Sherwin Rivera Tibayan

[Cell 4N (from the series "Digital Color Checker")]

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Digital Color Checker & The Question of Neutrality, 2011

Archival Pigment Prints, 8.5" x 11"


This single image is a re-photographic project prompted by Stephen Shore's "Beverly Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, California, June 21, 1975." His image of this intersection did much to establish American color photography as a significant art form in the 1970s.

I visited the intersection in Los Angeles in January 2011 and used a digital color checker to interrupt and signify my re-presentation of the site as a digitally interpretable space.

One of the first things a person discovers with digital photography is how easy it is to change colors. "The Question of Neutrality" is a photographic installation rooted in the peculiarities of this contemporary and dynamic experience with digital color.

The phrase "The Question of Neutrality" comes from a section heading in Richard Benson's book "The Printed Picture." In it he writes: "In nearly all crafts the practitioner faces the difficulty of deciding what must be accurate and what is less important."

The installation then—related to the color chart but also reminiscent of the rigid block pattern of that area of the city—showcases the range of color casts available when using the white balance tool and selecting from the 140 individual color squares in the chart, and suggests that our contemporary experience of digital color is one that seems to question the very importance of accuracy.

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