Through the Lens of Color
By Sundas Ahearn
What is Color but a dictation of the saturation of melanin in our bodies, weaving its way through the largest organ each and every individual on this planet is born with: SKIN.
Just like a skin, it is as though the level of saturation in a photo dictates how universally beautiful it truly is – too much of it, and we look at a photo as if it is ultra-filtered, unrealistic, abhorrent and unnatural. It seems to be a common ideology in the current world of Fashion Photography and Instagram/TikTok Influencers that there needs to be just enough color in a photo where it appears to be ‘natural’ and unedited.
As a Woman of Color, I often find myself asking the question: how much editing is too much, and why, as a society, are we so incredibly averse to the “unnatural” use of color. Is it a concept rooted deeper in the flaws of our wired brains (similar to the flaw that finds beauty in lighter skin tones) or is it an aversion to the misrepresentation of reality? How does an artist in this modern world navigate through the delicate web of these invisible lines that we have collectively defined and implemented?
Considering the array of beauty editing apps in the current market, every human that owns a smart phone, from Apple to Samsung, seems to have access to these tools. Social media apps included, it is almost as though photo editing is promoted and even pushed onto users. To stop and think about this fact is to realize the dichotomy of the fashion industry beauty standards versus the fashion industry beauty standards…it does not quite make sense and frankly, there is no winning.
Much like the amount of melanin in ones skin, the usage of color in photos can be quite beautiful, artistic, and a form of expression. This is not to say that the absence of color is not beautiful. In fact, there is a beauty in the loss of saturation as well, a moment to focus on the subject of a photograph itself, and visualize hidden layers that ironically come to light by hiding away color.
It is through the lens of color that we can understand the nature of a photo and its subject. It is through the lens of color that when absent, we can recognize the depth of a moment in time. Without color the world would indeed be dull and there would be a loss of expression and diversity. And without color, the world would be unsaturated and colorless; but then again, aren’t black and white colors?
Photographer: Sundas Ahearn, @lovebarrelco
Jewelry/Accessories: Love Barrel & Company, @lovebarrelco
Dress/Heels: H&M, @hm
Model: Chloe Danitz, @dr.chickencat
Makeup Artist: Amanda Lacefield, @amandahopemakeup
Hair Stylist: Gina Marie, @ginamariehdmua
Location: Lady Finger Lounge, @ladyfingerlounge