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(NPR)   Your camera is racist   (npr.org) divider line 105
    More: Unlikely, McFadden, photography, racists, Tell Me More  
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8109 clicks; posted to Main » on 17 Apr 2014 at 9:54 AM (22 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-04-17 02:17:56 AM
So is you TV. I worked for a company that had to deal with this problem.

People in different parts of the world tend to see or perceive color a bit differently, and the color balance of LCD screens tends to be different in Asia versus the US.

The problem is compounded by the mechanics of homes. Dedicated TV rooms are more common in the US, and are usually kept somewhat dark. In Asia, the TV is often in a main part of the house, and therefore well lit. Thus backlighting is usually different to serve this markets.

At least that is the way it was 5 years ago when I had to worry about it.
 
2014-04-17 04:49:25 AM

mr_a: So is you TV. I worked for a company that had to deal with this problem.

People in different parts of the world tend to see or perceive color a bit differently, and the color balance of LCD screens tends to be different in Asia versus the US.

The problem is compounded by the mechanics of homes. Dedicated TV rooms are more common in the US, and are usually kept somewhat dark. In Asia, the TV is often in a main part of the house, and therefore well lit. Thus backlighting is usually different to serve this markets.

At least that is the way it was 5 years ago when I had to worry about it.


There were many green people on the early color teevees. Were they aliens?
 
2014-04-17 07:17:52 AM
This seems like a gigantic ton of crap...
 
2014-04-17 09:12:32 AM
My favorite brand of baked cheese flavored snack crackers are also racist.
 
2014-04-17 09:25:09 AM
Not my camera.  My camera has a black friend.
 
2014-04-17 09:38:56 AM
img.izifunny.com
 
2014-04-17 09:57:49 AM
I'm pretty sure it boils down to photons, which are incredibly racist.

Btw, did you know that 75% of the matter in the universe is dark matter? Oh we don't even talk about THAT. We ignore the fact it even exists, and in fact we have a term for dark matter - we call them WIMPs. That's some f*cked up sh*t there. I'm just sayin. Science is racist.
 
2014-04-17 09:58:14 AM
www.tc.umn.edu
 
2014-04-17 09:58:17 AM
When I used to run sound for a living, I would get a stage plot, input list and the contract rider for the bands a few weeks prior to the show. Invariably, if the act was black, or the featured performer was, the rider would include instructions for the lighting director that "no amber lighting of any kind" be used because it makes their skin look green.

/CSB
 
2014-04-17 09:59:35 AM

Barfmaker: This seems like a gigantic ton of crap...


Came here to say this. Friggin click bait
 
2014-04-17 10:01:47 AM
Stop using shiat cameras.
 
2014-04-17 10:02:08 AM
Naw.  It's a heritage thing.  My camera's second aunts great great grandfather took photographs for the Confederacy.
 
2014-04-17 10:02:13 AM

BATMANATEE: [img.izifunny.com image 640x470]


Came here for this.
 
2014-04-17 10:02:32 AM
Here's a far more informative, interesting article about how digital photography is improving the ability to capture a wider range of skin tones in films.
 
2014-04-17 10:03:06 AM

ChrisDe: [www.tc.umn.edu image 480x318]


Kind of unrelated, but I find it amusing that in 1994, the two headline issues are... health care and gays, pretty much the same as 20 years later.
 
2014-04-17 10:04:00 AM
And my cell phone is weirdly antisemitic.
 
2014-04-17 10:04:33 AM
My stools are racist.

/tar baby black.
 
2014-04-17 10:04:45 AM
For farks sake. Cameras are "biased" to expose for 18% grey. Anything outside of that is going to be under or over exposed unless the photographer knows what they are doing. I'm pasty white and am constantly blown out in photos, especially ones with a flash. Get over it.
 
2014-04-17 10:04:54 AM

FlippityFlap: When I used to run sound for a living, I would get a stage plot, input list and the contract rider for the bands a few weeks prior to the show. Invariably, if the act was black, or the featured performer was, the rider would include instructions for the lighting director that "no amber lighting of any kind" be used because it makes their skin look green.

/CSB


No amberlamps? What if someone gets hurt?
 
2014-04-17 10:05:33 AM
So Fuji film makes everyone yellow tone-ish? Ha, ha, you are serious? I'll laugh even harder. Bad skills and poor printing judgment makes for terrible prints. ( like my golf game, I always blame the clubs, or the ball, or the wind, or the grass!).

