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Giuseppe Andretta

When did you first understand the importance of color to the photographic process?
I realized the importance of color in the photographic process during my first slides developments, long time ago...in the ‘80s. At that time there were Kodak manuals and control strips to measure with a densitometer and since then I learned to 'manage' the result of color negatives or slides.

What is the most important aspect of color management that an aspiring photographer should know?
An aspiring ‘digital’ photographer should know exactly what happens during the process of 'development' of the ‘digital color’. That’s should lead him to calibrate his monitor and characterize his digital camera.

Give an example of the ways in which a solid knowledge of color management (or an accurate color environment) helped you – on a project? In a consultancy situation?
The first example is a very old one when I was a fine art printer. I had to print very large digital print with a Durst Lambda, one of the few true RGB printer, and it was for an important exhibition.The files were provided to me, as was used in the ‘90s, in TIFF format and in CMYK color mode without an embedded ICC profile. The conversion of these files gave poor results because there was no source profile and even when I tried to assign a faulse CMYK profile (among the most common ones as Euroscale) the prints came out with a very blue color cast. Then I had the idea that the customer was using a custom CMYK profile. I asked him to send me the custom color setting of his Photoshop and, from them, I create a CMYK profile as a source profile from the conversion...bingo! In a consultancy environment it happened recently. I was hired by a photographic studio in Milan that wasn’t able to get good results, in terms of color, from a particular digital solvent printer on a special media. I had experience before and I generated not one but a group of ICC profiles with different black generations and total ink limit and that solved the problem.

How long have you been associated with X-Rite?
Since 2009...I think.

Why are you committed to using X-Rite products?
I tried products of other brands, but with those of X-Rite I always had a better impression. The 3 main reasons for the choice were the speed, ease-to-use and very competitive price.

How important are the latest color management tools in today’s industry? Why?
ColorChecker Passport and i1Pro2 are the most used and then the most important for me. The first to have references of my cameras for every lighting condition in which I shoot and the second for my work as a a fine art printer and color proofing as well as for my monitor calibration.

What does the (near) future hold for the photo industry, in your opinion? Do you think color management will be more or less important – why?
I can call myself a ‘color enthusiast’ so I love to study and control my color process in my workflow. But I believe that there is a great ignorance about the digital color representation, especially in Italy where I live. This is demonstrated by certain texts or articles that are published without control and report wrong information on color; and also from the widespread lack of ICC profile use by certain technical sector (printers, graphic designers, photographers). As a consequence, the future of photography, but in general of each product aimed to color reproduction will be increasingly 'managed' and controlled automatically with less user control. The reason lies in the lack of knowledge of issues relating to color reproduction from the user and his distress at having to manage them. As a result we have the industry's attempt to please the consumer, enabling automatic process control of color.

How is color management related to your artistic process?
Color management is the ‘starting point’ of my raw development. In the sense that I characterized my camera with the ColorChecker Passport and I control everything trough a calibrated display. Then, if I’d like to, I can tweak the color of my photographs and make them unreal - or even covert them in black and white - but I'm sure that I started from the right point. If I simply need a faithful reproduction of the scene (where nothing artistic is required) then...I already have it.

Do you see color management as an advantage for saving money?
The answer is quite obvious: yes. The first thing that comes to mind is the waste of prints, paper and time to get the right color. Then think about the difficulty, and the waste o time for post-production in order to represent the same colors taken from two, or more, different cameras. I think this is already enough to consider the color management a real money saver.