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Exhibition: The color Red (June 2006)

Go to the gallery of images of the exhibition.


In color images often red is the most dominating color, even if it is there just as a very small amount of it. I think you can enhance and you can screw up images by including the color red. That is basically the reason why I choose to have red as the first topic of an exhibition on the Jörg Dauerer, Photography web site.

A lot has been told about the characteristics of colors, especially red (color of love, warm color, blood, danger, fire, ...). All in all the characteristic of red seems to very ambiguous. A very good summary of the characteristics of different colors can be found at the (German) site Farben im Webdesign.

Red in man-made structures

Phone Booth

Phone Booth

Many images that would otherwise look quite dull, adding a bit of red makes them much more interesting as is demonstrated in the image on the left hand side, where the quite uninteresting landscape of the Scottish highlands in March gets a center of interest by adding the red phone booth. The same is true for the traffic light in front of the Helmsley building in New York

Boat in Portmagee

Boat in Portmagee

My impression is that especially in countries where the weather often isn't too good (England, Ireland), strong colors (like red) seem to be favoured for man made structures like doors or windows. This can be used to add some color and a focal point of interest to an image.

On the other hand, few images that are almost purely red can be found. Red is a dominant color and purely red images tend to overwhelm. The image of the detail of a boat in Portmagee in the south-west of Ireland is an example here.

Red in nature



Besides man made red in images, nature itself also provides red spots that can be added to make an image more interesting like flowers (see image of Galveston, Texas)

Nature offers various tones of red depending on how the sunlight is filtered before we see it being reflected from different objects.

The phenomenon of Alpenglow is an example. Here only the red parts of the light spectrum emitted from the sun passes the clouds and hits the earth. If this light hits light colored objects (like the almost white rocks of the Dolomites in the image on the left had side) then this objects turn red.

Spectacular sunsets are another example of the same kind (see image of the Nevada sunset) Here the red parts of the spectrum of the sunlight are either filtered and seen directly or they are reflected by the (otherwise white) clouds.