The Blue of the Universe / by Adrian Galli

Gold and Aquamarine

Gold and Aquamarine

There is a theory: if in language a word does not exist for something in particular, that item goes unnoticed by the people of that language.

Blue is a color we in the western world, America in my case, so frequently see and feel. The sky is blue. The cold water faucet is blue. Pools are blue. But it may surprise many people that in some languages, ancient Greek for example, there was no mention of blue. The question anthropologist and sociologist, among others, ponder is, did the Greeks see blue?

I think the obvious answer is 'yes' they saw blue but was it any importance or did they value the in their civilization? Some reasons why it wasn't a "valued" color might be because blue dye was difficult or even impossible to produce; the only ancient civilization able to were the Egyptians. I would argue this is a far more complex topic to explore but the general theory is sound.

Today, blue is very readily available; paint, clothing, cars, plastics, paper, candy, etc. Without a word or the ability to create the item the word would be associated with, some argue things go unnoticed or of little value.

My grandfather, while looking through my photos, remarked, "I don't know how you do it. You see things I'd never see." 

I had never considered it exactly. I assumed that everyone saw what I saw. While I think that is generally true, anyone with sight could see the things I saw, they didn't notice them. I pondered this point for years. How do I and my fellow photographers and cinematographer do it?

My exploration of this lead me to wonder, perhaps, many people simply use their sight to navigate the world; to decide on what shoes to wear, how to get to work, or whether they need an umbrella on that day.

Perhaps photographers and cinematographers are those who illuminate that which otherwise goes unnoticed and unseen; that we give definition to the undefined visuals of the Universe. 'Blue' becomes a word and blue is seen. A photographer takes a photo and its subject is seen.