Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Primary and secondary colours

click photo to enlarge
A tradition of English schooling is that, from the age of 11 children are taught in ability groups, but are also placed in "Houses". Typically, on entry to their particular form of secondary education, they are assigned to one of (usually) four houses in which they remain until the end of compulsory education. The houses are not selective, the aim being to have an approximate balance of boys and girls and abilities. These cohorts come into their own during sports day and other competitive events, form periods, and occasions when there is a requirement to subdivide pupils into mixed groups. It's interesting that a tradition that arose in public (i.e. private) schools where pupils did (and do) live in actual houses, should have been so warmly embraced by state schools.

I was first placed in a "house" in the junior years (age 7-11, Years 3-6 in modern parlance) of my primary education. It was called Penyghent House, and accompanied the three other houses of Ingleborough, Whernside, and Pendle - the "Three Peaks" of Yorkshire, and the nearby Lancashire summit, all of which were visible from where my Yorkshire school was located. For better recognition each house was linked to a colour - red, green, yellow and, in the case of Penyghent, blue. When I moved to secondary school, as luck would have it, I remained a blue, but was assigned to West House. You can guess the other houses and colours! It may be my school experience of these four colours as a group that leads me to use them still in that combination. Or perhaps wider society uses them whe there is a requirement for four colours. Whatever the reason, it wasn't until I'd rotated and tinted this photograph of a couple of pine cones four times that I realised I'd chosen those four colours once again. Though I hadn't placed them in the sequence that I always recall them i.e. red, blue, green and yellow!

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 35mm macro (70mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1.6 sec
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: Off