While film is used very little among people who aren’t in the entertainment industry today, it, more than books, more than magazines, more than anything, documented the latter half of the 20th century. But, like a lot of things that happened in the 20th century, one group of people were completely left out.
Color film was developed in the 1940s. Film developers moderated the color based on skin tone – white skin tone. For most of the 20th century, reddish and brown tones were left out, meaning that the images made people with dark skin look very weird, often to the point where their facial features couldn’t be made out.
The formula began to change in the 70s but not because of racial equality. It turned out that wood furniture and chocolate lacked any sort of detail as well and advertisers wanted none of that.
It wasn’t till the 90s, after shows like The Cosby Show confirmed the problem, that someone started to do something about the problem.
While things have improved with both digital and film technology, the problems aren’t gone. For example, many facial recognition programs don’t recognize darker skin. Amy Schumer even did a sketch about the problem, so it is widely known in Hollywood.
Here’s the video:
Featured image via video screen capture