A Splash of Colour in an Increasingly Grey World


Pushing the boundaries of colour photography

The story of colour in photography is a fascinating one. Originally seen as crass and unsophisticated by the black-and-white-shooting elite, perceptions slowly changed thanks to the work of a few brave and hardy pioneers, pushing against the trend of the time. Nowadays, many photographers work in colour by default rather than design – the decision to shoot in black and white is a conscious one, and if it hasn’t been made then colour is the knock-on result. It’s therefore striking when a contemporary photographer puts colour at the heart of their work – using it in creative ways, or as an central part of the messages they’re trying to put across.

This list explores a few of our favourite photographers who pushed or are pushing colour photography in interesting, unprecedented directions. Of course some likely candidates are missing – Alex Webb, Saul Leiter, Helen Levitt, Constantine Manos, Joel Meyerowitz, Ernst Haas and Stephen Shore to name a few – but the list isn’t meant to be exhaustive and I’ve aimed to choose a few lesser cited photographers as well as those most commonly mentioned. We hope you find a wealth of inspiration among these names.

Fan Ho (1931, China)