"What Color is Your Paris Shoot?"*

story + photos by Paul Ross
      (*warning: contains no photos of Paris)

There are just too many photo contests out there. Most of them are meaningless –except to those running the competition and collecting fees.

The winners sometimes get gear and money but --with lottery-like odds-- the payoff is more often mere bragging rights and having your work displayed in cyberspace, which is the electronic equivalent of being tacked-up on a refrigerator.

In spite of all the preceding, when my wife found and forwarded one notice, the competition caught my eye. “Capture the Colour” (the contest is Brit-based) has separate judges for images concentrated around each of five hues: red, white, green, blue and yellow. Given my opinion that many in the photo world are enslaved by the unwritten artistic law that serious photography is B&W, this contest had instant appeal. It got me thinking, and not just about my own photos.

Consider the topic:  colors are more than the result of physics and its interaction with human anatomy. They’re emotional. Psychologists and marketers would tell you that blue is “cool,” white is “clean” and red “passionate.” At least in our contemporary society. In other cultures and in other times and places, it’s different. Among some Native Americans, certain colors are linked to the cardinal directions (North= white, West=black, South=yellow and East=red). In Christian traditions, white stood for purity, red signaled blood and, borrowing from the Roman Empire that alternately repressed and embraced the church, the color purple was royal.

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