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Thread: Film is Racist

  1. #21
    yurisrey's Avatar
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    getting back to the article, the author is just presenting an argument and how he has to use a special process in his photography. In school, we were taught how to work around film's limitations with all sorts of skin-tones. It's nothing new and those with experience know what to do. This thread is pointless.
    "The real work was thinking, just thinking." - Charles Chaplin

  2. #22

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    Basically it is a lack of fundamental understanding of the photographic process and what it can and cannot do. Exacerbated to the 'Nth' degree, when the photographer and the subsequent processing are crap or even damn crap! It is simply a case of a bad workman blaming his tools and then tries to make out it is someone else's fault - or - more simply, pass me that compensation claim!.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by markaudacity View Post

    If you think the agenda "make people aware of discrimination" is unacceptable, you are part of the problem.
    It helps if the examples to back up the agenda are rooted in truth and rationality. The writer did not make people aware of discrimination by using fallacious examples to bolster a fatuous assertion. The writer is so caught up in proving her assertion that her examples become almost laughable to informed persons.

    She mentions the Polaroid ID2 camera, citing its use as a "tool for racial segregation and enforcement during the apartheid era." She then says it has a flash boost button to put 42% more light on subjects, and says it would "result in a deliberate darkening of dark-skinned subjects." So, throwing more light makes a subject darker? Huh? Does this person really have a clue about what she's talking about? I mean, she's making some very strong assertions, yet seems to not understand something very basic.

    I certainly would not see Olan Mills as an example of the best in portrait photography, yet she uses their work as an example of deep racism along with examples from minilabs, fer gawd's sakes. Hell, I never thought Olan Mills made anybody really look good. For most of negative color film's existence, a big problem for ordinary users was getting even decent color from cheap processors. Instead of just looking at those, maybe she could have learned something by looking at the pictures made on transparency film by Steve McCurry or Alex Webb, to name a couple of white guys who know how to photograph dark skin. Maybe then she could see that it was not the film that was the problem.

    She mentions the Shirley Card. Apparently she has never heard of a Macbeth Color Checker, or the extent to which real professionals doing product shoots, catalog shoots, etc., would go to ensure accurate color reproduction, because it was necessary in their work. The film they used did not somehow refuse to render brown tones as well as it did others.

    To me, her article is little more than a rant, an immature one at that. It does not hold up under serious scrutiny, though it will play well with others who know no better. She came up with a conclusion, and then attempts to use anything she can to support the conclusion.


    This sort of thing diminishes how terrible things were for non-whites for so long in this country. The racism was not subtle; it took no stretch such as exists in the article to know it was there. And people still living today suffered from it, relegated to second class or third or fourth class status. Many families have stories of family members who were attacked or killed for their skin color. I just hate to see that real suffering diminished by people seeing racism in everything, as if there could be no other explanation.

    The thing is, there is real racism around still; why do people go around digging it up where it doesn't exist?
    Last edited by lxdude; 05-02-2014 at 06:53 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  4. #24
    lxdude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CatLABS View Post
    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.
    Gee, what to make of the fact that the camera that thought an Asian woman blinked when she didn't was designed and made by a Japanese company? Damn that racist Nikon!

    I have a Fuji digital point and shoot that renders colors well, except for red. Deep reds come out a bright red, and bright reds look fluorescent. Did Fuji have a reason for doing that, or is it just something they needed to improve?
    I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
    When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.

  5. #25
    Regular Rod's Avatar
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    Rather than blame the tools for inadequate results it would be better to blame the lazy workmen (and women) that misused them!

    It was perfectly possible to expose colour film to render beautiful results showing a black person's skin in the same frame as a perfectly rendered version of a white person's skin well before the dates she claimed for the "brown furniture" changes.


    Consider In the Heat of the Night from 1967




    The film makers used the tools properly and we enjoyed the results.


    Just because so many (including herself by her own account) failed to achieve similar results is not the fault of the film stock or the lighting equipment or the cameras. It was their fault that they didn't use these correctly. A lack of skill is the culprit not a lack of consideration.

    RR

  6. #26
    RalphLambrecht's Avatar
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    what do you call Zone V skin?
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

  7. #27
    RalphLambrecht's Avatar
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    That's why I shoot B&W.I like the tones better.
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

  8. #28
    ParkerSmithPhoto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jovo View Post
    @ Parker Smith....Just looked at your website...gorgeous work! The encounter with Emmit Gowin on your blog is a terrific story.
    @Jovo

    Thanks for checking out the site and for your kind words. I really appreciate it.
    Parker Smith Photography, Inc.
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    Commercial & Fine Art Photography
    Portrait Photography

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom1956 View Post
    Another edit: the trick to shooting dark-skinned black people is to blast their faces out with full frontal lighting. The work turns out perfect.
    When I photograph black families in my studio I always use an Octalight or a medium soft box in the butterfly lighting setup, plus a couple of gentle edge lights. You really do need to get light coming from right above the lens axis. Then again, I light a lot of white people this way, cause it just looks terrific!
    Parker Smith Photography, Inc.
    Atlanta, GA

    Commercial & Fine Art Photography
    Portrait Photography

  10. #30
    AgX
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom1956 View Post
    The trick to shooting dark-skinned black people is to blast their faces out with full frontal lighting. The work turns out perfect.

    But pure frontal lighting is not the typical portrait lighting. So from an alledgedly biased film one comes to biased lighting.

    Or did I get something wrong here?

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