Niall Benvie - Colour Transect #16


A “Colour Transect” consists of a photograph and colour swatches presented as a single piece of work. The 27 swatches are sampled from the photograph, sometimes highlighting the diversity of colours in the image, sometimes the variety of different hues of the one colour. The object is to simplify and clarify the image’s colour content for the viewer.

The concept of the transect is borrowed from ecological sampling. A line is defined through a habitat and samples taken or records made at regular intervals along that line. The exercise can be repeated at different times on the same transect to introduce consistency to the sampling process. In a Colour Transect, lines are drawn across the image at the post production stage and colours sampled to create the swatches.

By presenting a palette of the image’s colours alongside the photograph, this approach serves another useful role in an era of image-saturation; the work holds the viewer’s attention for more than two seconds. The swatches invite curiosity about where in the image they may be derived from, where the transects may have been drawn. The device of labelling the latitude at which the photograph was taken (but without the longitude that would define a location) gives the viewer the chance to test the received wisdom that a warmer palette predominates in the south and cooler one in the north.

From a design perspective, Colour Transects provide nature-derived colour schemes whose origins, rather than imagined, are shown.

Tags: art photography, colour, Colour Transect, graphic design, Niall Benvie

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