Assignment 3: Colour

Take about four photographs each (16 altogether) that illustrate the following colour relationships:

  • colour harmony through complementary colours
  • colour harmony through similar colours
  • colour contrast through contrasting colours
  • colour accent using any of the above

To accompany these photographs, make notes about the ways in which the colour works in each image, and make a sketch for each to show the balance and movement.

Colour Harmony through Complementary Colours

Goethe may well have defined colour combinations into ratios but, real photographic life isn’t like that and you gets what you gets, no choices, you just have to make the best of what you’re given.

The choices I’ve made are more about style, content and composition, and the colours that are depicted form a portion of the content in keeping with the required brief, they clearly do not follow the perfect ratios, and hopefully no-one expected them to.

Following the colour wheel, as printed in the course guide, there can only be three combinations of complementary colours, Red Green, Blue Orange and Yellow Purple, as those are the colours opposite each other.

With Image 1: I tried to get an impression of Donovan Wylie into it, this is the only image I can attribute in this series to an influence from a well-known artist, but at least it’s a start.  His series from the Maze Prison certainly had a profound effect on me, not only because I served there whilst in the army, but because of the feelings they engendered of hopelessness.  This picture is of one of the corridors that make up the accommodation I occupy as a resident of a supported housing project, and far from there being any sense of hopelessness in the place we’re a very active and sociable group of people.  However,many buildings do have an ‘image’ they tend to project and are picked up on by visitors and I hope that I’ve captured that feeling here.  The colours are red for the carpeting and green for the handrail and fire exit sign, about 1:1, but that wasn’t necessarily the objective.

Image 2: certainly hasn’t achieved the ratio of 1:2 and is more orange green than orange blue, but never-the-less there is a combination of orange blue.  I feel this image is very well-balanced and as the tree is the focus of attention it needs to be the dominant colour and its complementary colour has to take a back-seat.

Image 3: is one I’ve taken from a series of work I’m doing, quite apart from my degree studies, about the people and place where I live.  Sylvia, depicted here and later in another image, is one of the characters I’ve chosen to help depict my pictorial story and one of her eccentricities is her multi-coloured nails.  Once again the absolute ratios of 1:3 haven’t been achieved, but they’re not too far off.

Image 1: Red Green: f/22 ISO 100 8″ 18mm

Image 2: Blue Orange: f/8 ISO 100 1/80″ 40mm

Image 3: Yellow Purple: f/5.6 ISO 100 1/6″ 18mm


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