Red: the color of power

  • the color of power

    Code | Red

Are You Seeing Red?

Why are we so drawn to the color red? Why is this part of the color spectrum associate with power, lust, and aggression?

If you search the web for color theory or take a brand development course in college, you're likely to find something about the psychology of color or a discourse on color theory. (Forgive me for being a bit old school, but I prefer to make my citations from those ancient tomes called books.)

According to Gael Towey, Creative Director, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, "Color creates emotion, triggers memory, and gives sensation."

In fact, we depend on the familiarity of color with different brands to help convey meaning and value about the products, services, or experiences that goes with that brand. Yet, the meaning of a color can have multiple interpretations in different cultures (Wheeler, Designing Brand Identity, 4th Ed. ) As the United States of America and the most of the world becomes more diverse this can have wide-ranging implications on selecting a boudoir theme.

It has been suggested that Red is my favorite color. I can't figure out why?

At anytime in my atelier, you might find me drinking a red creme soda; wearing my red trim glasses; sporting a red fitness shirt, or driving my red luxury sedan. These all seem like perfectly normal things to me. Am I trying to subtly communicate something? Hmm.

As I look at my portraiture book, I have found that the color red appears a lot in many of my provocative, sensual, and visually striking images. Sometimes, the color red is limited to a shade of lipstick. However, in a high-key all-white portrait the attention is immediately drawn towards the wearer's lips.

Other times, I might use a red color gel to create a mood or accent light for the shoot. This provide subtle tone on a shoulder or hair.  I have also used red color gels as the main or key light and flood entire scene with scarlet hues. Depending on the amount of red hues in a portrait, it can suggest seduction, sensuality, playfulness, something risque, or the need for a safe word.


At anytime in my atelier, you might find me drinking a red creme soda; wearing my red trim glasses; sporting a red fitness shirt, or driving my red luxury sedan. Am I trying to subtly communicate something?

Colors draw our attention towards or away from a subject. In the intimate fine art department, the subject is always the client sitting in the camera frame. While there are many colors in the spectrum to choose from in life and my photography atelier, I ask you to consider the fictional Christian Grey's perspective. He didn't call his private play room, the Grey Room and decorate with muted grey tones and accents. What did he call it?

Going further, Christian Louboutin's iconic footwear are known for one distinct feature (other than price) --the red bottom sole. On the other end of the economic spectrum, you have the super retailer Target. Red is not only part of the unique brand identity but you'll find red throughout the store--from the shopping baskets to the checkout. You immediately know that you're not in any of their competitors stores when you shop at Target and the shopping experience feels different than their competitors as well.

The color red is in the Bodyscapism™ brand identity as well. You can see it prominently displayed at the top of this page. It's intentional and by-design to convey that Bodyscapism™ a sexy luxury portraiture brand. A lot of work is committed that is seen and unseen to live up to that brand promise. From my perspective, why would anyone want intimate fine art or fitness portraiture that didn't make them look and feel sexy from beginning to end?

As you checkout the Red Gallery that I attached to this article, leave your thoughts and feelings about the images in the comments below. Are you seeing Red in your future Experience Bodyscapism™?


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