I need to create a photograph that gives the feeling of escapism and anxiety. What kind of techniques can I use — especially in post-processing — to create this mood.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I've removed some tags about color and white balance. If you have ideas about how color might aid in what you're looking for, please add that to the question. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Mar 31, 2017 at 13:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ It would also help a little more if you could describe what these things mean to you — is it one shared emotion with both feelings, or two separate things which you want combined at once, or something else? Do you mean "escapism" in the standard sense of "fantasy to retreat from reality", or do you mean "scared and wanting to run away" (which seems like it might pair with "anxiety" more. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Mar 31, 2017 at 13:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, your question seemed to focus on finding a magical effect you could apply to create this feeling. Art doesn't really work that way, and I'd encourage you to be open to composition and story-building techniques rather than just focusing on applying an effect. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Mar 31, 2017 at 14:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ for anxiety i need to describe the details of it on any person , \$\endgroup\$ Mar 31, 2017 at 14:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is this a school assignment? (Not that it's a problem if it is — it's just better if you say!) By "on any person", do you mean that you are making a portrait? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Mar 31, 2017 at 14:33

1 Answer 1


If it were me, I'd probably go with either a lack of color or at least desaturated colors for the anxiety/depression side. There is some evidence that depressed people have poorer perception of contrast, which would lead to things seeming closer to gray. I even saw a documentary once about a woman suffering from depression and going through brain surgery to treat it. She had to be kept awake during the procedure, and at one point she expressed surprise because she suddenly started to perceive color again and hadn't realized that she had lost it until that point.

While anxiety and depression are not the same, they are related. I think of anxiety as being more dark and being represented by black or nearly black colors.

For escapism, I tend to think of the fantastical worlds of movies and TV shows. And when we're talking about colors, they're always lush, saturated colors. Even Mordor from The Lord of the Rings trilogy is full of bright fiery saturated reds, yellows, and oranges.

So if you're only using colors to represent these concepts, I'd go for unsaturated/dark on the anxiety side and bright/vibrant/saturated on the escapism side.


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