositions. In his time enemy was not america but germany. He was defending put two different images in movie stream and these totally different images would create a meaning. Soldiers fires to civils and cows being slaughtered . He defends the same for color , these two images would pure red.

09-24-2013, 05:51 AM
Of course "color isnít lying to us".

Did not the film manufacturers always spoke about "true colors"...?

About that author:
unless youíre in Germany, where yellow means envy, and you can be ďbeat up green and yellow.Ē

I don't know about that envy thing. And it is green and blue beaten...

Mustafa Umut Sarac
09-24-2013, 06:09 AM
I think yellow is asianic people

09-24-2013, 06:41 AM
I don't know Mustafa. I don't think that "street" can be any better than "studio" or any other genre of photography. Each genre tells part of the story.

The idea you attribute to Eisenstein is part of what I'm getting at, using color to tell a story, create a mood.

IMO though, its not about luck, the tools to control color are available. We can use flash guns, reflectors (natural or not, colored or not), and timing the placement of our subjects in the scene to control our lighting and composition. We pick the time of day (where the light comes from and what color it brings), we pick our films (which each have a different response), we can filter, cross process... and that's just at the camera, when we get to the darkroom we can skew or "correct" color over a wide range.

Part of what I got out of the article and what I've been trying to learn for years is to use color as part of the composition. A simple example of this is the classic "golden hour", at sunset or sunrise, that so many people enjoy shooting color in. The nice warm color and contrasts it brings are very satisfying to many.

So on the street for example do you prefer your subject to get into the warm glow of the sun, or under the skewed color of a street light, or into the blues of the shade? Which tells the story you want to tell?

09-24-2013, 06:45 AM
Of course "color isnít lying to us".

Did not the film manufacturers always spoke about "true colors"...?

They did but does that mean "as lit by the sun" or "as lit by tungsten lights"?

Mustafa Umut Sarac
09-24-2013, 07:48 AM
I dont know if there is color movies at Eisenstein era. He was searching new ways , making science of cinematography and investing time on thinking on new technologies , reverse of what we dont do here on APUG. Everyone wants to me a painter from 1800s Paris , want to use old cameras especially wooden or brass and invest on more poison fume technology from 150 years ago.

Electronics , post processing , 3D is out of our sight. Here turned in to Antique Roadshow program , everyone is talking about 50000 pounds worth of antiques but in other way , all the antiques owners were the poorest class .

Intellect is not here , I did not read anything on philosophy, art analysis, literature analysis which we could use it for our art , most basic frequency analysis of geometric lines which helped to make the composition never discussed. Its a photography forum , nobody knows about optics design , one or two posts per year.

I started to look for new forums to continue . This winter must be rewarding.

09-24-2013, 08:34 AM
Right, color is for mood. It's emotional, and of course it can be used for other reasons. Place some blue in the back of a landscape and it leads the eye into the horizon. Color is also used for composition. A highly charged color like a bright red (more emotion....blood) can grab the eye's attention, so even though you always have to observe formal rules of composition, you also have to be aware of how color can change/modify them. A little can go a long way. The colors of the American Southwest are memorable for their beautiful soft palettes, not found in other areas of the country. A little study on color and how it affects humans can be very rewarding if you shoot or otherwise work w/ color. It's actually one of the reasons I shoot B&W. You're forced to use basic good composition and have a great subject w/o the help of color. For painting, I would never dream of working w/o color, for etching, B&W is the ticket.

One thing to keep in mind: there is no such thing as natural color. As clouds go over a vista, shadows fall on objects, the sun goes to a different angle, etc, colors will go all over the place. Color is only relative, not absolute.