Chapter

The Fade-Out of Shirley, a Once-Ultimate Norm: Colour Balance, Image Technologies, and Cognitive Equity

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the author.

Abstract

Until recently, due to a light-skin bias embedded in colour film stock emulsions and digital camera design, the rendering of non-Caucasian skin tones was highly deficient and required the development of compensatory practices and technology improvements to redress its shortcomings. Using the emblematic “Shirley” norm reference card as a central metaphor reflecting the changing state of race relations/aesthetics, this essay analytically traces several colour adjustment processes in the visual representation industries and identifies some prototypical changes in the field. It is to be read as a historical background to the development of and rationale for the creation and insertion of flesh-tone, colour-balance computer chips within imaging technologies. It introduces the original concept of “cognitive equity”, which is proposed as an intelligent strategy for creating and promoting equity by inscribing a wider dynamic range of skin tones into all image technologies, products, and emergent practices in the visual industries.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the author.

... Socio-technical governance today produces inequality: extreme wealth inequality between CEOs versus consumers (Peetz 2015); design inequality between white men and other social identities using information and communication devices (Oudshoorn et al. 2004;Pierce 2009;Roth 2013); health inequality between white men and other social identities with medical care needs (Read and Gorman 2010;Hoffman et al. 2016). Unfortunately, inequality in science and technology further disadvantages marginalized people. ...
... Implicit user identity bias occurs when any design team (even one diverse in composition) utilizes blind inclusion where there is naïve (or no) attention to gender, age, class, race, or other components of user identity in design (Pierce 2009). For example, early photography equipment and computer video camera designs demonstrate inattention to lighting for dark skin tones (Roth 2013). The privileged user problem creates technology non-users (Winner 1980;Wyatt 2003) and non-artifacts. ...
Article
Full-text available
Socio-technical governance has been of long-standing interest to science and technology studies and science policy studies. Recent calls for midstream modulation direct attention to a more complicated model of innovation, and a new place for social scientists to intervene in research, design and development. This paper develops and expands this earlier work to demonstrate how a suite of concepts from science and technology studies and innovation studies can be used as a heuristic tool to conduct real-time evaluation and reflection during the process of innovation – upstream, midstream, and downstream. The result of this new protocol is inclusivity mainstreaming: determining if and how marginalized peoples and perspectives are being maximally incorporated into the model of innovation, while highlighting common problems of inequality that need to be addressed.
... Consequently, choices in costume and production design, makeup and hair, and most importantly the complexion of actors and actresses were made with regard to the strengths and limitations of certain film color techniques. 4 It must be noted, however, that this development was not a linear process but relied on a feedback loop in which the process was guided first and foremost by the response to mostly white, Caucasian skin tones (see also Dyer 1997;Roth 2012). 5 Figure 1 Faktura of a dye-transfer print. ...
... 32). Dies dürfte darauf zurückzuführen sein, dass Filmmaterialien in der Regel für helle, weiße Hauttypen entwickelt wurden und Schwierigkeiten in der Wiedergabe von dunkler Haut haben(Dyer 1997;Berry 2000;Roth 2012). 10Visuelle Komplexität und SchichtungenVerschiedene ästhetische und narrative Konfigurationen beruhen auf visueller Komplexität, welche die Figur/Grund-Trennung bis zur Unkenntlichkeit schwächen kann und damit die Rezeption erschwert. ...
... Lorna Roth (2013) shows how early decisions made about chemical processing of film incorporated racial bias that has had long-lasting effects on photographic technology to this day. ...
Article
Full-text available
In this article, drawing upon a feminist epistemology, we examine the critical roles that philosophical standpoint, historical usage, gender, and language play in a knowledge arena which is increasingly opaque to the general public. Focussing on the language dimension in particular, in its historical and social dimensions, we explicate how some keywords in use across artificial intelligence (AI) discourses inform and misinform non-expert understandings of this area. The insights gained could help to imagine how AI technologies could be better conceptualised, explained, and governed, so that they are leveraged for social good.
Article
There is room for topical and theoretical expansion in the literature on gender and ICT4D (information and communications technologies for development) to better prepare critiques and policy applications that improve gender equity. A constructivist approach was taken to understand the relationship between gender and technology utilizing insights from science and technology studies. Existing theory on the relationship between gender and technology was conceptualized as three categories: women using ICTs as laborers, women using ICTs for leisure, and ICTs as infrastructure impacting women users. Thirty articles from four journals (Gender, Technology, and Development, Information Technology for Development, Information Technologies & International Development, and Gender and Development) were coded using an iterative-inductive method. The sample encompassed all issues published between July 2016 and December 2016. Findings suggested, in that temporal moment, scholarship on gender and ICT4D conceptualized the gender and technology relationship by illuminating how women use ICTs for: increased communication and spread of information, and increased productivity. Some scholarship focused on justice, gender and ICT4D, or gendered fantasies about ICTs. Missing from that temporal moment was scholarship illuminating: women using ICTs as scientific instruments, ICTs allowing women to participate in outsourced jobs, and ICTs commodifying women.
Book
The book establishes a "second wave" of work on whiteness, tracing the transformation of the concepts from the invisible, transparent norm that absolved white people of individual responsibility for racism to a target of criticism from many different sides. The collection of essays is organized into setions on white politics, white culture, white bodies, and white theories and examines whiteness in phenomena as disparate as film, literature, militias, music, and even Rush Limbaugh.
Article
Light skin is an ideal in the United States because it is indicative of the dominant mainstream population. For Hispanic Americans whose skin reflects a range of colors, this causes distress. In their efforts to assimilate via a domination model, they are forced to internalize norms that conflict with that range. A result is the "bleaching syndrome, " manifested in the preference for light skin where applicable. The alternative causes them to su;ffer depression and other mental health disorders. Only by adhering to the internalization of nonns that idealize their population in toto can Hispanic Americans assimilate fully without incident.
Article
Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic are completing a Tenth Anniversary Edition of Critical Race Theory: An Introduction for NYU Press. This best-selling primer explains the movement's organizational history, major themes, central figures, and likely future. The new edition contains material on developments that have taken place over the past decade, including the rapid growth in the Latino population, nativism against that group, the election of the nation's first black president, and the advent of right-wing populism in the form of the Tea Party Movement. The volume will be available in paperback in early 2011.
Article
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, 1995. Vita. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 496-531). July 1998, UMI, dd. Microfilm.
Black skin, white masks
  • F Fanon
Keith Cooper’s North Light images: Four-child colour card Getty test image
  • Getty Test
Technique and ideology: Camera, perspective, depth of field (Parts 3 & 4)
  • J.-L Comolli
Conference presentation, 7-8 November: Why white people are called “caucasian?” Subsection of collective degradation: Slavery and the construction of race
  • N I Painter
The color complex: The politics of skin color among African Americans
  • K Russell
  • M Wilson
  • R Hall
Much depends on dinner
  • M Visser
Technologies of seeing: Photography, cinematography, and television
  • B Winston
Modern movements in European philosophy: Phenomenology, critical theory, structuralism (p. 153)
  • R Kearney
La photographie et l’inconscient technologique
  • F Vaccari
Black looks: Race and representation
  • B Hooks
A whole technology of dyeing: A note on ideology and the apparatus of the chromatic moving image
  • B Winston
Technique and ideology: Camera, perspective, depth of field
  • J.-L Comolli
  • J-L Comolli
November: Why white people are called “caucasian?” Subsection of collective degradation: Slavery and the construction of race
  • N I Painter