Debate rages over color of dress photographed in rare light
Updated: 2015-02-28 07:24
|The dress that intrigues the universal debate. [Photo from web]|
It's the dress that's beating the Internet black and blue. Or should that be gold and white?
Friends and co-workers worldwide are debating the true hues of a royal blue dress with black lace that, to many an eye, transforms in one photograph into gold and white. Experts are calling the photo a one-in-a-million shot that perfectly captures how people's brains perceive color and process contrast in dramatically different ways.
"This photo provides the best test I've ever seen for how the process of color correction works in the brain," said Daniel Hardiman-McCartney, the clinical adviser to Britain's College of Optometrists. "I've never seen a photo like before where so many people look at the same photo and see two sets of such dramatically different colors."
The photo, taken earlier this month before a wedding on the remote Scottish island of Colonsay, also illustrates the dynamics of a perfect social-media storm. Guests at the wedding could not understand why, in one photo of the dress being worn by the mother of the bride, the clearly blue and black-striped garment transformed into gold and white. But only in that single photo, and only for around half of the viewers.
The debate spread from the wedding to the Internet, initially from friend to perplexed friend on Facebook.
One such wedding guest, musician and singer Caitlin McNeill, posted the photo Thursday night to her Tumblr account with the question: "Guys please help me. Is this dress white and gold, or blue and black? Me and my friends can't agree and we are freaking the (expletive) out." She's consistently seen gold.
One of her friends, Alana MacInnes, saw gold and white for the first hour, then black and blue.
Buzzfeed sensed clickbait heaven and, amid its own newsroom argument, was among the first to call McNeill. It posted more than a half-dozen stories on the image and the tsunami of reaction.
On Twitter, (hash)TheDress and variants surged to the top of trending lists globally within hours.
The entertainment elite then chimed in.