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Light And Dark: The Racial Biases That Remain In Photography
NPR Code Switch ^ | April 16, 2014 | Tell Me More Staff

Posted on 04/16/2014 9:44:01 PM PDT by KneelBeforeZod

A lot of [the design of film and motion technology] was conceived with the idea of the best representation of white people. And I don't mean to say that it was a deliberate and exclusionary practice, but [it was] much more of a willful obliviousness, if you will. So color film in its early stages pretty much developed around trying to measure the image against white skin. ...

(Excerpt) Read more at npr.org ...


TOPICS: Arts/Photography; Miscellaneous; Society
KEYWORDS: photography
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A "photographer" who has never seen a gray card.
1 posted on 04/16/2014 9:44:01 PM PDT by KneelBeforeZod
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To: KneelBeforeZod

If there’s racial bias in photography, then why isn’t it called “White and Black Film”? The star always gets the lead billing.


2 posted on 04/16/2014 9:47:47 PM PDT by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: KneelBeforeZod

Clearly photography needs to be limited to two levels of illumination.


3 posted on 04/16/2014 9:54:02 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: KneelBeforeZod

When I was a kid, there was a black family down the street that was so racist that they sold their black & white tv and bought a colored one...


4 posted on 04/16/2014 9:59:33 PM PDT by Cowboy Bob (They are called "Liberals" because the word "parasite" was already taken.)
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To: Cowboy Bob

So, do they today have a TV of color?


5 posted on 04/16/2014 10:01:39 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: KneelBeforeZod
A lot of [the design of film and motion technology] was conceived with the idea of the best representation of white people.

Well, sure. That's the best explanation for pretty much everything. Do you know why the telephone company calls their residential phone book the "White Pages"? To make white people feel superior!

And do you know why Teddy Roosevelt's navy was called the "Great White Fleet"? To make white people feel superior!

I could go on and on. It's so easy to use silly garbage to make Americans hate each other.

6 posted on 04/16/2014 10:04:35 PM PDT by Leaning Right (Why am I holding this lantern? I am looking for the next Reagan.)
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To: KneelBeforeZod

This is crazy.

Cameras have a white balance because daylight is inherently “white”.

The white balance allows adjustments for proper color rendition under different light sources/temperatures, such as incandescent, fluorescent, etc.

This has to be the worst looking-for-offense scheme I’ve ever seen.

Blame Newton and Goethe!


7 posted on 04/16/2014 10:12:03 PM PDT by Salamander (Agent Of Fortune)
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To: Paladin2

On and off?


8 posted on 04/16/2014 10:12:23 PM PDT by Salamander (Agent Of Fortune)
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To: Salamander
Yep, one bit. Peeps will have to choose which side they are on.

H0lder will have to give up on the Nuance Thing.

9 posted on 04/16/2014 10:17:37 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: All

Honestly I don’t have an axe to grind on this subject.. I take lots of pictures of my friends.. It is mostly hobby based for a local club. I am just a hobbyist with a 10 gig $100 camera. But no matter what it is nearly impossible to get good pictures of My black friends. The lighting has to be just right, and if they are wearing a hat in the sun its impossible. It is hard to believe this camera can take so many good pictures with no skill needed, and yet fail at this one thing so badly.


10 posted on 04/16/2014 10:18:38 PM PDT by uncle fenders
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To: uncle fenders

You must have bought it from Ku Klux Kamera in Alabama.


11 posted on 04/16/2014 10:26:37 PM PDT by Right Brother
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To: KneelBeforeZod

I knew it! Ansel Adams was a Wascist!


12 posted on 04/16/2014 10:28:31 PM PDT by PA Engineer (Liberate America from the Occupation Media.)
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To: KneelBeforeZod
I feel a song coming on ... that was 35 years ago!
13 posted on 04/16/2014 10:28:43 PM PDT by dr_lew
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To: KneelBeforeZod

I had a photography book years ago, probably published by Kodak, that dealt with photographing black people. And what it said was: There is nothing special you need to know about photographing black people. It is exactly the same as photographing white people.


14 posted on 04/16/2014 10:37:43 PM PDT by Arthur McGowan
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To: Paladin2
Pffft.

This is why I do IR.

Nobody sees the color until I say they can see the color....;D


15 posted on 04/16/2014 10:37:44 PM PDT by Salamander (Agent Of Fortune)
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To: uncle fenders

Try fill flash which might be called something like “portrait fill” or “outside portrait mode” on your camera.

It might even be a setting for ‘portrait shade’.

It’s on there somewhere, though.

If I can get good pix of coal blue-black Dobes, you can get good pix of your buds.

:)


16 posted on 04/16/2014 10:40:47 PM PDT by Salamander (Agent Of Fortune)
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To: uncle fenders

Well, they’re dark! It’s photography!


17 posted on 04/16/2014 10:44:53 PM PDT by dr_lew
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To: Arthur McGowan

What else are they gonna say?


18 posted on 04/16/2014 10:48:33 PM PDT by dr_lew
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To: KneelBeforeZod

There was so much stupid in that article that it makes my head hurt.


