[Digikam-users] A few thoughts about color management

Martin (KDE) kde at fahrendorf.de
Sun Oct 2 11:12:18 BST 2011

Am Samstag, 1. Oktober 2011 schrieb Paul Verizzo:
> Some great thoughts and observation on the topic!
> In my not so humble opinion, while there is certainly a time for
> such exacting endeavors, mostly it is just - pardon me -
> photo-masturbation. Confusing doing something, anything, with what
> matters.  Considering that every image reproduction chain has so
> many variables, planned and unplanned, should we really care? 
> Further, as we all know, our eyes are hugely adaptable.   An image
> that stands alone with the "wrong" hue will become balanced, with
> time.

Hm, my point is different. Because there are so many points 
influencing the photo reproduction you have to know about them. This 
has to be done either by experience or by technical equipment.

If you know how you have to setup the colour of your photo to get a 
best-match result from the lab this is one way. But If you have to 
change the lab or even sometimes the size of the print (different 
paper) you have to adjust your knowledge.

To my point it is easier to get profiled/calibrated stuff wherever 
possible so that I most likely know the result. The differences in 
material and process can not be eliminated, that's true.

> And printing?  What a morass!  Whether wet or dry, digital or
> analog, nothing will ever equate exactly.  So why bother to the
> nth degree?  And to say nothing of Subject Brightness Ranges not
> being reproducible on any medium.
> For non-scientific work, my philosophy accepts the subjective as
> the arbiter.  If nothing jumps out as discordant, it's OK.
> For almost 100 years of photography, it was a technical crap shoot,
> and this was without color, just monochrome.  (I've noticed that
> the majority of my father's and his father's photos, 1900-1960,
> professionals that they were, suffered from less than optimal
> negative/paper matching.  Score one for digital manipulation!)
> Then came Ansel Adams and his incredible (and probably anal
> retentive) work.   We all learned so much!  So here we are 70
> years later and people fixate on the process more than the image. 
> I have to laugh that one of his best shots, "Moonrise over
> Hernandez, NM" was done on the fly. No time to fit his Zone's.  So
> much for planning.

Na, a good snapshot is no excuse for no planing. It entirely depends 
on what kind of photo you want to take. If you make photos for a 
journey reportage planing is different from a car shooting or 
wildlife. And to my point experience is a special kind of planing.
> I think of Mr. Adams as more a great technician than photographer.
> Helmut Newton?  Annie Liebowitz?  Alfred Stieglitz? Imogene
> Cunningham? Dorothea Lange? Don't recall hearing of their great
> tech knowledge, to name a few.
> Getting everything perfect is what you do when you aren't a great
> photographer.

I disagree here. This highly depends on the type of perfection. My 
first photos were centric and done without thinking about aperture, 
shutter speed and focal length (just simple snapshots). After a while  
- I read some books about photography and tried to analyse some of the 
good photos - I began to use the parameter differently. I want to get 
somewhere near the really good photos.

This is getting it perfect as well. I think most of the great 
photographer get this great because they were not satisfied with what 
they originally did. They tried to get better. And this includes 
skills as well as technical knowledge.

Knowing the technical stuff without a feeling for the photo, the right 
time to pull the release will never give a great photographer, that's 
true. But knowing the technical stuff makes a great photographer even 
better, at least not worse. The technical equipment is only the medium 
but it should help the photographer to get the results she/he wants.

> (Disclaimer:  I do some of that, too, and I know I'm not a great
> photographer!)

I am not a great photographer either but I try to get better.


> Paul
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