Saturday, February 28, 2015

The dress

Yes, one more discussion about "the dress." You probably know this photo blew up the internet over the last couple of days because people couldn't decide if it was white and gold or blue and black. I see white and gold but follow-up photos have said that it is blue and black. I was sure it was a white and gold dress because of what I learned once in a charcoal drawing class. Charcoal drawing is all about capturing the value of light and shadow. It is a fascinating class to take for the beginning drawer or painter because by removing the distraction color (in paint or pastels), you can focus on what you are truly seeing: light and its play on objects. I learned that in order to make something appear darker, you make the area around it or next to it brighter by removing charcoal. In other words, the exact same shadow will look darker or lighter depending on the value of light next to it.

Using this logic, I thought the brightly lit background behind the dress was making a white dress photographed in shadow simply look darker.

I found this whole thing fascinating - and a little unnerving - because I am an online seller using photos to depict my products and their colors. Between computer monitors and how people perceive color differently, not to mention the color of the light under which I photograph, my items can change how someone viewing my photos will see the color. The time of day, weather and time of year also affect the light and the color. I now wonder if I need to be more descriptive in my listings about the color that I am selling. I try to take photos of my products under the perfect conditions: when there is lots of ambient light but no direct sunlight and not too much shadow, which create blue hues. I took a photo of one of my products the other day just as the sun went behind a cloud and then another photo about a minute later when it was back. I was stunned at the difference between the photos and the color of my product. Fascinating.

But this discussion just begs the question: Do you prefer my plantable paper in white and gold, or blue and black?

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