10 Years of Color – Analysis on my Personal Photo Collection

Following a similar trend to the analysis of Van Gogh’s painting I did, I wanted to explore my own personal photo history. Photography has been such a large part of my life the last 10 years, in fact I have managed to take about 15,000 photos. I would have never guessed I was taking so many photos. Photos can show so much about your life, and it is so strange to think that I pretty much have my life well-documented since middle school, well at least well documented with a digital camera. My life before my first digital camera is contained in about 12 photo albums in my hallway in my childhood home.

The colors we choose to surround ourselves with may not be intentional but can say so much. The unique thing about photography is that it captures the moment that just was. Not only does that moment have the have a subject but a background. More than likely that background is going to have the most prominent color in it. That is what sparked this analysis.

I loaded every photo I have ever taken or have been in into R and scanned each one pulling out the most prominent color. Below is the data visualization that shows the most prominent color from every photo I have taken over the last 10 years. Each slice is one photo. It may be difficult to grasp the number of photos per year, so I have provided a barplot showing the volume of photos per yer.


Some notable times in my life can be seen here. One is the reddish-brown to dark grayish black in 2014, during that time I was exploring the outdoors more and a lot of my photo started to reflect that. That particular time was during a rock climbing trip where I got to photograph my friends exploring the mountains of Southern California.

Following that in 2015, a lot more blue starts to appear. This is when I started to get into backpacking and exploring the outdoors. The scattered white strips are the few time it has snowed in Southern California. Each one of these lines represents a moment in my life and it is strange for me to see it summarized in such a way.

This will bar chart will make it easier to see the volume of photos per year.


I have also included my source code if anyone else would like to do this for their photos. In the future, I will be thinking of new ways to create a better visualization to show such large amounts of color.


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