Monday, July 18, 2005
Tribute to National Geographic's "Red Shirt School of Photography"
Seeing Red ...and scarlet and crimson and carmine
As the GEOGRAPHIC began to use color more frequently in the 1950s, editors wanted the most eye-catching hues to be employed, and photographers obliged. The result has since been termed the "Red Shirt School of Photography," named for the appearence of bright clothing in otherwise quiet color schemes.
Some photos raise questions: In a shot from February 1950 another shirt collar peeks from beneath the subject's red one.
According to magazine veteren Luis Marden, a pioneer of color photography, "The red shirt came to be associated with the GEOGRAPHIC because very few but the GEOGRAPHIC published color. It's easy to criticise the past - the trouble is we're doing it by today's standards." - National Geographic, November 2000. V 198, N 5