Tuesday, March 27, 2018

DigPhotog: Diversity & Digital Photography - Serious Issues [VID] (W12-P1) Sp18

The topics of race, gender and photography intersect in a variety of ways.

Photojournalism: A Man's World?

(Washington Post video   Nov. 2013)

Note also that National Geographic has recently publicly acknowledged their racist past.

Also, did you notice anything about the women discussed above?  Now that brings us to race.  Something should be done to promote the presence of African American women in photography, especially photojournalism.

The camera can be used as a tool to promote racism and to terrorize a group of people as in the lynching photographs/postcards in the U.S. in the early part of the 1900s.  The camera could also be used as a tool to catalog and control a group of people as with Polaroid's involvement in the creation of travel documents that black South Africans were required to carry as they traveled within their own country.

However, the camera can also be used as a tool to fight racism and teach tolerance as in the use of photography to fight for civil rights in the U.S., for example, by Gordon Parks.  Parks wrote a book titled A Choice of Weapons in which he talks about the camera as a weapon.

So, the above depends on how the photographer uses the camera, for good or for evil.

Bias in the Camera, itself

But, how about the camera itself?  Could the camera itself be inherently racist?  Racist by design?
How is that possible?  What does that mean?  What we are asking is: Is there bias in the design of the camera and related technologies, like film?

The following cases arose a few years back.  One of the cases dealt with the facial detection feature of the CoolPix camera asking Asian people if they had blinked.  The other case dealt with the webcam on an HP laptop not tracking the faces of African-Americans.

HP WebCam

For more details on these two cases, if you are interested, see the Time.com article Are Face-Detection Cameras Racist? or the PetaPixel post “Racist” Camera Phenomenon Explained — Almost.

Interested in More?

To finish up on the serious side of the topic of race in photography, see the following articles, if you are interested.

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See more about me at my web site WilliamHartPhD.com.

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