Thursday, October 03, 2013

Nature, flowers and colours

click photo to enlarge
I remember reading, a long time ago, the assertion that colours in nature never clash. I have the feeling that it was a well-known artist who was being quoted. I've searched for the source of those words but, despite seeing the sentiment expressed by others, I've never managed to come up with any sort of attribution.

When I first read the statement I had my doubts about the truth of it. Surely, I thought, pink and yellow always look wrong together. I feel the same about purple and orange. And yet as time has gone by I've recognised that there is some truth in the saying; or, should I say, that it leans more towards being true than being false. The fact is that every now and then I test the statement by looking at unlikely colour flower combinations. What I find is that my preconceptions that colours inevitably clash wherever they occur are confounded more often than they are confirmed. I know that testing the truth of a statement by measuring it against the opinion of a single person who, like everyone else, has idiosyncratic views on colour combinations, isn't a terribly scientific way to come to a proper conclusion, but what's a man to do?

A while ago I took a photograph of poppies next to lavender that inadvertently supported the statement and overturned my dislike of purple next to orange, and in the accompanying post I discussed some of the issues I'm returning to today. The other day my wife asked me to photograph a vase of flowers that she had received as a birthday bouquet. This consisted of yellow sunflowers, pink gerbera and purple gladioli, a colour combination that perhaps spoke of the fact that the bunch was  chosen with the help of my two year old grand-daughter. Do the colours clash? Interestingly I find that they appear to do so in my photograph, but less so in life. Work that one out if you can?

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Photo 1
Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 10.4mm (28mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/400
ISO: 125
Exposure Compensation:  -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On