Broomberg and Chanarin say their work, on show at Johannesburg’s Goodman Gallery, examines “the radical notion that prejudice might be inherent in the medium of photography itself”. They argue that early colour film was predicated on white skin: in 1977, when Jean-Luc Godard was invited on an assignment to Mozambique, he refused to use Kodak film on the grounds that the stock was inherently “racist”.
The light range was so narrow, Broomberg said, that “if you exposed film for a white kid, the black kid sitting next to him would be rendered invisible except for the whites of his eyes and teeth”. It was only when Kodak’s two biggest clients – the confectionary and furniture industries – complained that dark chocolate and dark furniture were losing out that it came up with a solution.
Makes perfect sense to me. The human eye always adjusts to see people’s faces but the technology of photography developed around adjusting to white people only. You can probably dig deeper and look at the cultural institution that developed around photography for what came to be accepted as “what the camera likes” and the aesthetics of palettes and light conditions and such for more normalization of racist standards. Same can probably be said of a great deal of Eurocentric art, aesthetics, and technology in general.
So glad someone identified this tendency. When I did photography, I found my POC friends impossible to light with the reccomendations given by most photography blogs and such. I also found no techniques on how to photograph people with darker skin tones because even DSLRS require different types of exposures for darker skin.
Are these people serious
Yep cause it’s true
Film is an inherently racist medium, which seems unfortunately to bemost discussed by white authors (Richard Dyer, though, does have a lot of good information in White)
But when Spike Lee has to come up with his own methods of cinematography to film black people, something is definitely wrong
Or when I show up as a dark blob in photos with my white friends, or when I’m the only one who’s face isn’t picked up by any recognition technology, then I’d say film and photography are definitely racist media
idk how much we should be taking cues on racism from JLG tbh
Also the filters that get used for photo editing (digital and otherwise). Like, I think loads of pictures are specially developed with this blue tone that really lightens people up (while also making everything look washed out). And all the common tutorials (both on tumblr and elsewhere) to improve the lighting/image quality of screencaps for edits and gifs are totally useless for darker skin tones. I wish there were better fandom resources for this shit because it’s fucking frustrating.
reblogging to add:
“Montré Aza Missouri, an assistant professor in film at Howard University, recalls being told by one of her instructors in London that “if you found yourself in the ‘unfortunate situation’ of shooting on the ‘Dark Continent,’ and if you’re shooting dark-skinned people, then you should rub Vaseline on their skin in order to reflect light. It was never an issue of questioning the technology.” In her classes at Howard, Missouri says, “I talk to my students about the idea that the tools used to make film, the science of it, are not racially neutral.”
Missouri reminds her students that the sensors used in light meters have been calibrated for white skin; rather than resorting to the offensive Vaseline solution, they need to manage the built-in bias of their instruments, in this case opening their cameras’ apertures one or two stops to allow more light through the lens. Filmmakers working with celluloid also need to take into account that most American film stocks weren’t manufactured with a sensitive enough dynamic range to capture a variety of dark skin tones. Even the female models whose images are used as reference points for color balance and tonal density during film processing — commonly called “China Girls” — were, until the mid-1990s, historically white.
In the face of such technological chauvinism, filmmakers have been forced to come up with workarounds, including those lights thrown on Poitier and a variety of gels, scrims and filters. But today, such workarounds have been rendered virtually obsolete by the advent of digital cinematography, which allows filmmakers much more flexibility both in capturing images and manipulating them during post-production.”
and from the original article:
The artists feel certain that the ID-2 camera and its boost button were Polaroid’s answer to South Africa’s very specific need. “Black skin absorbs 42% more light. The button boosts the flash exactly 42%,” Broomberg explained. “It makes me believe it was designed for this purpose.”
In 1970 Caroline Hunter, a young chemist working for Polaroid in America, stumbled upon evidence that the company was effectively supporting apartheid. She and her partner Ken Williams formed the Polaroid Workers Revolutionary Movement and campaigned for a boycott. By 1977 Polaroid had withdrawn from South Africa, spurring an international divestment movement that was crucial to bringing down apartheid.
The title of the exhibition, To Photograph the Details of a Dark Horse in Low Light, refers to the coded phrase used by Kodak to describe a new film stock created in the early 1980s to address the inability of earlier films to accurately render dark skin.
