venerdì 27 febbraio 2015

Black and Blue or White and Gold? The Dress Explained.

I illustrate you a moment the situation, take your time to read…
There is a viral phenomenon on the internet, spread through the social media, commented on every thinkable platform of blogging, web press etc.. I am talking about a dress, a photo of it, and the debate over its colours. Black and blue, blue and gold or even white and gold? We perceive the same dress in different colours depending on how we interpret it. Everything has been said but the truth. I think truth is a hidden matter. Everyone looking at the picture immediately focuses on the dress, pushed by the question of its colour. Whether if it is blue and black or white and gold for us, we tend to focus on the dress instead of the location or our perspective. Perspective is vision since photography is the mean of visual communication. But the truth is one and I know no other at the moment having argued in support to one of the two colours' interpretations. When i looked at the picture first, from a friends' page, I was on my smartphone and noticed the dress in black and blue. I didn't pay much attention since i glanced just a moment at the article. by the way the title's open discussion about the dress made me think about it. When later I opened the article I found it was in truth white and gold. I was surprised to have changed idea. I noticed all the details of the picture coming to light. I was brought to thinking the dress as white and gold simply because of the overexposure to light of the background.

I analized all the details and found the matter was that incoherence between the "colour" of the light bumping onto the dress and the one beside it. Yes, light has a colour that we unconsciously suppress, depending on our interpretation. Why this incoherence? Two reasons:
• The color correction of the camera, which is probably a built-in digital camera of a smartphone, had a colour correction automatically set to a particular lighting.
• There is two spaces with two different types of light. One interior space with an artificial light on the background, a second space from which comes the light illuminating the dress at our sight.

The artificial lighting, the one on the background illuminates an interior space. The light that illuminates the dress instead invests it obliquely from above. It could be the light of 4 p.m. in European winter, a fading blue light when the sun is not far from setting or another refracted source of light. We "see" that the lighter colour of the dress is not clear because of a disturb in it, a light-blue or lilac shade, that is a digital noise, a colour noise caused by the digital acquisition method of the image, set to suppress a light-colour in the picture. Now we see that the golden decorations, interpreted as lighter by our visive-brain, is now clearer, takes the scene to the previously (if you thought was black) unidentified fabric/decoration, The tiniest shadows are depicted.

If we interpret the dress as black and blue we are actually suppressing the color dominance of yellow: the golden is interpreted as black and the white texture is thought even darker as a blue.

If we are strictly thinking the image as a structure made of just one colour scale depending on the artificial light we will see the dress as black and blue. If we have the imagination, or better the elasticity of image-interpreting, to think about a light intervention that's not in frame and assume we have an overexposure, warping the colours in the picture, we have better chances to really guess the colour of the dress. That is… white and gold, dude.


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