Electric Arc of Saturation

Hi Everyone,

I hope we are all staying safe and keeping well. I am continuing to make very good of online courses and I have 2 to speak a little about, one in this blog and another which I had intended to add here but now realise that it deserves a blog of its own so that will be next week (hopefully…). Continuing with the excellent BaileyChinnery course focusing on Cultivating Creativity, the emphasis this week being colour in all its glory. I have always loved working in colour but have never really spent any time trying to understand how different colours relate to each other and, most importantly, why!  I had a basic knowledge of the colour wheel but that's about it. We examined the various ways colour is used in art to create different feelings and emotions and how you can chart an artists' personal story through the colours they are using at various stages in their journeys.

It was also interesting to learn much more about the dynamics of the colour wheel and how different colour/tone/hue/shade combinations can prompt different responses depending upon their relative positions. It's a fascinating subject and definitely one which I will investigate further having realised how little I know about a topic which is so important to us as creative photographers.

To further develop our own individual understanding we were challenged to find something in our home which has a very limited colour palette and to use that to produce a series of images which were colourful and exciting. Really not an easy challenge and one which made me realise how little I have at home which has a limited colour palette!  I eventually settled on an unused MakeUp bag which I had tucked away in my bathroom cupboard.


Using this as a source object and by playing with different combinations of the corners and the seams combined, and then with Hues and Blending Modes I started to see something interesting happening and get excited about photographing something so apparently mundane. Again, I am learning a very valuable lesson in that there are objects all around us which have potential if we have our creative 'hats' to hand. A quote from John Ruskin: 'Hundreds of people can talk, for one who can think. But thousands of people can think, for one who can see.'  I am hoping that I might be able to 'see' a little better as a result of taking part in this course, my eyes are being opened in so many ways.

Anyway, here is a gallery of the individual images that I have produced using only my MakeUp bag as the source.  On reflection it was a great little object to select as the texture in the fabric added another dimension to the images.

So, what have I learned from this exercise:

  • I need to learn more about colour and how it contributes to the story I want to tell. I find that I gravitate towards certain colour palettes naturally but they may not be the right ones, or the right combinations of the right colours given what I want to say in relation to a specific image or project.
  • If I want to continue to challenge myself in my photography whilst I am at home I need to set myself projects and challenges. As you can see this is a very ordinary MakeUp bag which has languished in my bathroom cupboard for a couple of years now and would probably have been thrown out during the next wave of clearing! I need to be open to 'seeing' objects I have around me for their form and not just their function.
  • How powerful a tool colour actually is!  I think I knew this before but I have a much better conscious understanding now as to why. I plan to continue investigating colour theory after this course finishes as I think it will only add to my toolset moving forward.

Since doing this exercise I have started to look at things differently as I wander around my house. I have a little corner now which has a few bits a bobs starting to congregate which I think might make interesting photographic subjects. I resisted adding the toaster into the pile on the basis that it might make it difficult to use, it is on the list though. Learning to see through function to form will take time, as will learning to use colour more consciously. As a journey though, there are worse roads to travel.



All images are available as signed, Limited Edition Digital Prints. See here for more information.

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  • I’ve only just signed up to your blog but have already been inspired to try things for myself. These latest images are lovely. Thank you.

    • Hi Linda, Thank you so much for taking the time to post a comment. I am really pleased that you are enjoying the blog, it’s a new thing for me and I am really enjoying the process. I am glad you are inspired to try new things – that’s great to hear… it’s all around us too which is great 🙂 take care…

    • Hi Andy, thanks and glad you like it… pressure’s going to be on when these courses finish though! x

  • I am half way through the Bailey/Chinnery Creative Online Workshop and I am so glad I found your blog. Opening myself up to creativity, letting go of old rules and other oddities of photography is akin to learning to breathe in a new way; slowly, deliberately and thoughtfully. Your blog and your creative work is inspiring ! Thank you!

    • Hi Elizabeth, Thank you so much for getting in touch and for your kind comments. The BC workshop is inspirational and has certainly changed the way that I work now. It’s so liberating to be free of all the rubbish that surrounds so much of photography these days, so many opinions as to what you should and shouldn’t do. The most important thing of all though is to play and to remember why we picked up a camera in the first place. That certainly what the course reminded me of. Enjoy… xx


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