According to those who know, we are instinctively drawn to warm colours. Red apparently, symbolises life and vitality, and those colours closely allied to red – orange for example – nurture equally positive feelings. I’m not in tune with the psychological and spiritual associations of warm colours, but it would seem that unwittingly, I too seek out warm-coloured images – specifically silhouettes.
At a recent talk I was asked why I photographed so many silhouettes and in truth, I wasn’t aware I did. Thinking about the question on the way home, I was initially embarrassed: Had I been overloading audiences with orange and black graphics for years? Do you know what? I think I have.
Looking back, my fondness for silhouettes may be rooted in a desire to break the f8-front lit-big-in-the-frame wildlife portrait. In fact I can remember a friend of mine showing a silhouette of a crested tit on a workshop only to be asked why the flash hadn’t gone off! I think more recently however, it’s nothing more complicated than an affection for clean graphic shapes that whilst recognisable, hold something back from the viewer, inviting them to identify what, where, when, how.
Whilst silhouettes are hardly radical thesedays, it would seem that they are not for the photographic purist and that’s fine. I’m afraid I can’t help myself – get a subject on a ridge against a moody sky and it’s wind up the shutter speed for maximum under-exposure. The pleasure derived more than warrants six of the best from the Photo-Police. It would seem I’m a silhouette junkie.