Why are People pursuing Outdoor Photography with Yellow Jackets on?
I’ve always been interested in asking questions to myself about why people do certain stuff the way they do it. It is not a grumpy position or the one of a critique. It is just a curious stand point in which I’ve always seen life since I was young. If I should give one piece of advice to someone, then it would be to always maintain a passion and curiosity for learning. This above all will provide the means to stand in a good state as you try to find your way in an increasingly difficult and uncertain world. Today, I am going to spend a few thoughts about the serious themes of outdoor photography, instagram and yellow jackets.
Now, have you ever noticed that recently a lot of the photographs on Instagram are looking pretty much alike? The rower at the very tip of the canoe’s bow; or think about the hikers inside a tent with their feet facing the outdoors. Don’t forget the climber above the clouds; and so on. If you don’t trust me, just look at this project I stumbled into a couple of days ago while doing a slight research to answer the question above. In this account these guys are showing us that a lot of Instagram photographs are all looking alike. And well, I have to admit it, they do look great and indeed unique at first sight. Hence, I’m not going to start a rant over here about everyone repeating stuff that look sort of nice.
Trends come and go. In our times ruled by hyper-connectivity, noticing them becomes easier and faster each day. Common and recurring themes such as the already trite “follow me to see the world” or placing perfectly aligned illustrations with the background, can be seen throughout the whole Instagram. Essentially, people alone in the wild. The new core of outdoor photography.
Today I want to talk and think about something that has gotten my attention in the last couple of days; yellow coats or yellow jackets. Yup, that’s right, yellow clothing. Let’s start by saying that yellow is a prime color, so it is a very strong accent pretty much everywhere (just like red).
Yellow Jackets & Color Psychology
It is impossible to think about color without quickly jumping right to the well-known mental reactions and common feelings linked with color. This is one of the bases of visual careers like graphic design, animation, illustration, photography, fine arts or marketing. It is also common to see how in films the element of color has a clear intention within the scenes.
Managing color is quite complex. And what I can say is that yellow, (as opposed to certain colors closer to it like red and orange), has a higher and deeper connection with positive aspects like optimism, confidence, self-esteem, extraversion, emotional strength, friendliness and creativity.
All those sorts of positive things are very well related if we think of an autonomous, free person, with curiosity and thirst to swallow the whole world by travelling it all. Just like pretty much every regular millennial out there in the world. Therefore, yellow makes more sense if it is used as a uniform or as a protective coat that empowers the wearer to be free and independent. Outdoor photography provides the means of documentation in that respect.
And of course, if you ever get lost in the wilderness, you will be wishing to be wearing bright colors like yellow, red or orange, rather than some really effective camo clothing.
Backgrounds, Color & Contrast
Not every background works well to be wearing a bright and notorious yellow jacket. The best backgrounds are the outdoorsy ones for these photographs. They are always filled with neutral earthy colors, and plenty of green tones as well. Crushed highlights and shadows are apparently another common thing to do. Most of this is done to create a moody atmosphere. Embedded in such background, yellow works as a pretty notorious accent, and a very strong one indeed. It is simply a matter of contrast and crucial element of color theory in landscape photography.
I love seeing how on Instagram – and other social media platforms too – there are many people that are including yellow jackets in their outdoor photography tagging their imagery with #yellowcoat, #yellowjacket or similar hashtags. But that’s not it, it’s also usually coped with #adventure, #free, #travel and #outdoor as well. So, people are making a relationship in their minds. A relationship about the match made in heaven between wearing a yellow coat in the outdoors as a pleasant and aesthetic thing. To roam, to explore, to be free, to travel to the edge of the world with a hat on.
The Responsibility of a Landscape Photographer
My own perception about this question is that people simply like the way these images look. But they don’t actually think about why they like them. In cinematography we can see this resource used several times. And the intention of using it is to send a message.
I am clear that beyond the contrast between the background and the subject, these photos are oriented to inspire people to feel good with the outdoors. We are living in a moment in time were younger generations are spending less time in the wilderness. A connection with nature has been lost. These sorts of images could be an important game changer for these younger generations to demand the environment’s preservation.
The world provides us with such outstanding and diverse natural beauty, it is time to give something back. Now more than ever before. As photographers passionate about landscapes and nature, we have the capabilities to influence the world of ideas through active engagement in the world of society, environment and business. We have much to give: our art is something to share; to deploy for the general and greater good. This is an exciting responsibility, and a very important one.