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Life in the Shadows

Image Copyright Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson, a photographer based in Zambia, has released an extraordinary on-line exhibition of documentary and photojournalism photography on the everyday lives of those living with albinism in Africa.

The modern-day social issue of living with albinism in Africa is, today, probably much as it has been for centuries - an issue steeped in deep-rooted superstition and mythology. Most media coverage of Africans with albinism is centred on the news-grabbing extremes of their physical abuse, mutilation and even murder. Such coverage makes little mention of the adversities they face every day - including stigma and extreme discrimination, isolation and exclusion, serious health and vision problems, and public ridicule. And all this every day, day-in, day-out.

So this story is about the ordinary: the ordinary daily story of African people with albinism, a story that few of us know about. Accompanying the photographs are the subjects’ own stories of their daily lives, in their own words - far more telling than anything the photographer could write.

See full details of the exhibition.

Understanding Colour Spaces

Colour gamutNot sure if you understand the significance of the various colour spaces? Can you honestly say that you are clear about the differences between Adobe RGB (1998), sRGB, Apple RGB and Wide-gamut RGB? Well, colour is a complex matter and you could spend the rest of your life studying the science of the subject. In an effort to help, and with the assistance of Bruce Lindbloom, we have introduced a 3-D gamut viewer which displays a variety of commonly-used colour spaces. The viewer even allows you to compare two three-dimensional RGB working spaces by drawing one inside the other. The whole display can then be rotated in any direction, or zoomed in and out, to help you focus on those crucial areas of difference. At last it is possible to visualize clearly how switching, for example from Adobe RGB (1998) to sRGB, imposes significant changes upon your images.

The 3-D RGB gamut viewer can be found here.

Seeing Light

The ability to see light is a fundamental part of the art of photography. Obviously we see light in the simple physical sense, but that is only the beginning. A much more perceptive approach has to be developed.

When we look at a scene it is the dominant shapes and colours that are most readily retained by the brain. Subordinate detail, such as the illumination of particular features, is unimportant in the context of everyday life and hence easily overlooked.

The eye must therefore be trained to see the quality of light in an analytical manner. First, ask what initially attracted your attention to a subject and strive to incorporate this into your image. Then identify and evaluate the more subtle characteristics of light that make a scene special. They are essential ingredients for a successful image. Note the direction of the light and how it falls on your subject, and be aware of areas of shadow. Observe the light's harshness and colour, and remain sensitive to their implications in terms of mood.

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