The 52-week photography project

“Instead of trying to reproduce exactly what I see before me, I make more arbitrary use of colour to express myself more forcefully … To express the love of two lovers by the marriage of two complementary colours … To express the thought of a brow by the radiance of a light tone against a dark background. To express hope by some star. Someone’s passion by the radiance of the setting sun.”
Vincent van Gogh, 1888.

The theme for week two of the 52-week photography project is color harmony. Do opposites attract? Can there be harmony with opposite colors? One term that is used to describe opposites in the color world is complementary colors.

There are three primary colors on the color wheel: red, yellow, and blue. Between each primary color on the color wheel are three secondary colors: purple, orange, and green. The opposite colors would be red and green, orange and blue, and yellow and purple. If you were to get paint and mix opposite colors together in equal portions, you would be a grayed color, called a chromatic neutral.

In exploring color harmony, I took photographs of several subjects, including people, fruit and beverages, and artwork.


Grand Island Town Council member Beverly Kinney in dark blue contrasts with the light orange color in the background. The blue and the light orange in the background also are opposites that attract.

Town Council member Pete Marston, Jr., wears a red tie that contrasts with the Christmas tree. The red bulbs and the green branches also are opposites that attract.

The orange paddle and the blue background are opposites that attract on my shirt.

food and beverages

the bowl is mainly a shade of orange. The tangerine and the blueberries are the opposites that attract.

Still life with book and water bottle. Much blue and some orange.

Another blue and orange still life.



reproductions of artwork with several sets of complementary colors.

Next week: Come back for the third week of the 52-week photography project.

9 thoughts on “The 52-week photography project”

  1. Interesting use of those contrasting colors (did I say that right?). Anyway, my favorite combos are the Christmas one and the reproduction on the left. I have always liked these color combos: purple and green, orange and green, purple and orange.

  2. I never really gave much thought to contrasting colours while taking photos . I used to just randomly shoot thinking composition was important in painting and not photography. Thanks for correcting my misconceptions

  3. I love colours and whether they are complementary or clashing doesn't really bother me. Interesting project. All the best.


    Orange you glad you found the blue opposites? (I had to say that, given the plethora of blue-orange examples you provided…)

  5. I also just point and shoot. Certain types of lighting inspire me such as golden and blue hour light. I’ve never given contrasting or complementary colors any thought.

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