Gates Response

“The centrality of whiteness in the industry means that cinematographers do not often learn, or care to learn, how to adjust their camera settings for black skin. This practice of lighting for white across is so ubiquitous that it has led to some white filmmakers, cinematographers and costume designers to address the limits of conventional lighting by making changes to the set design or clothing choices of the actor.”

I think it’s clear and wrong that throughout history there has been an evolving and adapting overarching image of beauty. Portrayals of beauty have often been white, fragile, skinny women in the media and film industry. Julia Roberts holds the record for winning People Magazine’s ranking of celebrities titled ‘Most Beautiful People’ five times. She is a perfect example of the standard of beauty that has become associated with the entertainment industry. But I admittedly was ignorant to the extent to which this bias affects all aspects of the industry. The fact that instead of learning how to light scenes in order to compliment African American skin tones they’ll change their clothing or relevance in a scene is incredibly degrading. Gates says that “beautiful cinematography connotes that its characters are worthy” and praises Moonlight for recognizing the importance of quality cinematography. But she further explains that the movie should not be acclaimed for a job well done, it should instead be one that adheres to the precedent. She explains, “The racial bias has become an intrinsic part of the technologies of film and television, with a lasting impact on what makes it to the screen.” This piece really shows how racial bias has made it’s way past casting and representation but into the very workings of the film and media industry. Gates shows us how race is produced and translated on screen through the (often inadequate) use of technology and cinematography.

I chose this picture because the intense lighting for two typical examples of beautiful white people. The sheer presence of lighting amazed me, the picture shows how intricate and important lighting is in a shot, and the two subjects look stunning. This precision should be extended universally to create the same quality for subjects of all skin colors.


One thought on “Gates Response

  • January 29, 2018 at 10:40 am

    I found this image on google after searching for lighting in film and then overlaid the text on Preview.

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