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ColorTALK with Katrin Eismann – The Emotion of Color


by Sandra Kehoe – July 17th, 2015

We sat recently with the supremely talented Katrin Eismann, Chair, MPS Digital Photography at School of Visual Arts in NYC to get her thoughts and insights on what color means to her. Clearly, Katrin has strong emotional ties to color and the childhood memories she associates with the different colors she was surrounded by growing up.

Here’s what Katrin had to say about color “When I think about color, I really think about my memories. I think about the colors that surrounded me when I was growing up. I know that my favorite dress when I was five, was blue and white with little strawberries on it. I remember the colors of the summer. I remember the colors of going to Cape Cod, the colors of the garden and the colors of the artwork that we were surrounded by and when we went to visit the museums. So for me, color is less about the actual subject and more about what attracts me and draws me in – it’s very emotional. It’s good energy. You’ll always see me with something red on, especially in NYC where grey is the new black! I think that color is about energy and memory and making people feel that they are really alive. In photography too, we see that in terms of how exciting it is to use color and to work with it.  What’s important as an educator is for people to understand the emotional impact of the images that they are making. Memory colors and emotion and mood all affect one another. The saying ‘being green with envy’ or ‘red with outrage’ is not a new concept, that’s something people have felt. So I think it’s very important to understand where these color emotions come from, understanding the art history, the science of color and the emotional impact of color is going to make their images stronger and stronger.”

Katrin goes on to say “If we’re really honest, we’re interpreting what we’re seeing. When I look at the image with my naked and eye and then with my camera and then with software, those are three completely different experiences and what I can do with the software is, I can really create the image that I was feeling… that I’m remembering. It has very little to do with actually what I shot. And because I know that my emotions or how much sleep I got are going to influence the color, I literally have a ColorChecker passport in every bag I own. And what that’s helping me do, is have a memory color, a reference in a scene that I can then use to start my interpretation. I always like starting with a known reference and then interpreting it and then going further, And if I don’t have that known color reference, that starting point, I get very uneasy. Each image is too different, so I use the ColorChecker constantly. I have literally been in the subway with my iPhone and a ColorChecker – I think it’s really great and I have mine with me all the time.”

Click here to learn more about Katrin Eismann  KatrinEismannHeadshot

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