Some months ago I photographed a flat blue Nissan QX. Shortly after I deleted the series despite the rarity of the car. Why, Richard, why?
Despite the good lighting I could not get the forms to stand out. Tonal treatment failed as did all the other variables. That says something about that colour which makes you want to ask why Nissan offered such an anonymising shade for an already anonymous vehicle.
Lately I hunted for other flat navy blue cars and only found the Relay. Flat blue has an even more flattening effect than black while lacking black’s gravitas. The blue hue means its cold and being non-metallic means it’s got little reflectivity so the sculpting is submerged. Perhaps only flat dark brown achieves the same effect though its warmth rescues it. One might wonder why flat brown achieved such popularity in the 70s.
Above is a car I saw recently in Basel. Again, the blue is a bit different from the Nissan: redder, brighter. The Peugeot is very sculptural and can withstand the colour. It’s still a rare shade.
This Kangoo (in Goslar) has a lot of green and it’s metallic. The car’s forms are still strongly visible.
A high gloss and redness lifts this very graphic, architectural design and makes the rear lamps an exciting, vibrant detail.
So, if you’re going to use dark blue it needs a secondary hue and metallic element otherwise it’s the memory bin for the car. Dark blue: use with caution.
[Text amended 11.54 am, July 30, 2016 – the van was a Citroen Relay, not a Ford Transit as originally written.]