Women of color, stop trying to change your hue in photos
IDSC "BlackTechLogy" October Exclusive: What I never expected to learn in photo development
I never had any desire to make my career anything other than a professional writer. Still, during my early undergrad years, I briefly tried making photography my minor.
I’ve been taking photographs nonstop since I was 11 years old and have bookshelves full of photo albums. I refuse to give up my CDs full of pics and stubbornly only buy laptops that allow me to use an external disc drive just in case I want to look at old photos again. So it made complete sense that I’d want to learn how to develop film and become a part-time photo technician.
During my undergrad years and a few months after graduation, I worked in two major retailers’ photo departments (disappearing by the minute). People and their photographs are interesting. Similar to the gripes of beauticians, people want magic to happen in their photos. Gained a few pounds? Make them look slimmer anyway. Took a photograph completely out of focus? Figure out how to sharpen it.
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I was used to people asking for impossible tasks for amateur photography. But there was one particular lady of Middle Eastern descent who stood out among many. I was fairly new to the photo department, and several team members had already told me not to bother waiting on her. She only wanted a blonde European photo tech to handle her photos. I thought that was dumb. She and I would physically do the exact same job, so why did it matter who touched her film? I ignored two guys on the photo tech team (my Mexican supervisor and an African-American tech) and greeted her.
The woman, who had sharp features hidden behind her hijab and sunglasses, was fairly pretty. Nothing about her struck me as this intense lady that had been described to me. So I smiled and asked, “How can I help you?” She looked me up and down and immediately asked, “Where’s [insert blonde, European employee’s name here]?” I confirmed that she was on her lunch break. The lady barked, “I’ll wait.” I insisted that I could develop her photographs now. Her response, “You can’t. You won’t do it right.” I raised an eyebrow and patiently explained my photography background. She wouldn’t budge.