The way you see colour depends on what language you speak

Interesting article from The Conversation about language and the way we see the world:

Since the day we were born we have learnt to categorise objects, colours, emotions, and pretty much everything meaningful using language. And although our eyes can perceive thousands of colours, the way we communicate about colour – and the way we use colour in our everyday lives – means we have to carve this huge variety up into identifiable, meaningful categories.

Painters and fashion experts, for example, use colour terminology to refer to and discriminate hues and shades that to all intents and purposes may all be described with one term by a non expert.

Different languages and cultural groups also carve up the colour spectrum differently. Some languages like Dani, spoken in Papua New Guinea, and Bassa, spoken in Liberia and Sierra Leone, only have two terms, dark and light. Dark roughly translates as cool in those languages, and light as warm. So colours like black, blue, and green are glossed as cool colours, while lighter colours like white, red, orange and yellow are glossed as warm colours.
— Read on theconversation.com/the-way-you-see-colour-depends-on-what-language-you-speak-94833

The way you see colour depends on what language you speak

On blind accordionists

Geoff Dyer, in the Ongoing Moment, his divergent attempt at a taxonomy of photography, spends a lot of time tracking pictures of blind accordionists through the 20th century. It might seems an unlikely procession but, being blind, these accordionistas are the perfect subject for a street photographer who wants, above all, to take his or her photographs unobserved.

The first accordion player was photographed by the Hungarian Photographer, André Kertész in 1916.

Kertesz Accordionist

It’s worth pointing out that our man isn’t blind, just short sighted, but the photograph still inspired this poem by George Szirtzes:

The Accordionist

The accordionist is a blind intellectual
carrying an enormous typewriter whose keys
grow wings as the instrument expands into a tall
horizontal hat that collapses with a tubercular wheeze.

My century is a sad one of collapses.
The concertina of the chest; the tubular bells
of the high houses; the flattened ellipses
of our skulls that open like petals.

We are the poppies sprinkled along the field.
We are simple crosses dotted with blood.
Beware the sentiments concealed
in this short rhyme. Be wise. Be good.

Dyer’s book, The Ongoing Moment is well worth a read.

On blind accordionists

Learning to look

Dorothea Lange said that ‘the camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera’

I recognise that in the photographs I am drawn to and why I am interested in taking photographs myself – though for me it is less about teaching others than teaching myself to look properly.

This is Lange’s photograph of children in San Francisco joining in the Pledge of Allegiance, just before the internment of Japanese families began in the second World war:

JapaneseAmericansChildrenPledgingAllegiance1942-2

Learning to look

Snow Saturday

The roads are bad today; side roads still slippy with compacted snow, enough at least to make people reluctant to get in their cars on a Saturday.

The result is one of the small pleasures of bad weather: people walking to local shops, often towing children (sitting up with all the assumed dignity of a small panjandrum in their sledges); people walking and playing in the roads; neighbourliness.

But roads full of cars and internet shopping are so much better, right?.

Snow Saturday