Lion of the Blogosphere

NPR says that photography is racist

According to NPR, photography is racist.

When Syreeta McFadden was a child, she dreaded taking pictures after a family photo made her skin appear dulled and darkened.

“In some pictures, I am a mud brown, in others I’m a blue black. Some of the pictures were taken within moments of one another,” she , digging into an “inherited bias” in photography against dark skin.

No wonder why blacks do so poorly on the SAT. The racism of Kodak and other big corporations must have lowered their self-esteem and prevent them from correctly answering math and reading questions.

A lot of [the design of film and motion technology] was conceived with the idea of the best representation of white people.

Some of you are wondering whether or not this matters? The author of the article says it does:

I think it matters because we’re talking about a saturation of images of darker skinned people that somehow we’ve accepted in our popular culture that kind of diminishes our humanity, and we’re in an era where we’re seeing a wider representation of black and brown life, particularly in American life.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

April 17, 2014 at 9:37 AM

Posted in Photography

12 Responses

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  1. So, Syreeta clearly agrees with Kanazawa. That makes her racist, too.


    April 17, 2014 at 9:49 AM

  2. Welcome to the all-race-all-the-time post-racial society.


    April 17, 2014 at 9:56 AM

  3. This is a longstanding issues with photography. In doing their testing of film and photo labs, Consumer Reports used to send images of darker complected people against brightly colored backgrounds to various photo processors and publish what would happen if the photo lab was relying on the autocorrect with no human review. Often the pictures came out in a distorted and extreme fashion.


    April 17, 2014 at 10:11 AM

  4. Some years ago I had a black standard poodle. You know, it was almost impossible to take a good photo of that dog. There were no contrasts in his fur and the photos just looked black with few details.

    Clearly, those black poodle hating dogists at Kodak created their film with only white and champagne standard poodles in mind. I mean it couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that dark colors are darker than light colors and distinguishing details among dark shades is inherently more difficult than among lighter shades because less light is reflected and therefore cannot enter the lens of the camera because the reflected light doesn’t exist in the same intensity. No, it can’t be that. They are just filthy black poodle hating dogists at Kodak. Damn them.


    April 17, 2014 at 10:23 AM

  5. She should buy some skin whitening cream from India or Thailand.


    April 17, 2014 at 10:27 AM

  6. Life, the universe, and everything in it is racist.

    Oswald Spengler

    April 17, 2014 at 11:14 AM

  7. If you spot-meter off the skin of a random white person, you’ll need to add 1 stop of additional exposure for that skin to come out looking right (Caucasian skin is zone VI ore even VII, not V). That is, Caucasian skin is brighter than a standard gray card and metering conventions. Thus technology is not officially optimized for easy photography of white people. It’s true that some newer cameras meter hot, placing mid-tones in zone VI not V, meaning no exposure compensation is required except for the palest of whites.


    April 17, 2014 at 11:50 AM

  8. Can I sue someone because photographs make fat people look fat? Isn’t that fat-phobia or something?


    April 17, 2014 at 2:38 PM

  9. Looks like using white paper for writing and printers is also racist. This was discussed in press few years ago.


    April 17, 2014 at 3:58 PM

  10. “he came out dark in that picture”, said an afro-brazillian to my parents in the peace corp. kinky hair they called “cabelo ruim” bad hair.

    jorge videla

    April 17, 2014 at 7:21 PM

  11. Years ago I attended a TV production school (LOL) and the admin pulled in a buthnch of NAMs for their loan money, and one was real dark and primitive, a real 100% Bantu. And I swear he was impossible to light. His skin would just soak it up, no reflection at all. They do have problems with this. OTOH, I think medium skin like that of Chinese or Puerto Ricans looks better on TV than pasty white too. Think Connie Chung.


    April 17, 2014 at 7:30 PM

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