#GoodChallenge: Colour Blue

"Blue has no dimensions, it is beyond dimensions” Yves Klein

As we continue to explore the effects of our photography on viewers, this week we challenge you to focus on the colour blue and experiment with what it feels like when you see, capture, share, and, view photographs that have a blue element.

"Marsh Life" by Kelly Vivian

Blue is one of the most popular colours out there with all its varying shades and a favourite for many of us, perhaps because it's a colour that we see so often in our daily lives from the blue sky to oceans, rivers, flowers, and eye colour.

Psychologists claim that the color blue lowers blood pressure whilst artists say that it helps them be more creative. [Source] It is important to keep in mind the overall context of your photograph and how blue is used as it can cause a diverse range of emotions. Blue’s associations with water tie it to cleanliness and refreshment but also tears. Consequently, a person experiencing sadness is said to be feeling blue. Photos of the rain shown in blue-grey tones may cause a depressing feeling while a photo of a bright blue sky makes people feel happy and carefree. The mood will depend on the shade of blue you’re using – lighter brighter blues seem harmless compared with darker blues which have a more somber feel to them.

Blue light has proven to regulate circadian rhythms while lowering stress levels – that's why you'll find that hospitals are often painted in shades of blue, to help ease patient anxiety. It is also very interesting to consider the effect of the colour blue in different cultures (whether we intend a particular shot to be exhibited in a specific geo location or not). In China, blue manifests itself as a colour of healing, relaxation and immortality. In countries like Turkey, Greece, and Albania, blue is said to repel evil. Hindu tradition associates blue with Krishna, a deity that embodies love, virtue and divinity whilst in German, Swedish and Norwegian speaking countries, a naive person is said to look upon the world with a blue eye. [Source]

"Blue Light" by Lynda Gordon

There are many ways to use blue in your photography:

  • 'Blue hour' for landscape photography - Occurring just after sunset and just before sunrise, the blue hour is a period when the sun drops below the horizon and residual sunlight takes on a blue hue.

  • Intense/saturated blue tones are perfect for a dramatic and moody shot.

  • You can desaturate blue (making it look very 'pale') to add a calm minimalist effect to your images. This is because neutral colors have a classic and timeless look.

  • Blue filters (applied on-camera or in post-production) can be used in black and white photography to increase the appearance of mist and haze.

  • You can draw attention to your subject by creating an orange/blue contrast or try using blue as a background for red, grey, and green subjects.

Knowing how and when to use the color blue will help you improve, make your photos stand out from the crowd, and make your photography experience more fun.

How have you used blue in your photographs? Share them with us in Community Chat > 'this week's topic and let's show how we can convey happiness, peace and calm, or sorrow with our cameras.

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