Used to be a pro wedding/ event photog. Boy, do brides think their egg shell bride's dress is white, (or ecru, ivory, or marble dust, or antique white, or babypowder...). And the lighting in the church is crap, or outdoors when the clouds blow in, or surrounded by blue bridesmaid dresses, or red, yellow, etc... what a headache. Printing out on papers the same colour that the eye/brain sees... so messed up!
 
2014-04-17 10:05:43 AM
Just because my camera is black doesn't make me racist.
 
2014-04-17 10:06:36 AM
You can never run out of things to discuss the racism of.
 
2014-04-17 10:07:16 AM

FlippityFlap: When I used to run sound for a living, I would get a stage plot, input list and the contract rider for the bands a few weeks prior to the show. Invariably, if the act was black, or the featured performer was, the rider would include instructions for the lighting director that "no amber lighting of any kind" be used because it makes their skin look green.

/CSB


Lighting pros know which colors work best for skin tones. You warm up white people with orange and never use green on dark skin for instance.
 
2014-04-17 10:07:49 AM
My camera owned slaves, keeps taking photos of Confederate monuments, and is constantly booking travel to Lexington, VA in order to visit Lee's grave.

We are planning an intervention
 
2014-04-17 10:08:08 AM

Barfmaker: This seems like a gigantic ton of crap...


Seems?
 
2014-04-17 10:09:35 AM

AngryDragon: Barfmaker: This seems like a gigantic ton of crap...

Seems?


Yea, lets just call a spade a spade.
 
2014-04-17 10:12:09 AM

mr_a: So is you TV. I worked for a company that had to deal with this problem.

People in different parts of the world tend to see or perceive color a bit differently, and the color balance of LCD screens tends to be different in Asia versus the US.

The problem is compounded by the mechanics of homes. Dedicated TV rooms are more common in the US, and are usually kept somewhat dark. In Asia, the TV is often in a main part of the house, and therefore well lit. Thus backlighting is usually different to serve this markets.

At least that is the way it was 5 years ago when I had to worry about it.


Back in my day, we had nothing but HUE and TINT knobs... and we LIKED IT!

Actually, not really.  They sucked.  At least they weren't as bad as the damn V-HOLD knob.  We lived way out in the sticks so the vertical hold frequency was frequently of insufficient strength to keep the damn screen from sliding in at the corners all the damn time.  You whippersnappers have no idea how easy you have it these days with digital.  We had to watch multicolored parallelograms.

And God forbid you had to deal with H-HOLD issues.  You just had to change the channel or pretend it was radio at that point.
 
2014-04-17 10:13:03 AM
NeuroticRocker


Just because my camera is black doesn't make me racist.

If you use is and never say thank you, your a racist.
 
2014-04-17 10:13:04 AM
I like NPR in general, but the Code Switch blog seems determined to live up to conservatives' most exaggerated caricatures of liberals (i.e. obsession with identity politics to an absurd degree).  Racism is a serious issue in our society, but trying to make a racial issue out of everything doesn't help, and may even be counter-productive.
 
2014-04-17 10:14:19 AM
Huh, an interesting critique in how color theory and unconscious social biases mold a lot of what we take for granted.  Fark: hurrrr durrrrr dis is stoopid
 
2014-04-17 10:14:21 AM
*sigh* let's give the tl;dr answer here:

I can't speak of color film calibration, but I can at least speak of light/dark skin shooting...

(note: none of this applies to arty portrait work, we're talking traditional conventional-looking photos here)

Photos need contrast to define features, especially in faces. Light skin uses shadows to define facial features because highlights don't provide enough contrast. If you try and use shadows on dark skin there's not enough contrast to make it work, so you either have to:

(a) Lighten features through post-processing or over-lighting the subject
or
(b) Literally oil up their skin so you can achieve contrast using shiny highlights instead of shadows without over-lighting

Solution (b) works great if you're doing a fashion shoot and you have full control over what the model has on them. If you're at a party getting a photo, however, you can't exactly ask them to put some baby oil on their face, and frankly, most people apply makeup to get rid of shine. Solution b also doesn't work as well when you're lighting light and dark skin in one frame, because you probably want the lights in a different spot to get shadows versus highlights - if you've got a ring flash, you're golden but otherwise not so much.

Solution (a) brings up a shiatstorm of whitewashing.

So yeah, outside the studio it's a lot easier to control lighting than oil up someone's face for photos.

