...I meant to mention yesterday that the "Girl in Red" autochrome from 1913 is a good example of "cool with a warm accent," which is one of maybe a dozen or so basic, baseline strategies for making a picture appeal to people.
Curiously, it doesn't work the other way around—"warm with a cool accent" might work or might not, but doesn't necessarily have any intrinsic appeal.
The appeal seems to come from somewhere deep in our brains. Perhaps it's due to some deep species memory that hearkens back to 50,000 years of human existence during which the sight of a campfire in the deepening gloom of dusk was one of the most welcome sights any homo sapiens could see. Whatever the reason for it, 'tis a strategy that works well. Something to be aware of if you're not already.
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Featured Comments from:
Carsten Bockermann: "That's probably why National Geographic at some point become known for what is called The Red Shirt School of Photography."
Alan Carmody: "It pleases me that Christina Bevan did not have a smartphone, and that that moment was spent on contemplation and not on a selfie. Something about her clothes makes her seem contemporary."
Adrian Malloch: "I teach photography to students along with mentoring experienced professional photographers. One subject I emphasise early on is visual literacy. It includes the concept of the emotional value of colour and what the photographic consequences are of that understanding. Yes, the warmth and safety of the campfire against the backdrop of the cool toned backdrop where danger lurked is very likely, in human evolutionary terms, to have created our instinctive emotional relationship with those colours. There are other likely colour triggers, such as aerial perspective—that's the phenomenon whereby distant objects become increasingly blue due to the accumulated effect of water droplets in the atmosphere; stereotypically, distant hills. To our palaeolithic ancestors, distant things are not emotionally relevant. That is, they had little to fear or like about them. More importantly, blue becomes associated with distance. On the other hand, the nearby warmth of skin tone is something we all have an emotional connection to. Warm colours have become intrinsically associated with closeness.
"Of course colour is not the only dichotomy to imply emotional and spatial distance: light and dark, large and small, pattern and formlessness, sharp and soft, and many more are there to be exploited by the thinking photographer."
Herman: "I suppose we see red more easily than keeping cool."
Mike replies: You're bad! :-)
David Raboin: "Berries against green foliage is a warm accent on a cool background and it's appreciated across many species."