19 posted on 04/16/2014 10:49:17 PM PDT by Kirkwood (Zombie Hunter)
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To: uncle fenders; Salamander
"It is nearly impossible to get good pictures of My black friends"

You talkin' 'bout Black Labs?

There is one of those in the fam and she is just about impossible to capture digitally unless you set the camera to capture low level light reflection and let everything else go. I swear her fur is about the most light absorptive material I've ever seen, though she has a fur sheen in strong sunlight that people remark about..

20 posted on 04/16/2014 10:51:33 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: Salamander
"I do IR."

Digital IR?

I have seen that digital cams can capture more of the IR spectrum, but one would have to do a filter to take advantage of just the IR and then false color it.

21 posted on 04/16/2014 10:54:26 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: Paladin2

I have volunteered my services at the local animal shelter to try and avert the “black dog syndrome” via *good* photos of their dogs.

The snobby jerks said they have their own photographer.
[an under-educated employee with a pocket camera]

But yeah, Labs tend to be like black holes, sucking in all the light of the room.

:D

You think it’s hard to photograph them, you should try painting one.

Yikes.

Stressful.

The key is disregarding what you *see* and painting instead, what the viewer should see.

Lots and lots of white/washed out blues, blacks and grays with bits of green, brown or red.

It defies explanation.

Black Poodles and Chows are even worse.

The defining highlights tend to just not be there so you gotta get “creative”.


22 posted on 04/16/2014 11:03:31 PM PDT by Salamander (Agent Of Fortune)
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To: dr_lew

There’s a ton of techniques for photographing other dark subjects so as not to lose shadow or light.

In my photography classes, we were often given “impossible” dark objects which we had to creatively light in order to show all or most of the object while still maintaining the dimensionality of it.

Then again, Kodak was not much of a source for photo techniques beyond really basic stuff.


23 posted on 04/16/2014 11:07:23 PM PDT by Salamander (Agent Of Fortune)
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To: Paladin2

I have a Fuji forensic IS1 which is set up for IR only and several other older digicams which are *really* sensitive to IR, such as the Oly C2020 [the best] and the Oly 2100.

They were made before the cut filters were placed to stop the “x ray voyeur” syndrome.
[so stupid, I know]

As cool as the Fuji is, the Oly C2020 is the killer for false color IR...handheld exposure, real-time view, no less.

I have a slew of filters that offer insane ranges of false color, which I like better than straight B/W IR.

And then there’s the tons of PS filters to fiddle with endlessly.

I’m also messing with UV and full spectrum but IR is what I like most.


24 posted on 04/16/2014 11:14:22 PM PDT by Salamander (Agent Of Fortune)
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To: Salamander
"Lots and lots of white/washed out blues, blacks and grays with bits of green, brown or red."

Clearly shifting the lighting values is the only way to be able to see them. The Black Dog seems to have but purple highlights, not unlike Ravens.

I think it can be done digitally if the camera is initially setup to capture small variation in light levels in the dark region.

That's why I'm happy to have the Yellow Lab colored dog, 'cause I can actually see her on a dark night in the back yard. The Black Dog could easily work outside in the night for the CIA as a spook....

25 posted on 04/16/2014 11:16:33 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: Salamander
Then again, Kodak was not much of a source for photo techniques beyond really basic stuff.

Plus, what else were they gonna say?

26 posted on 04/16/2014 11:32:51 PM PDT by dr_lew
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To: PA Engineer
Wascist!

Vas ist, mein herr?

27 posted on 04/16/2014 11:33:26 PM PDT by Misterioso
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To: PA Engineer
That's my case in a nutshell.

10 levels of light? Sacre Bleu.

I can take that pic with but 2 levels.

28 posted on 04/16/2014 11:35:29 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: dr_lew

They also said it was widely believed that there were special techniques, different lighting, etc., that were needed. That’s what they were denying.

Most snapshots are just crummy. People of all colors take horrible pictures of people of all colors.

Just watch Gone With the Wind, and you can see why the makeup artists, the cinematographers, the lighting experts, etc., made the big bucks. Everybody of every color looks great.

This NPR story is just pure crap. Looking for racism where there is none.

The real problem is all those racist cell phones that keep recording black youths knocking out white people.


29 posted on 04/16/2014 11:36:34 PM PDT by Arthur McGowan
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To: Right Brother
LOL

LOL.

30 posted on 04/16/2014 11:37:44 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: Paladin2

Exactly like ravens!

I have clip-on flashing LEDs for my dogs, if we’re outside for very long at night so I know where they are.

Since they guard silently at night, *not* seeing them is an advantage.

Imagine a burglar’s’ surprise.

:D

When I was young and lived at home, my dad was always yelling about my Dobes “suddenly appearing from nowhere” and goosing him when he came home from 2nd shift at midnight.

Freaked him out every time.


31 posted on 04/16/2014 11:38:18 PM PDT by Salamander (Agent Of Fortune)
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To: Salamander

I’m going to have to check this out tomorrow...


32 posted on 04/16/2014 11:38:39 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: dr_lew

I would have delicately suggested some things but that’s just me.

