Sunday, April 20, 2014

Is grey the new magnolia?

click photo to enlarge
I ask the question posed in the title not because I'm some sort of fashion sage or guru, or an arbiter of taste, or an expert on interior or urban design. No, what prompts my question is an article that I read in The Guardian entitled, "From Apple products to DIY and fashion: how grey became the colour of the decade."The author of the piece describes the colour as embodying "the spirit of the post-boom era", hard-wearing and practical. She goes on to note its presence, even ascendance, in clothing fashions, interior walls and on doors, in upholstery, sports wear, nail varnish, office and domestic equipment and much else. It is seen to be smart, elegant, neutral and a good complement to other colours.

I have noticed a slight resurgence in the use of grey but not the all-conquering shift suggested in the article. Perhap I'm not persuaded by her argument, in part, because we used it on some internal wall in the mid-1970s, and I've noticed it being used reasonably regularly since that time. But, I have seen the "tide of green paint" (particularly the sage variety) that I blogged about a while ago watered down by shades of grey that are used in similar circumstances by the same demographic. And I've seen and enjoyed its use in architecture, particularly on facades (see above). But, as for choosing grey because it fits the "spirit of the post-boom era": well, that's a stretch too far for me. It makes as much sense to suggest that it's part of the search for the new magnolia, a need for a change in the backdrop of living rooms, a colour against which other points of colour display well. Black, white, cream and grey serve this purpose especially well. This well-known among the photographic fraternity. Card mounts around photographs often feature one of these colours. Photographers who use Photoshop or one of its equivalents also appreciate the value of a mid to dark grey background against which to display digital images. In fact, why do you think I chose the colours I did for this blog!?

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 28.5mm (77mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f5
Shutter Speed: 1/1250 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On