[snip for length-context at link]
I’ve posted information about this before, and I want to reblog it again because it’s so important.
People really need to understand what it means that racism is built into so many of our technologies, our education, our lives…too many people seem to believe that racism is about feelings and interactions.
A lot of the photos I have posted of artworks are old photographs that use films that oversaturate dark skin tones or blast them out with contrast. They need to be modified where possible in order for dark skinned people portrayed in the paintings to be visible at all.
Do you not have more important things to focus on?
I think we should all take a moment to gather round and listen to what exactly these More Important things we should all be spending our time and energy on are, according to princelytreasures.
I mean, I wouldn’t want to think I’ve been wasting my life. Please drop your truth bombs all over my barren, desolate brainscape of directionless and misguided time and effort.
Unemployment? Poverty? Imperialism? Misogyny? Concrete examples of racism?
Not that I think history and art aren’t interesting or important (that’s why I followed this blog in the first place) but to actually go on about film not being optimised for darker skintones as if it’s an actual issue is ridiculous.
It isn’t a trifling complaint that pervasive mass-media are predicated on specific skin tones. Photography and film technologies have largely supplanted traditional art in depictions of the human form, and are a large part of the material and immaterial representations that will enter into the realm of academic and historical study for our time.
Underlying the idea of the camera and film is the intent of an instrument of accuracy and objectivity, which is relevant to a previous discussion about the racialized foundations of some sciences. It’s less about "not looking so good", which assumes self-determination and implies the ability of choice in the matter, but aligning representation with fair systematic treatment. Visual cues of legible individuality on the figure are focused on the head and are easily distorted or erased if not carefully considered. It is not a formal concession of lighting, but a matter of respect and proper emphasis for the depicted. If the individuality or ability of the subject doesn’t matter and they are reduced to a placeholder of signifying traits, you have tokenism.
It is easy to see how a history of loaded design and lacking sensitivity in visual culture can produce exaggerated stereotypes like blackface, cultural appropriation of costume and affectation, and imperialist narratives that depersonalize whole populations. If history is written by the victors, our material and tangible inheritance is understood and presented in service of that lens. As far as film goes, the conceptual and technological fruit of the scientific and academic method should improve on itself, and not entrench these compounded faults when they are recognized.
The shared and insular visual culture isn’t a documentation of a present moment, it toys directly with our perception of gender, the poor, colonized and marginalized while being inserted into our vocabulary of images. Text and well-worded discussion of the academic and institutional kind do not necessarily encapsulate tangible treatment in quite the same way. Here, experience of presentation stacks with quality and quantity as a possible metric of what is equitable, rather than a starting assumption that current (and increasingly, self-) representation methods are sufficient or unskewed by what has come before it.
Edit: I apologize that it seems like a whole lot of attention seems to be focused on you at the moment. I don’t disagree with your materialist position that it is difficult to quantify the exact effect—my purpose is to posit the interconnection between the problems you have laid out and the ones medievalpoc has discussed.