original image by
Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin
inverted with Photoshop
I admire Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin work. Their game with photography is inspiring, their stories worthwhile to read, their projects are on the point and always refreshing.
Kodak Ektachrome 34 1978 frame by Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin made me realize that their projects are always centered around a text. Their photographs are nothing but captions to a written content and nothing but well made illustrations of ideas to be articulated. Though excellent in a very professional way, their images lack the personal touch of their authors; they are interchangeable with all other professionally taken photographs. Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin wouldn´t have any problems to make a living as commercial photographers. But this is not the point.
The ideas and concepts these two artists visualize and verbalize, touch my mind as the unique and powerful form of Diane Arbus images touch me visually and as a human being.
Kodak Ektachrome 34 1978 frame is in a way exemplary for Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin´s way of working.
Their projects always reflect how photography functions as photography and they deal with the fact that photographs always reflect ideas that constitute and form the way of life in a society.
Here we are told, how Kodak set up the norm for female skin tones in a standardized reference card for its color printing labs. We learn, that according to the norm and the film materials produced by Kodak, it was impossible to print dark chocolate colors, which turned to be quite a nuisance for the manufacturers of dark chocolate.
And the chocolate brown skin tones of the black American population couldn´t be reproduced either.
Because black was not beautiful, because Blacks were Negroes and second class if at all, because black was not relevant and shouldn´t become relevant.
The blind spot of a color film reflects and mirrors the blind spot of a whole society.
And I go on thinking about my blind spots, some of them I learned about becoming older, and I ponder about my blind spots I still don´t know about because I cant know about, and I muse about the blind spots of society as reflected by our technology and I wonder what they could be.