Tingyu Huang’s ‘Chromophobia’ Gets a Point Across with Medium Format Film

Take a look at Tingyu Huang’s colorful portrait series, Chromophobia, named after and shot in response to David Batchelor’s book.

In his 2000 book Chromophobia, artist and author David Batchelor argued that the West hates color. No, really. David wrote: “…color has been the object of extreme prejudice in Western culture… It is, I believe, no exaggeration to say that, in the West, since Antiquity, color has been systematically marginalized, reviled, diminished and degraded.” This, more than anything else, is the motivation behind his series “Chromophobia.”

It sounds extreme but I think he made some pretty interesting arguments about what he called chromophobia, or a loathing and fear of corruption through color. David claims that there have been attempts to purge color from culture through the ages. Specifically, it’s either one of these two ways:

“In the first, color is made out to be the property of some ‘foreign’ body – usually the feminine, the oriental, the primitive, the infantile, the vulgar, the queer or the pathological. In the second, color is relegated to the realm of the superficial, the supplementary, the inessential or the cosmetic.

“In one, color is regarded as alien and therefore dangerous; in the other, it is perceived merely as a secondary quality of experience, and thus unworthy of serious consideration.”

I personally love color in works of art and photos, whether they’re mine or others’, and so to hear that color has long been reduced by certain cultures to something short of disgusting is a little shocking – though, admittedly, interesting. But I digress.

In response to Chromophobia, Chicago, Illinois-based photographer Tingyu Huang shot a series that carry the same title. Her Chromophobia is a four-piece portrait set, with all images in full, vivid, saturated color.

To create Chromophobia, Tingyu used a Hasselblad 500 loaded with a roll of medium format Fujichrome film (the photographer didn’t specify which).

Visit Tingyu Huang’s Behance portfolio to see more of her work!

All images by Tingyu Huang. Used with Creative Commons permission.