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Colour film was built for white skin

Discussion in 'Photography News Forum' started by Mike Singh, Jun 17, 2018.

  1. Mike Singh

    Mike Singh Always on Premium Member

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  2. JAH-WAR

    JAH-WAR Always on Premium Member

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    FFS!! Racist rolls of film. What ever next:rolleyes:
     
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  3. SFTphotography

    SFTphotography Old Hand

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    Racist snow.
     
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  4. JAH-WAR

    JAH-WAR Always on Premium Member

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    And what about the paper that prints are printed on. OMG!!!:D:D
     
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  5. mikew

    mikew Always on

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    Ime not racist ime using the black theme on here :D
     
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  6. JAH-WAR

    JAH-WAR Always on Premium Member

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    Me to innit blud!;)
     
  7. SFTphotography

    SFTphotography Old Hand

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    And the KKK who clearly painted my car

    Damned xenophobic, bigoted and misinformed paint ;)
    IMG_2777.JPG
     
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  8. MikeB

    MikeB Always on Premium Member

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    OK we need a fact check. Conflating light with white is a mistake. To say color film was made for white people is probably taking this a step too far and may itself demonstrate a bias. A projection of social issues onto unrelated subjects. To state that the research and development of photographic color film is an example of racial bias and to demonstrate such bias by showing poorly exposed images is irresponsible.

    From the perspective of exposure (forget the colors) shooting a light subject and maintaining all of the detail in the shadows and shooting a dark subject while maintaining all of the shadow details are significantly different challenges.

    Reproducing colors in photography goes back to the 1890s. Kodak was the first to market color film in the late 1930s and their product was overly complex to develop and print and therefore expensive. It also had a lot of limitations with regards to color gamut, lighting, and dynamic range. Because early color film was not very accurate or sensitive it was not mass marketed until the early 1970s when, by then, accuracy and sensitivity were improved enough to be accepted (not perfected).

    Kodak was in the business of selling and developing film. The early history of color film demonstrates how the manufacturers (including Agfa) started with color films of limited capability and slowly improved the products. How color is "captured" by film is an extraordinarily complex process that combines the chemicals and dyes in the emulsion and the chemicals necessary for the development of the image. The process of bringing color film to market was an additive process in that the manufacturers continued to research and market films having more accurate colors, better dynamic range, and less expensive emulsions and development. To say, as the film does, that certain capabilities were "left out" gives the impression of intent. In reading the history of color film, I've never come across anything to suggest that manufacturers avoided producing accurate colors. It seems to me that the film manufacturers produced films that represented what could be produced at the time for the market that had the greatest demand. As market demand increased for colors that the film produced inadequately (such as the browns in the dark wood and the chocolate examples in the video), the film manufacturers would research and improve their products.

    Would the research and testing of the developing technology show a preference towards the colors, especially skin tones, demanded by the market, sure I can believe that - but not to the exclusion of darker tones which would provide a wider market. Color film was marketed and sold well before it could produce accurate colors, had a good dynamic range or was sensitive to low light. Any manufacturer that waits until the product is perfected before marketing its product will lose the entire market to competitors. Building cameras for right handedness is a recognition that the market is 90% right handed, not proof that camera manufacturers discriminate against left handedness.

    I believe the primary issue of capturing light skin and dark skin in photography is more of an issue of reflectivity, dynamic range and exposure. An experienced photographer using a perfect color film capable of capturing any color, yet having the limited dynamic range found with color films, will always have difficulty getting the exposure and colors correct in an environment that has both very light colors and very dark colors whether you mix in very light and very dark people or not. An experienced photographer will likely resort to managing the light to make the shot work. Much simpler to do in post processing with digital images.

    I'm not even sure that this is an issue with color film. Shooting B&W film has all of the same issues, except the color. While dynamic range is better, the issues of reflectivity and exposure are the same and it is only with the latest B&W films that we see good dynamic range though still not as good as today's digital sensor.

    Shooting the highest dynamic range digital cameras today that can capture more colors than we can differentiate, a dynamic range twice that of film, and sensitivity to low light orders of magnitude greater than film one can still produce terrible images like those shown in the video.

    The video is based on Lorna Roth's research. "Her research and teaching interests include: Media and Minorities, Neo-Colonial Theory and “Development,” Race, Representation, & Technologies, International Communication, Indigenous Television and Media History, New Media and First Peoples, Mediating Oral Histories, Oral History as Cultural Performance, and Civic Journalism."

    Ms. Roth has many articles on-line, all well written. Some of which appear to have a clear bias with regards her interpretation of the facts as well as intent such as her riff on the "Shirley cards" (https://www.cjc-online.ca/index.php/journal/article/view/2196). A major project of hers is the "Coloured Balance Project" (http://colourbalance.lornaroth.com/).

    Oprah Winfrey struggled with poor lighting and color fidelity in her early TV shows. Then along came an assistant lighting director (Sean “Sid” Post) who knew how to balance lighting for proper exposures - everything changed.

    The video is well done, however its premise and conclusions are the result of a biased perspective.
     
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  9. Andy 0

    Andy 0 Always on Premium Member

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    Some interesting points raised Mike, and thank you for linking the articles.

    As a slight aside, through the NTSC to PAL conversion many of us all thought you were green until the introduction of digital formats.

    In the erstwhile days of analogue video formats PAL was not kind to NTSC skin tones. American television certainly stood out in PAL countries as the colour matching between formats was bluntly horrendous.

    It's from a (very) robust UK parody program, but if you want to see a not too inaccurate take on how US television looked here in the 1990s this clip is a good example.

    Contains language and scenes of violence.
     
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