“A True Picture of Black Skin” Summary Heuristic
Background/Context: Teju Cole is a Nigerian-American writer, photographer, and art historian. He is the author of 3 books, and has has his photography displayed in a museum
Genre: Informative historical in to present piece
Aims/Methods/Materials: The author in this piece is trying to point out that there are things we are still doing in the world of the media and even as an art form that are still discriminatory. The author is pushing for the change that other people in this field are pushing for as well.
Flashpoints & Keywords/Concepts:
“The dynamic range of film emulsions, for example, was generally calibrated for white skin and had limited sensitivity to brown, red, or yellow skin tones. Light meters had similar limitations, with a tendency to underexpose dark skin.”
“Glissant sought out to defend the opacity, obscurity, and inscrutability of Caribbean blacks and other marginalized peoples. External pressures insisted on everything being illuminated, simplified, and explained. Glissant’s response: no.”
Audience: Equal rights activists, photographers, cinematographers, etc.
Two sentence summary: The author of this piece is bringing attention to the fact that most technologies that require it, are programmed to recognize white skin, rather than all races. The piece touches upon the clarity of old photos from revolutionary times in history, and even technology now.