/and this doesn't even go into the issue of print media color gamut, because you reach a physical saturation point with paper and ink.
 
2014-04-17 10:14:53 AM
Speaking as a pale blotchy white guy, the camera IS NOT my friend. It, in fact, actively loathes me.
I took a good picture once - it was early evening, with the sun behind me and slightly out of focus. I looked good.
 
2014-04-17 10:14:55 AM
We'll hire white people to follow around the black people...
 
2014-04-17 10:15:11 AM
Your camera isn't racist.  You suck at photography.
 
2014-04-17 10:16:09 AM
Also - under the "No Shiat Sherlock" category

FTA -  McFadden says light adjustments can affect how skin color looks in photographs.

Thank you Captain Obvious.  So can not adjusting if the sun is behind the subject, adjusting the flash, etc.  Also if you did any film photography you knew that Kodak film had different tones than Fuji film.  For me Kodak was more subtle and did better indoors, Fuji had more green and seemed to do better outdoors.

The reason the skins tones sucked is that whomever took the photos needed to take a quick class
 
2014-04-17 10:16:28 AM
And then people wonder why they hear laughing every time they start screaming about racism.
 
2014-04-17 10:16:47 AM
Obviously the solution is to build cameras that make them appear even more attractive and successful.
 
2014-04-17 10:18:04 AM

ManRay: For farks sake. Cameras are "biased" to expose for 18% grey. Anything outside of that is going to be under or over exposed unless the photographer knows what they are doing. I'm pasty white and am constantly blown out in photos, especially ones with a flash. Get over it.


The masses think that any need to adjust a picture afterwards is a failure of the camera. What they don't realize was that it was always done during film processing. In the digital age they don't realize that the software built into cameras can't make corrections based on context and content.
 
2014-04-17 10:18:07 AM

ManRay: FlippityFlap: When I used to run sound for a living, I would get a stage plot, input list and the contract rider for the bands a few weeks prior to the show. Invariably, if the act was black, or the featured performer was, the rider would include instructions for the lighting director that "no amber lighting of any kind" be used because it makes their skin look green.

/CSB

Lighting pros know which colors work best for skin tones. You warm up white people with orange and never use green on dark skin for instance.


I was taught to light darker-skinned people with a gold-reflector light rather than a silver-reflector light.  Reflector being the "metallic" panel focusing light on the subject. Like this 2-sided thingy:
http://i00.i.aliimg.com/wsphoto/v0/447944302/43-inch-110cm-5-IN-1-Co ll apsible-Light-Reflector-Free-Shipping.jpg

/Film class of 2003
 
2014-04-17 10:18:27 AM
My camera always makes me look ugly.  So does my mirror.

Weird.
 
2014-04-17 10:20:19 AM

ManRay: For farks sake. Cameras are "biased" to expose for 18% grey. Anything outside of that is going to be under or over exposed unless the photographer knows what they are doing. I'm pasty white and am constantly blown out in photos, especially ones with a flash. Get over it.


Pretty much this. Your camera's light meter is trying to render an exposure where everything averages out to 18% grey. If you put something on either extreme in front of it, it still tries to average it. So while everything else in your picture may come out tonally correct, if you have some dark skinned people in your shot they're probably not going to be rendered in a flattering way. It's the same reason you get gray snow in a snow picture. The camera sees all the white and says, "I need to make this 18% gray." The camera doesn't know it's looking at snow and therefore needs to overexpose to make all that white actually white.
 
2014-04-17 10:22:11 AM
Tattoos are racist too.
 
2014-04-17 10:22:32 AM

bigbadideasinaction: *sigh* let's give the tl;dr answer here:

I can't speak of color film calibration, but I can at least speak of light/dark skin shooting...

(note: none of this applies to arty portrait work, we're talking traditional conventional-looking photos here)

Photos need contrast to define features, especially in faces. Light skin uses shadows to define facial features because highlights don't provide enough contrast. If you try and use shadows on dark skin there's not enough contrast to make it work, so you either have to:

(a) Lighten features through post-processing or over-lighting the subject
or
(b) Literally oil up their skin so you can achieve contrast using shiny highlights instead of shadows without over-lighting

Solution (b) works great if you're doing a fashion shoot and you have full control over what the model has on them. If you're at a party getting a photo, however, you can't exactly ask them to put some baby oil on their face, and frankly, most people apply makeup to get rid of shine. Solution b also doesn't work as well when you're lighting light and dark skin in one frame, because you probably want the lights in a different spot to get shadows versus highlights - if you've got a ring flash, you're golden but otherwise not so much.

