Colour is a very powerful metaphor of emotion in everyday language. It’s not just that we use individual colours (“in the pink”, “got the blues”) to describe our feelings, but even the notion of colour itself (“that’ll put some colour in your cheeks”, “she’s a colourful character”) is often central to how we talk about ourselves, our lives, and our emotional states.
Post-natal (or post-partum) depression has often called “the baby blues”; a phrase that can simultaneously make it more understandable to others, and at the same time diminish the seriousness of a condition that affects around 16 percent of new mothers (and some fathers too) (1). More generally, the term “black mood” is used to describe depression or feelings of great unhappiness.
Psychologists tell us that colours can our moods as well as acting as a short-hand for ideas and emotions. Reds are associated with heat, passion (and ‘Stop’); white is traditionally used to denote purity, and purple can suggest wealth, royalty and wisdom (2).
It is not only the hue of a colour that affects us, but its intensity. I quite like the softness the photo below, but also find it sad.
Of the three images below of canna lilies; I’m drawn to the second. Although the colours are brighter, it doesn’t make me feel happier; it just makes me feel — well, more.
I’m interested in how others’ respond to these image. Please let me know what — if anything — they make you feel.
This post was written for Sally’s phoneography and non-SLR digital devices photo challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally. You can see Sally’s beautiful tulip shots here; and explore the contributions of other bloggers in the challenge.
But now I’m going to leave you with an aural colour experience. At the end of last year, I went to the funeral of a friend who had lost his battle with cancer. As his coffin was carried into the crowded chapel, followed by his three daughters and other family members, this was the song that played. It was unexpected — maybe whacky — but set the tone for a funeral that truly did celebrate a good life, well lived. Here’s Donovan’s Mellow Yellow.