Photography, Text and Video Interview by Matt Garber, Copyright 2017
SHADES OF EMOTION
Countless psychological studies recognize the relationship between color and emotion. Restaurants are painted red to inspire hunger and love; green rooms are green to provoke calmness and happiness.
After the assignment was presented, I stumbled, almost accidentally, upon the effects of projecting color onto a subject. Seeing the results, I knew immediately that this method should be the centerpiece of my photoset.
Therefore, each emotion features a different color projected into the scene: green for happiness, blue for sadness, red for love. The only challenge was despair. Ultimately, I realized that despair is the kind of emotion that brings a feeling of helplessness, sadness, vulnerability, and emptiness. Despair is so overwhelming that it leaves an individual almost blank. Despair is a powerful lack of color, so those photographs are black and white.
The methods used in the process were varied. Sometimes, soft white light would come from tungsten lights and reflectors, while blue light was projected from a smartphone’s screen. Other times, colored light sources included everything from laptops to flashlights with homemade filters. Providing keylights on-location proved challenging, given the challenges to setting up tungsten lights, so often a flashlight and the camera flash were used.
The colored fill lights and keylights make for quite the challenge photographically, but the bouncing and rounding effects contribute to the emotionality of each photograph. Ultimately, the color projections help project emotion onto the subject, in the same way the colors of our surroundings can project emotions onto us.
The hardest emotion to produce is love. Love is possibly the most powerful emotion humans experience, and therefore to display it, the subject reflects on the people most meaningful to her in her life: family and friends. Where happiness and sadness and even despair can often be projected by outside influences, love is more internal. In that way, despite constituting the greatest challenge, it is also the most impactful for the subject to call upon these moments in her life.
About The Author: Matt Garber is a Freshman enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2020