Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ominous Skies

Achieving a dark setting can be difficult when you still want to retain the colourful touches that will make your setting stand out. Washed-out grey, people hiding in the shadows, and a cast that scowls like an angst-ridden high school class? Is anyone else sick of all this yet?

I see something in this photo that seems bleak, yet still colourful. Maybe it's the many hours I spent playing Fallout, and a looming association of a reduced palette with a post-apocalyptic wasteland. I look at it, and can just imagine the last bastion of hope the building could be, not just the random sight on the bus ride home that it truly was.

I was recently pointed to a movie called The Fall, which has one of the most gorgeously vivid uses of colour I've seen in a movie (especially when contrasted with the limited orange, teal, grey and black palette that most films have adopted these days).

In the novel I'm working on currently, I've had something of a dilemna. There's a little too much grey, and a lot too much skulking around.

The real issue for me is that I know there's another locale in my story that is just as painfully morbid, though needs to be painted with a different set of tools. In my case though, the first city, there is more than just a morbid grey facade. As much as the threat of death looms, it is the flashes of life that I think emphasise the darker side. Unyielding growth that overtakes the abandoned car feels like it lends a permanence to a charred husk; a tell that this is not a condition likely to change soon.

There's also the way in which life adapts. It adjusts to the conditions around it. The way that it makes do, the things that set it apart from what woeful circumstances we identify with every dark setting, are the things that make a place feel real.


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