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Hugo Rodriguez

When did you first understand the importance of color to the photographic process?
I'm not sure when it was exactly. During my early years in film photography the 95% of the photos I shot were in b/w. Only years later I started with color film and then in 2001 I realized that my monitor was not showing colors accurately, as I compare it with another monitor like mine and the color didn’t match at all, so I started researching about the topic.

What is the most important aspect of color management that an aspiring photographer should know?
Tough question. There are many aspects in color management that are important: to calibrate your monitor, to know how to use color profiles, to keep a good working environment in order to be able to appreciate the color, to get a good profiling for printing, etc ...

But maybe I would begin with the basics: why colors change in digital devices and how, in essence, the color management works.

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?
I have found many instances of this kind. I remember an important customer that makes postals. They called me telling that they didn’t trust in their professional offset printing  because they found the sky (specially at night) to be magentaish. I discovered that the problem was not the offset printing, but their fluorescent lights in their offices. As soon as they saw their postals under my portable normalized light, they changed their mind…

How long have you been associated with X-Rite?
I've been using X-Rite products since 2003, but I used an X-Rite densitometer for the first time in 1997. I was invited to enter the Coloratti program in 2009.

 Why are you committed to using X-Rite products?
For several reasons. The main one is because their products are precise and affordable, and the software is more powerful every year.

How important are the latest color management tools in today’s industry?  Why?
Well, in some areas it’s very important; in others don’t. For example: monitor calibration usually needs latest technology, because LCD panel technology is quickly changing and operating systems too, and if you don’t use latest tools you can end up with mediocre results.

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 think in the very near future we will see the arrival of a whole batch of cameras, sensors equipped with sensitive cells across the spectrum (and not a single primary, so far), in the line of the Foveon. Color management will constantly increasing its popularity among photographers, although at a slower pace. I think color management end up taking up the role that in its day, occupied the Adams zone system, so that all photographers will fall sooner or later, on a stage trying to learn these techniques to raise an level.

How is color management related to your artistic process?
The truth is that for my own pictures I use color management scrupulously, but I with little effort. Once I calibrated my digital camera, I care only to process the photos (I always use the RAW format) with my camera’s profile. From there, just working on my well-controlled and calibrated environment: monitor, ambient lighting, software, printing with custom profiles...

The good thing is that when you understand color management, using it in your environment is rather mechanical and relatively simple (except when you introduce changes, of course).

Do you see color management as an advantage for saving money?
Yes, of course. If photographers do calculate money spent on their printer tests, papers that go into the trash, inks, pissed, dislikes, etc ... surely not even remotely offset the time and money required to implement color management in their environment. Taking into account all the previous troubles and the money left to invest (because time is also money), and a good weekend seminar plus a ColorMunki can serve well to start with good standing in the color management and to forget troubles, it is sensible to think that it's worth spending about 700 € all in return, right?