That Stupid Dress

I understand that the connotation of a complex image is what it means to the individual, but I have chosen to discuss ‘the dress’ that divided the public on its colour. It is an example of divided opinion across the globe. The denotation of this imageis the photograph of a coloured (white and gold, or black and blue) dress. The connotation of this dress is associated with the controversy that it has caused in a week on the Internet. This dress went viral after the question was asked if it was in fact gold and white, or black and blue. Personally I think that it is white and gold, no matter how dark I make the image, or how far away I stand from my computer, the dress is still white and gold. But I have had many opinions from other people, that they can only see the dress in black and blue


In just a week this dress raised a ridiculous amount of debate in the public on its real colour, and why people were seeing it differently. What is causing the divide in connotation?

According to online polls, the dress is mainly denoted as white and gold, but there is a minority that sees it as black and blue. This isn’t because of different screens or brightness, two individuals could look at the same picture of ‘the dress’ and say that they see two different colours. The difference also isn’t caused to the difference of red to green colour cones in the eye.

Individuals see the dress differently due to something called ‘colour constants’, this is where the brain doesn’t know the surroundings of an object and interprets its colour. In the image the brain doesn’t know the dresses surroundings because how close the photo is taken, therefore makes assumptions on what is visible.

If you see the dress in white and gold (the majority) – Your brain interprets the image in natural light, like near a window with blue sky.

If you see the dress in blue and black (the minority) – Your brain interpreters the image in artificial light, like a lamp. The yellow light causes a gold reflection off the black, whereas the blue remains unaffected.

In this sense, I find the dress and how people perceive it, metaphorical to different signs and symbols. An individual is uniqueand has their own ideologies and interpretations of anything, such as events, issues, or what they interpret something to be (eg. ‘the dress’), they can even just decode a message or sign differently. This just demonstrates the varying and changing ideals of society.

On many occasions, once you see the dress as a certain colour, either white and gold, or black and blue, it is hard to ‘unsee’ it. For myself, I can’t ever see the dress as black and blue unless there is a full photo of the dress on a model.

But to conclude, the dress is black and blue, even though I swear that in that photo the dress is white and gold, it is still, in reality is black and blue.

Does anyone else still see the dress as white and gold, unless on the model?

Or is it just me?


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