Half-week homework: Green

Installment four in our rainbow series, the middle initial of the lustrous Mr. BIV, is one of the most linguistically interesting of the colors. Its Old English root, grene, is also the root for our words grass and grow. Similarly, verde/verte/etc. in our modern Romance languages are related to both the Latin word for green, viridis, as well as “to grow,” virere.

Grow, grow, little greens!

The same relationship is evident in Greek and Slavic languages, as well. The really cool part is that all of these connections developed independently! It’s no wonder: whether it’s lawns, jungle, or coniferous mountain forests, the most visible source of green in our world (by a large margin) is sun-hungry foliage. Humans throughout history couldn’t help but formalize the connection. Now it’s your turn to connect with green, visually.

You’ll even find growth on a roof, sometimes.

Of course, you don’t have to look for bushes or trees (I’ll throw some more thoughts into the mix in a moment), but plants are a great place to start as you undertake this week’s challenge: seek green and make it significant! Grab your camera and strike a balance between the comfort of a cool color and the vivid verdant vibe of new life.

Read on for more inspiration of your own, then post your best pics to our Facebook page or Instagram tagged #mymikescamera #halfweekhomework so your fellow photographers can see and be inspired in turn! If you get something really good, they might even turn green with envy.

So, yes, nature can be nurturing, and most of our associations with growth and greenery are positive. Plants growing means survival: food, sunshine, and water are all necessarily plentiful when fields are fresh and full. However (and you may have noticed that I’m fond of pointing this out), there’s a more sinister side to nature and to green itself. Nature can be mysterious and even dangerous, encroaching on our little bubble of civilization and waiting for an opportunity to gobble it up, hiding all sorts of toothy beasts. An image of a dark forest, especially with a hint of storm, can really tell a story about man’s position in the world and the power of nature.

You’ll also find, at least in American iconography, heavy usage of green in representing the eerie and the weird. Aliens are often green, as are some of our favorite and most enduring horror-movie monsters. I’d give 90% odds that an image of creepy fog rolling over a swamp or desolate plain will be lit with a hint of green.

Spooky!

If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say that these tropes are as natural in origin as the primary link with chlorophyll. People rarely look green, and only in dire circumstances—I know from experience you can actually be nauseous enough to turn a little green—so it’s sensible that green “people” would ring some danger bells. As for fog and space, perhaps that’s a result of one of nature’s most mysterious phenomena, the aurora borealis.

Handily, the northern lights have been visible in the last couple of days as far south as the continental US! If you got any stunners, we’d all love to see them. Otherwise, get ecological, get spooky (Halloween prep?), or tell a story about greed. Whatever gets your wheels turning, just get shooting!

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