Colour has impact. As emotional creatures, we assign colour to our feelings – red with rage, green with envy, blue from the cold. For photographers, capturing mood through colour creates a canvas of emotions, adding a dynamic element. Legendary photographer Steve McCurry’s well-known photograph, titled ‘Afghan Girl’, is an example of the use of sharp, contrasting colours. The piercing green of the girl’s eyes, set amidst the red of her clothing, creates an impact that photographic experts say would not have had the same effect in black and white.
Last month, our reader photographers played with colours they came across, using it to their advantage and creating evocative pictures. A few chose to create a single point of focus with black and white photography, allowing the absence of colours to weave a story. The results were just as remarkable.
Picture Editor K. P. Devadasan picked the top three winners of September and here, we present the photographs that stood out from the rest.
Editor’s note: Do you want to participate in our monthly Reader Picture Competition? Send us your best photographs, with captions, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bharat Gadilkar is a process control professional, based in Dubai.
His picture series captured everyday life in Kathmandu, Nepal, from traditional pottery makers and painters to holy men or sadhus.
After the devastating earthquake in Nepal in April this year, which killed more than 9,000 people and injured more than 23,000, the picture series was a refreshing insight into people who have moved on from the catastrophe and are continuing to celebrate life.
He said: “Nepal is a great place to photograph people. Most locals are excited to have their picture taken, however, I prefer catching them when they are busy with their daily activities.”
Reason for winning:
For Picture Editor K. P. Devadasan, the picture essay was a perfect way to appreciate the spirit of resilient people in Kathmandu.
Regarding the winning photograph, he said: “The overall mood of the picture is terrific - you see a laid-back group of people having a conversation, but the unique aspect is that they’re all sadhus [ascetics]! That’s not a usual sight. Their expressions and details are clear and visible, and the colours contrast with the wall beautifully.”
Mubashir Rahman is an 18-year-old undergraduate student at the University of Wollongong, Dubai.
The sight of a squirrel camouflaged by the texture of a tree, caught the reader photographer’s eye in Mysore Zoo, India.
He said: “I personally enjoy taking photographs of distinct patterns. I believe that inspiration can strike anywhere – often from something we least expect. It helps us to slow down and appreciate the beauty of the little things in today’s fast-paced life.”
Reason for winning:
Picture Editor K. P. Devadasan appreciated the effort taken by the reader to get this photograph.
He said: “It is quite obvious the reader has taken his time to make it a rich photograph of textures and symmetry. He has placed the squirrel towards the left of the frame, drawing the eye to it instantly – that’s excellent composition. It’s a beautiful, artistic photograph.”
Hussain Nalwala is a businessman, based in Dubai.
On a trip to Turkey, the reader visited Pamukkale, where a travertine has formed through calcium deposits. His photograph, from a height, captured the variegated shades of the landscape.
He said: “We were really very lucky to get such a good view. We were up on the hill side for about an hour, and just as we moved towards the gate to return, there was a very heavy downpour and the whole area became very cloudy. We were there at the right time, and were able to see lovely clouds. In the bright sunshine, I was able to capture all the gorgeous colours.”
Reason for winning:
With the travertine in the foreground, followed by a small lake, a hotel complex and then rows of fields, the picture has an interesting effect.
Picture Editor K. P. Devadasan said: “The reader has captured many different layers of landscapes in this photograph, which makes you want to look at it a little longer, and see the details a little closer. It’s an interesting blend. One improvement would be to crop the photograph a little tighter, for more impact.”