Yellow is commonly associated with gold, sunshine, reason, optimism and pleasure, but also with envy, jealousy and betrayal. It plays an important part in Asian culture, particularly in China.
The word “yellow” comes from the Old English geolu, geolwe, meaning “yellow, yellowish”, derived from the Proto-Germanic word gelwaz. The English term is related to other Germanic words for yellow, namely Scots yella, East Frisian jeel, West Frisian giel, Dutch geel, German gelb, and Swedish gul According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the oldest known use of this word in English is from The Epinal Glossary in the year 700.
In the 20th century, yellow was revived as a symbol of exclusion, as it had been in the middle ages and Renaissance. Jews in Nazi Germany and German-occupied countries were required to sew yellow triangles with the star of David onto their clothing.
In the 20th century, modernist painters reduced painting to its simplest colours and geometric shapes. The Dutch modernist painter Piet Mondrian made a series of paintings which consisted of a pure white canvas with grid of vertical and horizontal black lines and rectangles of yellow, red, and blue. Yellow was particularly valued in the 20th century because of its high visibility. It often replaced red as the colour of fire trucks and other emergency vehicles, and was popular in neon signs, especially in Las Vegas and in China, where yellow was the most esteemed color.
The 21st century saw the use of unusual materials and technologies to create new ways of experiencing the colour yellow. One example was The weather project, by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, which was installed in the open space of the Turbine Hall of London’s Tate Modern in 2003.
Electric yellow is the most intense yellow representable in 8-bit RGB color model; yellow is a secondary color in an additive RGB space.
The measured light spectrum from yellow pixels on a typical computer display is complex, and very unlike the reflectance spectrum of a yellow object such as a banana.
Process yellow (also known as pigment yellow, printer’s yellow or canary yellow) is one of the three colours typically used as subtractive primary colors, along with magenta and cyan. The CMYK system for colour printing is based on using four inks, one of which is a yellow colour. This is in itself a standard color, and a fairly narrow range of yellow inks or pigments are used. Process yellow is based on a colourant that reflects the preponderance of red and green light, and absor.
Now that I have enlightened you with the help of Wikipedia, here are a few of my photographs. The year was 1997. My very short-lived obsession with the colour yellow began with me asking an artist friend of mine to paint my front room. My friend, aside from being an artist, was also a hard-working painter and decorator, who when not painting people’s walls with quality paints from B&Q, has also for many years also used expensive thick oils to create large canvasses that when finished appear almost edible. Graham my cat, loved me taking photographs of him, when the wall in my front room was finished he happily posed in front of it on top of the ladder as I carefully focused the stiff 80mm lens on my new Bronica SQAi. My god, now that I reflect back upon our shared moments together, my beautiful grey cat was so vain. Or probably and more correctly I hope that he would have revelled in our company as we would sit together for hours staring at each other through a passive marijuana haze. Or maybe he just sat opposite me on my maroon and blue futon and he thought to himself, what a twat that I could be! After all Graham knew everything, one has no secrets from ones pets.
I now estimate that I could only have allowed the colour yellow to occupy a tiny space in my small brain for no more than one whole year. I had set myself the improbable challenge of recording aspects of our daily living and to therefore simultaneously record every day facets of life in late 20th century Britain, but only when I encountered the colour yellow. At that time I believed that this would allow another part of my brain the freedom to switch itself off and to sleep whilst the rest of the world caught up with what I thought was my over indulgent mind. I am of course talking bollocks.
In 1997 I began to dabble in the over indulgent world of ‘the artist’ I think that I began this venture because the reality of working only for newspapers, magazines and public relations firms felt tiresome for me. Becoming stuck in heavy traffic travelling home north on the M40 close to Oxfordshire or on the M6 whilst driving back home south through Staffordshire was the reality of my daily life and eating cold motorway service station snacked food had become a soul-destroying laborious daily occurrence for me. I was desperately using photography as therapy , a creative outlet for the mind. It was my way to channel some destructive obsessive tendencies away from many of my impulsive natural disorders.
These are disorders that I never knew I had but they were the driving force behind many of our addictions that begin to rule and control some of our lives, if we allow them. These forces can dictate the way in which we grow as people whilst simultaneously developing the future we never knew that we could have. Almost all of the terrible events that people live through during life’s seemingly impossible journey must have some redeeming factors or we just would not carry on living. These shit things that happen turn out not to be just bad events. Even as we live out the most horrible of nightmares we continue to move forward. As mammals maybe we have no alternative as we are not programmed to think in any other way. Eat, shit, survive. Eat, shit, survive.
You had enough yet?