I have always thought of black and white photography as an abstract medium and colour photography as a psychological medium. American photographer Elliott Erwitt said, “With colour you describe; with black and white you interpret.” If it’s true that colour appeals to our emotions and leaves less to our imagination, then it makes sense for us to be judicious in using it.
This can have a lot to do with how the photo is framed—how much of a particular colour, or colours to leave in or crop out. When I view a scene, then, I look for ways to combine colours–for me, it’s about balance. Sometimes a tiny splash of red is enough to counteract a sea of green, or a little orange goes well with a lot of blue. There are no hard and fast rules here, but the conscious combining of colour is something to keep in mind when you’re out taking photos.
On Instagram there are dozens of filters to choose from, each giving the image a certain look, but it seems the most-used Instagram filter is “normal”–that is, roughly the colours our eye sees. And that’s good news for an old-school guy (like me!) who believes that colour is something to be observed, not added with a filter.
“Autumn Playground” appears on Photo Vogue