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Thread: Film is Racist

  1. #11
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    At the Kodak labs one year long long ago, we had a photo of a green dog. Everyone "knew" something was wrong and so they sent it back as a reject to be reprinted. After many tries, the green dog was white!

    The customer returned his photos. His dog, he said, had fallen into a can of green paint and they took pictures of him before they cleaned him up. We reprinted the pictures.

    PE

  2. #12

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    What on earth has any of this got to do with voting for democrats??? Place gets weirder every time I come here.

    I have a black wife and a black kitty cat. It's really not hard to figure out how to properly expose them w/ Kodak film, or any other film.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ParkerSmithPhoto View Post
    Over at Buzzfeed, there is a very long article on how Kodak color negative film is/was racist.
    Absolutely. Known it for years. I am totally committed to the integration of black, white, and every conceivable tone between. Should I read the article?

  4. #14
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    On a similar not the author should make an article on my Soviet era camera: it doesn't aknowledge my Ukrainian side. In every self portrait I took with my Kiev 88 I looked like Gorbachov. It got so irritating I had to put it down. That is, until one day I found out that there was a tiny borsch stain on the bottom portion of the lens.
    Last edited by yurisrey; 05-01-2014 at 08:01 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: placement of borsch stain was backwards
    "The real work was thinking, just thinking." - Charles Chaplin

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    Thank you for the confirmation, Photo Engineer.

    I do know that Kodak made Ultima 100 especially for the India market. Did other film formulations vary by market?
    http://wwwin.kodak.com/IN/images/en/...Lflt_V1.12.pdf

  6. #16
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    Wonder if all B&W film isnt racial then - only includes 'two races'... No? :-P

    Sent from Tap-a-talk

  7. #17
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    Having worked in a photo lab in the past, and having been a professional photographer for 20 years, here's my take on color film and Black People:

    There are two problems that I saw that caused the skin tones of Blacks to look crappy. One is that you have to give enough exposure to keep detail in their faces, even shadowed areas and their hair (I've never met a Black person with truly black skin, but most do have very black hair). White people skin tones fall on a part of the film's tone curve that you can over or under expose it and still have it fall in the part of the film's tonal curve that maintains full detail. A Black person's skin, and especially their hair, falls low on the film's curve where there is virtually no room for underexposure without losing detail. I saw A LOT of film with portraits of Black folks that were underexposed. It is impossible to get good skin tones from those negs. This is not racism, it is just how negative film renders anything that is dark...it cannot be underexposed, not even a bit, and keep good detail and color.

    The other issue is that minilab machines, at least the ones I worked on back in the late 1990s, did a terrible job of rendering dark skin tones with the right color balance, even from properly exposed negs. The labs I worked at gave generally good rendering of White people, but Black people came out too reddish/orangish. Most of the techs set the machine on full auto and gave the customer what it gave. Since the customer didn't understand that the printing has a gigantic impact on color, it is understandable that Black people might think the film is at fault and that manufacturers didn't care about them. I started printing film for Black customers manually so I could adjust the color correctly. When a Black customer dropped film to the lab when I was working, I'd tell them that the machine did a crappy job of printing Black skin with the right color balance and that if they gave me a little extra time (it was a one hour lab), I'd print their film manually. No one ever said no to the offer, and the customers would tell me after they got the photos back that they had always assumed that film just didn't work well for Blacks. Many of them became regular customers who would ask for me to do their work, and were willing to wait if they came in on a day I wasn't working.

    Film gives beautiful skin tones with people of any race; it was the automated minilabs that were messing things up at the printing stage!
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  8. #18
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    Velvia 50 doesn't take nice skin tones of euro-descent white people. Is that Fuji being racist against non-japanese?
    An awful lot of electrons were terribly inconvenienced in the making of this post.

  9. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by yurisrey View Post
    On a similar not the author should make an article on my Soviet era camera: it doesn't aknowledge my Ukrainian side. In every self portrait I took with my Kiev 88 I looked like Gorbachov. It got so irritating I had to put it down. That is, until one day I found out that there was a tiny borsch stain on the bottom portion of the lens.
    I had to hold on to my chair so as to not fall down as i was laughing so hard (and even louder as i read the edit note).

    @this thread: The US is an extremely racist place, where racial segregation is still on many law books in many places, and where until not long ago water fountains were segregated, and until not long before that some humans were considered to be property in part, due to their place of origin and skin color. The situation today might be "portrayed" otherwise an has not really changed much 1mm below the surface. Ignoring those facts, and dismissing this article as propaganda of some agenda or politicization of something inane just exemplifies how bad the situation really is.

    It's even worse if its dismissed as some techinchal failing that is natural to the system. Read: face recognition systems are designed to only recognize Caucasian faces, its not a far stretch to see how this applies to every other piece of technology.

    Americans need to be reminded every day and every second that they are responsible for the near complete annihilation of an entire people, and the de humanazing of countless others. And without a reductio ad hitlerum clause being opened against me its always good to remember those "we shall not forget" and "never again" said at germans, all germans, regardless of when they were born (or where) about the moral implications of their past even if only by association, the same applies to all Americans.
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  10. #20
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    Back to the topic...I had occasion to take a portrait of a couple a few weeks ago. His skin was very, very light and her's was very dark. (She was a native of the Philippines.)

    I was worried about getting enough light on her face without blowing out his, and was beyond delighted with how well Portra 160 handled things. Brilliant stuff, Portra.
    I shoot digital when I have to (most of those shots end up here) and film (occasionally one of those shots ends up here) when I want to.

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