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Jose Luis Armentia

When did you first understand the importance of color to the photographic process?
From the first time I received a picture with all colours altered. I was a teenager. Since then, the fight for obtaining colors true to the original has been relentless during my professional career.

I hate those magenta color casts that are so frequent. The color charts existed but they were for working mainly on a visual basis and you had to keep your fingers crossed that the lab technician had a good day.

With the digital era things changed greatly. Now the photographer was able to take the lead himself in color management. The color charts evolved and one day I found out that a manufacturer that had simplified very much, to the point where you only had to drag an image over a window and a solid and reliable camera profile was created. To make things even better, it was automatically placed in the appropriate folder of the RAW processer.

The truth is I purchased it with scepticism, I thought it wouldn´t work but I had curiosity to see what technology could achieve. To my surprise it worked.

Since then I use X-Rite color charts in all those assignments I need colorimetric accuracy such as, cosmetics, textiles and different catalogues and of course art work.

I deliver training frequently and color management is one of the main topics of my syllabus. Even to achieve a good black and white photo it is necessary to start from a good color photo.

What is the most important aspect of color management that an aspiring photographer should know?
From my point of view, the color spaces. In our digital era it is the origin of all issues and each manufacturer has their own that does not match with any other. It is important that who approaches photography for the first time understands fully what they are, what they represent, what is their purpose and how to move between them.

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?
On one occasion a small cosmetics manufacturer contacted me. He had commissioned a photographer with coverage on a model using their products. He was in despair because even though he liked the pictures, the color nuances of the make up had nothing to resemble with the products and the relationship with the photographer was already problematic.

He told me he had the original coverage in RAW as was agreed with the photographer. I asked for it and to my surprise, in a couple of them a color chart had been included, specifically the Color Checker Passport. I created the profile in front of him in a minute and immediately after he recognized his make up colors. He couldn´t believe it.

How long have you been associated with X-Rite?
Since the Color Checker Passport was launched. I saw a very simple and reliable way of reproducing colors with guaranteed results.

Why are you committed to using X-Rite products?
The truth is it is not a new commitment for me, I have been using their products for over a decade for own conviction. Over more, if your work is recognized, even better but I use X-Rite because their products have the highest quality. My pupils end up doing the same when they see how simple to use they are and the results.

How important are the latest color management tools in today's industry? Why?
Mainly they have given us intelligent control with high chromatic quality results, giving better income as the customers see that the results are real, prints are accurate against the original and they recognize their product. These modern tools enable as well speedy delivery of the works demanded nowadays.

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?
In my opinion, the future of the photo industry entails speed in achieving quality results. Customers demand speed and quality and we have to deliver, that is why the color management tools keep getting easier to use. Speed and simplicity without compromising quality in color management.

Do you think color management will be more or less important? Why?
Color management will continue to be equally important, of course not les because that would be a step back in the quality of results.

How is color management related to your artistic process?
All photographers have an artistic side. No one engages with photography for the quality of the photographic reproduction of a painting by El Greco. You become engaged because it is a fully visual way of expressing something inside you that you want to transmit to others.

I have exhibited in important art fairs and my starting point from the capture has always been to work with color management. I will modify or alter the colors and shadows afterwards to achieve that my work expresses what I desire but in the original shot I always include a color chart that I will certainly use.

Do you see color management as an advantage for saving money?
Obviously. You avoid all those trial and error attempts that are nothing more than expenses in money.

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