Keith Arnatt in Bristol

During a visit to Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, I came across two photos by Keith Arnatt (1930-2008), Matresses and Miss Grace’s Lane.

The captions explained how David Hurn taught Arnatt about photography in 1973 when the two met (Arnatt was already a conceptual artist) and how these works were photographed in the warm colours of romantic English  landscape paintings. The Met explains that with ’emphasis on the imagination and emotion, Romanticism emerged as a response to the disillusionment with the Enlightenment values of reason and order in the aftermath of the French Revolution of 1789.’

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Constable’s work shown above is typical of the movement. That Arnatt chooses to photograph dumped rubbish with a similar colour pallet to the grand landscapes creates a sense of visual irony.

The concept of using a colour pallet in photography beyond constructing it in the scene, seems illogical in the context of photography’s indexicality. However, digital manipulation allows possibilities (see SLR lounge link below) within Photoshop. Colour toning-matches can also be achieved in Lightroom by click-and-dragging the colour swatch tool (see Lightroom Killer Tips).

I intend to explore the use of digital colour palettes in upcoming portraiture exercises.


Fitzgibbon A (2016). Context and Narrative Blog. Experiments in colour. Available from: [accessed 4.8.16]

The Guardian [online]. Constable, Turner, Gainsborough and the Making of Landscape. Available from: [accessed 4.8.16]

Lightroom Killer Tips [website]. Available from: [accessed 4.8.16]

Met Museum [online]. Romanticism. Available from: [accessed 4.8.16]

Slr Lounge [website]. How to take colour casts from any photo in seconds. Available from: [accessed 4.8.16]

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