No Thanks, NEON!

I have a hang up on neon. Yes, I loooooove photographing old signs like these in the wildstreets of NYC. Neon (Ne) itself produces that classic red-orange color. These signs are most likely are rarefied neon or florescent lights in the style of Neon, but for ease today we’ll call them Neon. (Side note– If you’ve got a second, seriously read up on Neon. Fascinating stuff.) Wherever I am in the country I always manage to find signs similar to these. I’ve always been fascinated with neon signs because as the surrounding landscape changes, in my mind these gems stay preserved in homage to “simpler times.”

That being said, you know what I hate capturing in the studio, neon clothing. If you’ve ever worked with me, consulted with me, or asked, I’ve pretty much left no room in the studio for neon. Without going into huge detail on the optics, the simplest of ways I can explain from my own experience is this… our brain corrects that neon pigment in clothing far better than any camera, including my Hasselblad, ever could. That’s not to say that you can’t do it, but the post processing alone is a huge deterrent. In general I’ve found neon to always look painted on, as you can see in this photo of the lovely percussionist Chihiro Shibayama from our shoot 5 years ago, before my studio wide neon ban. Literally, painted on. This goes for pink, green, yellow etc. You’d think it would look cool, but it doesn’t. I’ve lost hope.

That being said, take a few minutes and look at your social media accounts, TV or print ads. You won’t see much of neon clothing out there. And with what you do see, ask yourself… was it worth it?

Remember kids, when it comes to Neon…

Just Say, NO!



* Hustlin’ by Woody Batts.