Solution (a) brings up a shiatstorm of whitewashing.

So yeah, outside the studio it's a lot easier to control lighting than oil up someone's face for photos.

/and this doesn't even go into the issue of print media color gamut, because you reach a physical saturation point with paper and ink.


I'm sorry, but your long-winded post seems like a bunch of bullcrap to me.  Me and the Fark Photo Experts have spoken.  Sure, we may not have any "experience" or "credentials" or "education" in photography, but we know that SEEMS right to us.  In summary:

Barfmaker: This seems like a gigantic ton of crap...

 
2014-04-17 10:22:51 AM
Doc Daneeka


I like NPR in general, but the Code Switch blog seems determined to live up to conservatives' most exaggerated caricatures of liberals (i.e. obsession with identity politics to an absurd degree). Racism is a serious issue in our society, but trying to make a racial issue out of everything doesn't help, and may even be counter-productive.


As I agree, it sure has been profitable for Jesse Jackson and his ilk, why not get a piece of that action.
 
2014-04-17 10:23:06 AM

JohnCarter: My camera owned slaves, keeps taking photos of Confederate monuments, and is constantly booking travel to Lexington, VA in order to visit Lee's grave.

We are planning an intervention


Makes about as much sense as this farking article. This is the kind of crap that will show up on Fox News as an example of NPR/Liberals finding race issues in everything.

Sadly, in this case I think they'd be right. I *hate* giving Fox News an opportunity to be right.

18% gray. Period.
 
2014-04-17 10:24:50 AM

Russ1642: ManRay: For farks sake. Cameras are "biased" to expose for 18% grey. Anything outside of that is going to be under or over exposed unless the photographer knows what they are doing. I'm pasty white and am constantly blown out in photos, especially ones with a flash. Get over it.

The masses think that any need to adjust a picture afterwards is a failure of the camera. What they don't realize was that it was always done during film processing. In the digital age they don't realize that the software built into cameras can't make corrections based on context and content.


Given the advancements in low-lighting, facial sensors, and other factors I'm going to say that we aren't too far off from it BEING a failure on the camera's part.  Don't forget that the appeal of a simple camera is to point an shoot without thinking.  Kill the appeal and you kill the desire for the camera.
 
2014-04-17 10:25:07 AM

cwheelie: Speaking as a pale blotchy white guy, the camera IS NOT my friend. It, in fact, actively loathes me.
I took a good picture once - it was early evening, with the sun behind me and slightly out of focus. I looked good.


static5.businessinsider.com
 
2014-04-17 10:26:56 AM

ManRay: For farks sake. Cameras are "biased" to expose for 18% grey. Anything outside of that is going to be under or over exposed unless the photographer knows what they are doing. I'm pasty white and am constantly blown out in photos, especially ones with a flash. Get over it.


I'm pasty white and my girlfriend is black with deep brown skin.  Every picture of us together looks like Casper the ghost standing next to a SEAL sniper.  Four years and we still don't have a decent picture together.

I never realized it was because our camera is racist though.  Where's Jesse?
 
2014-04-17 10:29:51 AM

catzilla: Tattoos are racist too.


Almost as racists as peanut-butter and jelly sammiches.... Almost.
 
2014-04-17 10:30:16 AM

mr_a: So is you TV. I worked for a company that had to deal with this problem.

People in different parts of the world tend to see or perceive color a bit differently, and the color balance of LCD screens tends to be different in Asia versus the US.

The problem is compounded by the mechanics of homes. Dedicated TV rooms are more common in the US, and are usually kept somewhat dark. In Asia, the TV is often in a main part of the house, and therefore well lit. Thus backlighting is usually different to serve this markets.

At least that is the way it was 5 years ago when I had to worry about it.



This.  The Japanese tend to favor a lighter skin look so the color profiles on cameras design there are shifted in that direction.

With raw processing, good software and a lot of knowledge, it's possible to aim for 'accurate' reproduction (and hard to get right!), but most consumer grade and phone cameras are aimed at 'pleasing' color, where pleasing is up to the decisions and cultural bias of the engineers who designed it.

Skin is notoriously difficult to get right though.  Different skin tones have different amounts of subsurface scattering where light is partially absorbed, scattered and re-emitted.
 
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