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Calibrare le fotografie [EN]

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99percentinvisible ci racconta, in un breve articolo disponibile anche in formato podcast, delle cosiddette “Shirley Cards”, ovvero le schede fornite negli anni Cinquanta dalla Kodak ai diversi laboratori per calibrare i colori delle stampanti. Un sistema efficace, ma con un difetto che ha condizionato le fotografie amatoriali:

[…] these Shirleys all shared a common trait: they were all white, which meant that the printers were effectively set for white skin. And Shirley was basically used to calibrate every printer, every time, regardless of the color of the people in the actual photographs being printed. To get accurate prints of a person with darker skin you might have to adjust the printer settings. But that just wasn’t happening at most one hour photo labs. They weren’t about customized service. They were about being fast, standardized, and relatively cheap.

Le Shirley Cards, tuttavia, erano solo un aspetto di un problema ben più vasto e sfaccettato. L’articolo prosegue quindi spiegando quali soluzioni siano state proposte nei decenni successivi, per permettere di tarare macchine fotografiche e videocamere, sia analogiche che digitali, sulle diverse tonalità di pelle.

Photography — and cinematography — isn’t just about the film used or the digital sensor in your camera or the techniques used to process your images. It’s also about lighting and staging and all these other elements. In other words, photography is still all about choices. And, in many ways, people still stumble when creating images of darker skin. […] Even if Kodak’s early promise was total ease — “you press the button, we do the rest” — the technology will never achieve point-and-click perfection. Because no technology is ever neutral. There will always be choices, and trade-offs and aesthetic judgments. The camera is an amazing tool, but creating a beautiful image… that part is up to us.

 


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