Renowned Photographer Dario Calmese Partners With Adobe To Design Ligh – BOTWC

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Renowned Photographer Dario Calmese Partners With Adobe To Design Lightroom Presets Catering To Darker Skin Tones

Renowned Photographer Dario Calmese Partners With Adobe To Design Lightroom Presets Catering To Darker Skin Tones

Finally! No more white-washed photos!

Adobe partnered with renowned photographer Dario Calmese to design Lightroom presets that cater to darker skin tones. 

Calmese is an accomplished artist, director, brand consultant, and Parsons School of Design professor in New York City. He has used art to highlight and explore history, race, class, and human life throughout his career. Last year, he made history as the first Black photographer to shoot a cover for Vanity Fair in its 106-year history, photographing Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis. Calmese has teamed up with tech giant Adobe to create premium Lightroom presets that cater to darker skin tones.

Calmese joined lifestyle photographer Summer Murdock and documentary photographer Laylah Amatullah Barrayn to bring the concept to life, aiming to solve an age-old issue in the digital space of accurately capturing the skin tone and features of darker-skinned people. The team came together to create a new set of tools in the digital space made with Black and brown people in mind.

"The collection of new presets broadens the scope of capabilities for creatives working within Adobe's photography platforms while signaling the future—one with digital technologies and beyond that accurately portray and celebrate the difference, depth, and reality of skin tones around the world," a press statement reads.

Medium Skin Tone Edited Using Adobe Premium Presets. Photo Courtesy of Dario Calmese

The new presets will come in three portrait categories, arranged by skin color: Deep Skin, Medium Skin, and Light Skin. Calmese focused on creating medium skin tone presets centered on those of African descent and those from the Middle East and South East Asians, focusing heavily on the nuance of skin undertones.

Calmese hopes the new presets will help ease the post-production work of photographers while showcasing a more realistic and accurate depiction of darker-toned skin.

"Like the aforementioned 'Shirley Card' which used white skin as a standard, these presets are important because they specifically center brown skin and were developed on brown subjects, which take a bit of the guesswork out of how to render brown skin beautifully. Presets which center fairer subjects may have adverse effects on deeper hues, which could wash them out or render the skin lifeless," said Calmese.

Medium Skin Tone Edited Using Adobe Premium Presets. Photo Courtesy of Dario Calmese

The new presets will come in three portrait categories, arranged by skin color: Deep Skin, Medium Skin and Light Skin. Calmese focused on creating medium skin tone presets centered on those of African descent as well as those from the Middle East and South East Asians, focusing heavily on the nuance of skin undertones. Calmese hopes the new presets will help ease the post-production work of photographers while showcasing a more realistic and accurate depiction of darker toned skin. 

“Like the aforementioned “Shirley Card” which used white skin as a standard, these presets are important because they specifically center brown skin, and were developed on brown subjects, which take a bit of the guesswork out of how to render brown skin beautifully. Presets which center fairer subjects may have adverse effects on deeper hues, which could wash them out or render the skin lifeless,” said Calmese. 

Medium Skin Tone Edited Using Adobe Premium Presets. Photo Courtesy of Dario Calmese

He hopes that these tools create a new awareness among photographers, "that all skin can't be treated equally," and more importantly, that every subject, regardless of their hue, deserves to look their very best. 

Calmese has plans to continue his commercial work, also recently debuting his podcast, The Institute of Black Imagination, focused on allowing users to explore their interests "through the diasporic lens of Black creativity and innovation." This October, he will be bringing a solo exhibition to life at Frieze London in collaboration with Jo Malone London, showcasing the effects of British colonization on the world through the use of scent. While he purports not to think about his legacy often, Calmese hopes that people will take away something from the work he puts out in the world. 

"I hope it shows that liberation work is not simply about addressing people, but also includes addressing the systems and design frameworks of the white imagination," Calmese said. 

The new Adobe Lightroom Premium Presets are available now and included with Creative Cloud subscriptions. 

Photo Courtesy of Dario Calmese