Color Makes Us Feel

Why do we still love black and white movies so much?

As a self-proclaimed color geek, I obviously adore color. One of my favorite aspects of it is the way it changes our perceptions. Take a look at this photo:


What are the words that come to mind? Think Rorschach test.



Now take a look at this same photo in black and white:


Does this photo feel different from the color version? Do different words come to mind?


For me, the answer is unequivocally YES,  they feel different! These are two versions of a self-portrait I took with the unruly lilac bush in my yard. I love lilacs for their smell, and of course for their color. In the color photo, I notice the lilacs first. I’m drawn to the combination of the purple and green. I of course notice myself in the photo, and probably because it’s a selfie, I notice that I’m not wearing makeup and the effects that has on the picture. I really love this photo of myself. I don’t often feel “springy” or “warm,” and taking these pictures with the lilac bush let me explore that. This color version, to me, is pushing the boundaries of harmony.

The black and white, however, has a completely different feel. I see myself first here. By removing the color, I’m removing any sense of (dis)harmony and the feelings associated with that. I’m also removing those warm, springy feelings that the colors brought out. This photo certainly doesn’t feel warm. I’m more focused on my facial expression, the textures of the plants, and the impact of the darkness and light. This photo feels intimate, mysterious, and romantic in a way that the other didn’t.

It’s not better. It’s not worse. It’s just different.

The point of all of this? Color evokes response. Color means something to us. Color makes us feel.

One of the reasons I was drawn to PCA in the first place was because I knew color makes a difference in how we perceive the world. There’s a reason that brands use certain colors to grab our attention, and a reason why we still shoot photographs in black and white Color, or an absence thereof, literally changes the way we look at things. 

The scope of PCA is not all-encompassing. It doesn’t claim to be, either, which is important to note. PCA is about finding the colors that best complement your natural skin, eye, and hair color. It’s not about finding the colors that make you feel something. It’s not about learning how to incorporate those colors into your life, even if they don’t fall within your season.

But I’m hoping to change that. 

I’m in the process of exploring my own power colors in the hopes of eventually bringing my knowledge to all of you. It’s an exciting process, but it’s full of trial and error at this point, like most creative endeavors. I’m soul searching, learning, and reaching deeper than I ever imagined this process would allow me to do. 

Mind, body, soul.

Color, emotion, essence.

It’s all connected. 

Watch this space. It’s going to get colorful.

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