The Art of Photography

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Understanding Colour

I've added a new sidebar to show the books I'm currently reading. At present three books. Two of these are on colour. Colour by Victoria Finlay is especially interesting and has really inspired me.
The chapter on red had her in South America seeking cochineal beetles and me in the National Gallery viewing Turner. Each chapter of her book (I still have more colours to read) takes you to some part of the world to discover the origins of a colour.
Red has been a tricky colour to get right. Also tricky to retain its brightness. I've had months of issues trying to get the red on my screen and printer correct. So for me this was a colour of particular interest.
When Turner painted "The Fighting Téméraire" (the one he called his darling) he experimented with a new red paint - iodine scarlet- (also known as mercury scarlet) it was a beautiful colour but unfortunately faded very quickly.
After sitting in front of the painting in the National Gallery for some time I wondered how it might have looked when just painted.

So..... I looked for an image on the web as close to the original colour as possible then copied it into photoshop and intensified the reds in the areas I assumed should be brightened.

Obviously it wont be exactly as he intended as the file I have worked with is very small. However seeing how colour changes in an image, as in this painting, or on different media as a photo can actually change the mood of a picture.

The increase in red in Turner's painting gives a greater sense of the tragedy

My experiment is pictured below.

NB: I have assumed the file I copied from the web was OK to copy as the size was small . If there is a problem with this and I am informed I will remove this post.

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