:)


33 posted on 04/16/2014 11:39:19 PM PDT by Salamander (Agent Of Fortune)
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To: Paladin2

Olympus C2020s go pretty cheap on eBay, despite their reputation as *the* IR digicam.

Less than $50 will net you a decent one.

The expense is buying the old SmartMedia cards and a card reader.

All you really need is a 72 [720nm] filter.

The 25 is really *too* red unless you’re aiming for B/W results.


34 posted on 04/16/2014 11:42:45 PM PDT by Salamander (Agent Of Fortune)
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To: Salamander
"Freaked him out every time. "

LOL.

I do have a clip-on LED capable of flashing for when we get to host the Big Black Dog (BBD).

35 posted on 04/16/2014 11:43:09 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: Paladin2

Best starting point

http://dpfwiw.com/ir.htm


36 posted on 04/16/2014 11:43:56 PM PDT by Salamander (Agent Of Fortune)
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To: Paladin2

Does it look purple when off but is really screaming bright red when on?

Has several flash modes, including “epilepsy”?

;D

[I’d hear dad in the driveway every night at 12:20 AM and wait for the “WOOOO!” as they poked him in the butt with their noses. They were just saying “Hey”] ;]


37 posted on 04/16/2014 11:47:16 PM PDT by Salamander (Agent Of Fortune)
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To: Salamander
"wait for the “WOOOO!” as they poked him in the butt with their noses. They were just saying “Hey”] ;]"

You shouldn't have been stayin' up so late....

38 posted on 04/16/2014 11:54:03 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: KneelBeforeZod
"A lot of [the design of film and motion technology] was conceived with the idea of the best representation of white people."

Just when you thought N.utty P.rogressive R.acists can't get any more ludicrous...

39 posted on 04/16/2014 11:54:16 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (Resist We Much)
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To: Paladin2

It was worth it.


40 posted on 04/16/2014 11:57:24 PM PDT by Salamander (Agent Of Fortune)
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To: KneelBeforeZod

The only bias revealed here is in the fact that somehow this article got published without presenting any facts whatsoever, while being written at a 2nd grade level.

5 minutes I’ll never get back.


41 posted on 04/17/2014 1:51:13 AM PDT by ReaganGeneration2
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To: Salamander

Obviously Jesse Jackson and Hank Aaron need to get on the case.


42 posted on 04/17/2014 1:54:58 AM PDT by T-Bird45 (It feels like the seventies, and it shouldn't.)
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To: KneelBeforeZod

43 posted on 04/17/2014 2:05:49 AM PDT by equaviator (There's nothing like the universe to bring you down to earth.)
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To: T-Bird45

The inventors of the camera obscura are *long* dead.


44 posted on 04/17/2014 2:11:49 AM PDT by Salamander (Agent Of Fortune)
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To: KneelBeforeZod

See, NPR is on to it...same reason we drive over black asphalt every day.

Kooks.


45 posted on 04/17/2014 3:11:08 AM PDT by jughandle ( "We have the right to debate and disagree with any administration!" -HRColl)
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To: KneelBeforeZod

Were black inventors prevented from developing film technology to favor advances beneficial to blacks? If not, why the wringing of hands by this writer?


46 posted on 04/17/2014 3:12:58 AM PDT by SharpRightTurn (White, black, and red all over--America's affirmative action, metrosexual president.)
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To: Leaning Right

Sure. And that is why that proud black ship, the Titanic, was sunk by that racist, white, iceberg.


47 posted on 04/17/2014 4:14:08 AM PDT by battlecry
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To: KneelBeforeZod

Its true. The dark skin just swallows up the light. You see the white faces no prob, but the black faces are just smears. The photographer will have to really work to get some contrast.

It sucks, but I think it is just one of those things you gotta accept. For many black people, incidents like this are a constant reminder of their ‘inferiority’.


48 posted on 04/17/2014 5:05:05 AM PDT by olepap (Your old Pappy)
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To: uncle fenders

It is hard to photograph black stuff.
We have a big black Maine Coon cat. Every photo of him looked like a cutout silhouette. One summer we had a load of dirt delivered to level a few spots in the lawn. The cat decided he liked rolling in this dry dusty dirt and he became gray colored. Photos of him after rolling in the dust were remarkably good and detailed. Two years after this, we bought a new camera. The new camera had a feature that allowed for photos in situations of same color. Mostly it was for taking pictures of snow where everything was white. It allowed us to photograph the cat when he was clean.


49 posted on 04/17/2014 5:07:13 AM PDT by BuffaloJack (Freedom isn't free; nor is it easy. END ALL TOTALITARIAN ACTIVITY NOW.)
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To: KneelBeforeZod

This has to be one of the most stupid articles I have ever read. (My bad for even clicking on it, since I saw right away that it was NPR). Todays cameras often get skin color wrong, from ANY skin. It can be lighting, shadowing, haze, and any number of reasons. That’s why any number of free photo processing software tools have color correction. If someone doesn’t like it, they can FIX IT. Crying and whining about racist cameras is unbecomming.


50 posted on 04/17/2014 5:23:48 AM PDT by norwaypinesavage (for)
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