The accumulation of large collections of digital images has created the need for efficient and intelligent schemes for content-based image retrieval. Our goal is to organize the contents semantically, according to meaningful categories. We present a new approach for semantic classification that utilizes a recently proposed color-texture segmentation algorithm (by Chen et al.), which combines knowledge of human perception and signal characteristics to segment natural scenes into perceptually uniform regions. The color and texture features of these regions are used as medium level descriptors, based on which we extract semantic labels, first at the segment and then at the scene level. The segment features consist of spatial texture orientation information and color composition in terms of a limited number of locally adapted dominant colors. The focus of this paper is on region classification. We use a hierarchical vocabulary of segment labels that is consistent with those used in the NIST TRECVID 2003 development set. We test the approach on a database of 9000 segments obtained from 2500 photographs of natural scenes. For training and classification we use the Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA) technique. We examine the performance of the algorithm (precision and recall rates) when different sets of features (e.g., one or two most dominant colors versus four quantized dominant colors) are used. Our results indicate that the proposed approach offers significant performance improvements over existing approaches.