Wild – All The Colours of the Rainbow

Wild - Nature Left Untouched

Colour, we all take for granted

When I looked…….

I saw jewels nestled

In the emerald crown of fresh grass

Buttercups cradled like droplets of rich gold

Poppies bursting with the brightest ruby glow

Cornflowers bejewelled like sapphires

Cow parsley wafting in the breeze like tarnished silver

The dog rose, a pastel pink like cold quartz

Vetches of rich amethyst

A rainbow at my feet

(A poem I penned whilst working on my ‘Wild – Nature left untouched’ project)

Collage of ICM Flowers Rainbow colours

Colour

We all take it for granted. Some of us choose to embrace it, others prefer to stick to monotones. I, for one, love a splash of colour in my life, and my photography tends to reflect this. My kitchen wall is a brilliant green, my T-shirts range in every colour you can imagine, and I remember in school being told that my multicoloured tracksuit bottoms were not appropriate for sports class! Ask anyone what their favourite colour is, and they will have one (or maybe, like me, ponder over two).

I bet, like me, you believed that many animals cannot see colour. That is a myth – only fish such as skate can see only in black and white. Many other animals are colour-blind and see limited spectrums, but they do still see in colour. My husband is one of those colour-blind individuals that intrigues people when he mentions it. Guaranteed, when it comes up in conversation, the first question he is asked is, “What do you see?” he rather patiently explains he sees what he sees and has no idea if it’s the same as anyone else!

The first colour photo was made in 1861. Today, we embrace the opportunity to choose if we photograph in colour or black and white with the press of a button, but not so long ago, you had to commit to the choice before you put your roll of film into the camera. I, for one, embrace the use of colour in my images; in fact, if it disappears, I often look and ask myself why that might be. Both photographers and painters choose the colours within their images to reflect what they see visually, but also their emotions. Sometimes, I consciously decide to shoot in black and white to minimise distractions from colour or accentuate light or lines within an image.

When I use ICM, multiple exposures, black and white, colour presents, or a specific style in my images, I always ask myself why I am choosing to use it – that normally helps me to identify what I want to accentuate from using a specific camera or post-production technique. Take sunflowers, for example; what do you think of when you see or imagine them? For me, first and foremost, it’s the colour. Then, the bold shape, solidity, round centre, hard seeds, spiky sharp petals and height. These are the elements I want to accentuate in my image. Interestingly, I quite like both images, but the colour photo says ‘‘sunflowers’’ whereas the black and white says lines, shape and tones but not necessarily sunflowers.

All of this leads me to share a few more of my ‘‘Wild’’ images, many of which incorporate flowers and colour. When I was working on this project, the concept of all colours of the rainbow kept popping up.

Anyone of a certain age who went to school in the UK will know the song ‘‘Sing a Rainbow’’. For me, it’s ingrained; the minute I see a rainbow, I hear that song in my head.

Sing a Rainbow – Peggy Lee.

Red and yellow and pink and green
Purple and orange and blue
I can sing a rainbow
Sing a rainbow
Sing a rainbow too
Listen with your eyes
Listen with your eyes
And sing everything you see
I can sing a rainbow
Sing a rainbow
Sing along with me
Red and yellow and pink and green
Purple and orange and blue
I can sing a rainbow
Sing a rainbow
Sing a rainbow too.


– Peggy Lee

Did you know that the Greek Philosopher Aristotle was the first person to identify rainbows and to consider their colours back in 350BC? Much later, in the 1660s, the work of Isaac Newton finally explained how rainbows were formed.

Newton also noted that the sequence of seven colours in the rainbow always runs in the same order; Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue, Indigo, and violet (ROYGBIV). It must have passed me by in school, but apparently, if you learn this short mnemonic, Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain, you will never forget the order……as I go off to reorder my photos, because I had them in the order of the children’s song!

When I started to photograph the grass verges near my home I never imagined the colours and variety of wild flowers that I would find, when the grass was left for months to generate in a wild and natural manner. Creating the images for my wild project, I felt like I wanted to accentuate colour and diversity in the images. I wanted viewers of the whole collection to be amazed at what I had found at my feet, and hopefully be a little intrigued to look down next time they go out for a walk, to see if they too had been missing this rainbow on the ground.

Next time you go out for a walk, see if your grass is really just green!

Check out another of my blog posts here.

A black and white photo of Charlotte Bellamy

Hi, I'm Charlotte

Creative Artist