Color conundrum: Dress photo starts Internet arguments

Posted February 27, 2015

What color is this dress? It seems like a simple question, but, given variances in perception and the pervasive use of filters in photography, it is one that was roiling the Internet and office discussions across the country Friday.

The question started on Tumblr, where user swiked posted the photo and the question.

Answers fall into two general camps. Some see white and gold, others blue and black.

Wired and Vice sought to solve the dilemma with science, calling on experts in photography, color theory and vision.

Age could be a factor. "The lens of your eye changes throughout your lifespan, and you're less sensitive to blue light when you're older," Dr. Jay Neitz, a color vision researcher at the University of Washington, told Vice.

And then there is context. Wired Senior Photo Editor Neil Harris played with white balance until the background washed out, only to realize the area of the photo around the dress impacts how it's color comes across.

What do you see?


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  • Mary Johnson Feb 27, 2015
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    Lavender and gold

  • Kaitlyn Legare Feb 27, 2015
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    I see a bad pic of an ugly dress. The dress itself looks like it's a combination of gold and a blueish-tinged white, with dark blue piping.

  • Doug Hanthorn Feb 27, 2015
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    To all who say this is not news, well, they did file it in the "Entertainment" section. Give them a break. And as for "who cares?" If you ask the question, obviously you don't. Those who don't ask the question obviously do care. This is a fascinating issue to scientists and poses a fundamental question about human vision color perception. It might lead to a cure for color blindness. It might lead to new technologies in color display devices. (I do agree, however, that it is a cr ap photo, lmao!)

  • Anthony Snark Feb 27, 2015
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    My wife just showed me that picture on her phone and she sees white and gold and I see blue and black.

  • Michele McIntosh Feb 27, 2015
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    The confusion may be caused by different monitor color settings. On my TV the dress looks clearly "white and gold". On my computer monitor the dress is clearly "black and blue".

  • Sammy Macloud Feb 27, 2015
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    and some are color blind, so what?

    who cares what color it is?

  • Lorna Schuler Feb 27, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    Yep. And I'm not buying the "experts" stories either.

  • Mannin Black Feb 27, 2015
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    Black and Blue dag nab it!

  • Peter Panda Feb 27, 2015
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    c'mon WRAL-- this is not news