Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Reds

I snapped this very quickly with a high ASA that guaranteed something would come out. But just as I pressed the shutter, a woman walked into the frame. But she made the shot work, didn't she? I am very pleased, so thank you, stranger. It looked very light and bright - with all these jolly magazines. And I thought it made a bit of a change from the usual supermarket entrance. You can see from this image how much red is used for magazines. Bright red is the colour of fire and blood. It brings good luck in China and, of course, Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without the red-suited (but commercially appropriated) Santa Claus! But There are different kinds of red. In his fabulous book, the Phenomenology of Perception, Merleau-Ponty points out that colours like red and green are "sensed". Such a quality isn't strictly part of consciousness. Colours are perceived in a way that is as rich and mysterious as the the object. The magazine reds that shout from the picture wouldn't be sensed in the same as the woolly red of a carpet. We are drawn to the bright reds of flags, posters and publicity material and we interpret them in a different manner from the red warnings of traffic lights, stop signs and darkroom lamps. There is ambivalence in red.