The brief look at the use of colour in photography

Colour is a key contributor to the way we read a photograph. An appropriate use of colours can completely change how we read an image.

Rather than list out the way every colour makes us feel we wanted to talk about three specific photographers who use colour to enhance their images.

David LaChapelle


David LaChapelle’s use of vivid colour instantly attracts the viewers attention, usually this over use of colour can cheapen the photos quality, but laChapelle uses colour much like a painter uses paint; every tone is planned and there for a reason. Some would describe his use of colour as kitsch and sickly, but this is appropriate to his work, trained by Andy Warhol, LaChapelle’s images comment on popular culture, celebrities in particular. His use of colours give us a unique insight into this materialistic, over the top, god-like community.

Sally Mann


Like using vivid colours, black and white photography can enhance the impact of an image given it’s relevance. Sally Mann’s work is considered controversial, using children as a subject matter is something of a taboo in photography. Sally Mann’s use of old film cameras and B&W film adds a sense of age and makes the photo almost vintage, this adds a comfortable distance between the photo and the subject, enough so that we are a little bit more comfortable with the subject matter.

Sacha Goldberger


Sacha Goldbergers use of mundane tones reflect the dark undertone in his work. Whilst we enjoy the idea of a Super Grandma we are reminded that she is escaping from her reality, Goldberger discusses how his Grandma has started to feel useless and lonely, so this is her escape. The colour palet reminds us that reality is always there, no matter how we try and ignore it.

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About phonarphotosense

PHOTOSENSE is a exploration of narrative and the response of the different senses.

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