Colour is a new photo book by photographer Billie Charity and consists of 95 photos taken over the last 5 years around the UK and Ireland.
Bold and vibrant colours are a vital feature of Billie Charity’s photographic work. This collection of portraits, taken across the UK and Ireland between 2015-2020, has been selected and arranged to celebrate her use of colour.
By focussing on colour, otherwise-hidden effects are brought forward. When our eye is drawn to a particular coloured detail in one of her photos, such as a cup, or part of a sleeve, or a wall, the effect can be jarring, or comic, or thought-provoking.
Thinking about colour changes the meaning of a photo. Colour is political, perhaps most obviously when it relates to skin. Colour also has psychological and emotional dimensions: our associations with blue are fundamentally different to red or yellow, for example.
Colour is metaphorical. People who bring colour to a situation, might bring an edge or excitement, and we talk (sometimes damningly) of ‘colourful characters’. Or we might refer to ‘local colour’, some special quality of a place that gets lost when you zoom out.
Sometimes colour creates emphasis, and puts details on display. Paradoxically however, the Latin and Sanskrit roots of the word ’colour’ refer to hiding or concealment. We wonder when someone will show their true colours, putting aside the masks or costumes they habitually wear.
A sequence of colour-themed photos allows us to play a game of hunting colours through their different settings. In this way novel connections, meanings and effects are created between the photos, as well as within them.