Saturday, February 28, 2009

Light Meters


I was sitting in a gallery yesterday while listening to a docent explain to a kaleidoscope of high school students that a photo of a white person and a black person that hung on the wall before them required the photographer to compensate for exposure based on the meter's reading of the light so that the black person's skin would not be too dark and that this made the photograph more complicated. And it occurred to me that even light meters were calibrated to one thing in order to measure another and that right now somewhere in Washington DC there is a room full of photographers fidgeting with their cameras as one of them steps forward to the empty podium with a meter in their hand. They call out the reading, and each photographer does their silent calculations for exposure, turning a knob, twisting a dial and compensating.

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