For many years, this "Shirley" card — named for the original model, who was an employee of Kodak — was used by photo labs to calibrate skin tones, shadows and light during the printing process.

    "She was the standard," Garcia says, "so whenever we printed anything, we had to pull Shirley in. If Shirley looked good, everything else was OK. If Shirley didn't look so hot that day, we had to tweak something — something was wrong."


Welll... they're talking about eye-checking tint and balance points, not about the actual process of balancing a photo printer. Kodak was certainly serving the market but that market is decidedly cultural. Back when I shot film I shot Fuji and Ilford almost exclusively because I didn't much care for the color response of anything Kodak had other than E100VS (and I liked Velvia better). Thing of it is, Kodak film has Kodak's gamut because Kodak's customers liked their photos that way. Japanese film looks cold and sterile by comparison; German film was a lot bluer.

Not mentioned in the story is virtually all Kodak colorists were women. Women have more color perceptors in their eyes and can see color much better than men. Kind of disingenuous to talk about racism in the photo lab without pointing out that it was one of the only business segments in which women were valued for their technical skills.

posted by thenewgreen: 1741 days ago