The show also features norm reference cards that always used white women as a standard for measuring and calibrating skin tones when printing photographs. The series of “Kodak Shirleys” were named after the first model featured. Today such cards show multiple races.
Forever reblog with added commentary
Yes! It’s back! I was trying to find this post
Added information. I really really need a book on cinematography techniques for lighting darker skin tones
I’ve posted information about this before, and I want to reblog it again because it’s so important.
People really need to understand what it means that racism is built into so many of our technologies, our education, our lives…too many people seem to believe that racism is about feelings and interactions.
A lot of the photos I have posted of artworks are old photographs that use films that oversaturate dark skin tones or blast them out with contrast. They need to be modified where possible in order for dark skinned people portrayed in the paintings to be visible at all.
It’s fine for men to watch shojo anime and read shojo manga like Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura.
It’s fine for men to make pornographic doujinshi of these, buy figurines, and jack off to the characters.
It’s fine for men to completely invade a Pretty Cure forum created for young girls and scare said girls away. It’s fine for these men to twist the entire fandom around themselves, its fine for them to show up to Pretty Cure events in throngs and its fine for them to frantically grab all the free handouts before any of the girls can.
It’s also fine for men to take these magical girl anime made for girls that celebrate being a girl and make them all about their pornography and which girl they most want to put their dick in. It’s fine, because theres even a cute name for them, ‘Ooki Tomodachi’ (Big Friend).
It’s fine for them to do the same with My Little Pony, of course. It’s fine that they can make the voice actors of the show uncomfortable with personal questions, its fine that they can yell out rape jokes to them at conventions, its fine that they have basically made it impossible for any of the 8 year old girls the show was made for to ever google it in public. It’s fine for them to gather in the toy stores around the pony toys and intimidate young girls. It’s fine that the whole show, created to celebrate femininity and how ‘theres no wrong way to be a girl’ is now associated with their fetishes. And its so fine that these male fans get given a cute name (‘brony’), get documentaries made about them, have newspaper article after blog post after feature talking about how they are ‘challenging gender norms’ and ‘transforming pop culture’.
But if a girl ‘trespasses’ into a male space, what happens? (Even when it isnt ‘trespassing’, in the case of Free!, in which a space was actually made for us ) We can expect such timeless classics as: degradation, ‘you’re not even a REAL fan!’ ‘I bet you dont even know ______’, all kinds of threats, and, of course, the posts you see on this blog.” —
This nailed my anger at the whole Brony phenomenon perfectly, yo.
I only just heard about a teen girl being harassed with rape threats because she spoke up about the triggery “Princess Molestia” meme rampant in the fandom. I think this post is very relevant.
This! This nails what makes me so uncomfortable about brony stuff. I don’t care if guys like “girl” things. What bothers me is how they move into a female space and take it over and make it all about their dicks, then act offended when women get uncomfortable with it. They cannot imagine a space that they can’t co-opt and make their own.
BUT they also can’t imagine women having their own space OR invading a “male” space like comic books or science fiction. Jesus fucking christ, dudes, could we women get a little fucking space?
Tippi Benjamine Okanti Degré, daughter of French wildlife photographers Alain Degré and Sylvie Robert, was born in Namibia. During her childhood she befriended many wild animals, including a 28-year old elephant called Abu and a leopard nicknamed J&B. She was embraced by the Bushmen and the Himba tribespeople of the Kalahari, who taught her how to survive on roots and berries, as well as how to speak their language.
As some of you may know, our shop has been on vacation for a few months. But we’re open again and to celebrate we’re having a giveaway! Woohoo!
HOW TO ENTER:1) You must be following me here at featherandmoss.tumblr.com.
2) Reblog this here post (with the text!!!)
*You can “like” the post, but only reblogs will count toward your entry.
3) We must be able to contact you through Tumblr Ask to notify you if you’ve won!
WHAT YOU RECEIVE IF YOU WIN:
This set has a bit of everything-
• green calcite specimen
• deer antler tip and vertebra and molar
• opossum vertebra
• vial of rodent skulls and jaw
• coyote metatarsal
• mink skull
• vial with rabbit leg bone
• vial of two beetle wings
• one plant fossil
• antique skeleton key
• quartz crystal point
• galena on matrix
• one seashell
The contest will run from 11/10 to 11/17 when we will select and contact a winner — you must respond within 72 hours with an address to which we can send your goodies. If we don’t hear from you by then, we will select another winner.
Good luck to you all!