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Monday, 12 November 2007


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"T•Mobile and Deutsche Telecom have apparently trademarked the color magenta"

If they allow that then what is stopping them registering the letters "m u b t i s c l o h c e"

"Sorry, you can't use the letter m in your advert, that's ours"


The colour names table is a fabulous resource. There are large numbers of labels in my browser that appear as ?????, since I don't have Japanese language support installed. From the source HTML, you can see that by clicking on any one colour swatch the entire background of the page will change to that colour, while clicking on the right swatch of each pair, eliminates the text as well.

Combining this page with another news item in this entry, an obvious idea presents itself. Everyone should take any one named colour code, modify it by 1, search to verify the resulting code is not on the list, give it a new name, then trademark it. For example, the first named colour is artichoke or f0ffe6. By modifying the first digit from f to e, I get a new colour number, e0ffe6. Searching the page for e0ffe6 turns up no match, suggesting this colour so far has no name. I hereby dub it artichick, and will instruct my army of lawyers to trademark that combination post haste. ;)

If you have Photoshop you can paste your new colour number into the Color Picker tool to see what it looks like. BTW: don't feel too bad that I grabbed artichick off the top. There are any number of variations on f0ffe6 that apparently remain unclaimed, such as f1ffe6 and f0ffe5.

When I've taught _War and Peace_, some of my students have cut the book in half down the spine to make it easier to carry around and read on the subway.

On closer inspection it appears that the T-Mobile/magenta trademark story isn't really that much of an issue: http://www.engadget.com/2007/11/09/know-your-rights-does-t-mobile-really-own-magenta/

The color chart is indeed fantastic. I used to have a little program on my laptop -- designed for knitters, as I recall. You could type in a color name, (say, heliotrope), and it would come up with the associated color. Very useful: but I lost it, and have never been able to find it again. This is a good substitute.

Do you know,though, whose color names these are? Are they Pantone, or something else? -- I don't, alas, read Japanese.


I've been playing with that color table for about an hour now.

The color name references are very clever and wide-ranging -
myths, nature, cultures, languages and more are referenced.
Some colors & their names are soooooooo spot on --
see 'coke' (86,44,43) -- perfect.
But 'navy blue' (0,153,92) looks a little green on my screen.

There's more than one name that has me scratching my head -
'bubu', 'happy day', 'dormy green' ?

This has been like getting a brand new, super-size
box of crayons with all the Colors of the Universe to play with.
Total fun !!

One further note about the color page: you don't have to type in the numbers to choose the color in Photoshop. All you need do is open the color picker, click you mouse on an image, and, while holding the button down, move it over to the web page, let it hover over the color you want, and let go of the button. And voila! You're now painting with, e.g., ecru beige.

Thanks for the Ilfordians link! It made my day. Now, to wait for part two...

Larry Clark printed in Gibson's darkroom using that Robert Frank enlarger, I believe. (I think there's some talk about that enlarger in Gibson/Lustrum's book Darkroom. Vol. 1 or Vol. 2? I can't remember.)

Re colours:

Who can name 255,51,255 amaranth _red_? It's almost smack in the middle of the violet part of the spectrum. Plus the same colour is named "gladiolus" later. This is amaranth


and that's the colour of gladioli, too.

Why is there "aluminium" and "aluminium gray"? I'm not aware of aluminium being green.

Why is there a violet "copper"? Why is there "cadmium orange" and not "cadmium yellow" which is a real colour/paint? Why are there two different cactus greens? Why is there not _name_ "eau de nile" although the colour is represented under "nile blue"? Why is "pale blue" dark? And so on... That is, the page is a good idea, but the execution is apparently lacking.

And Mike, if you mean _Leo Tolstoy: Three Novels_, it's just 1525 pages. Compare it with _Ash: A Secret History_ by Mary Gentle, which is 1120 pages for one book in hardcover. Or George Martin's _Storm of Swords_ and _A Feast for Crows_ which come almost to 1000 pages apiece. And I took care to point out only _good_ books, not the regurgitated fantasy pap like some I could name. :-)

Gotta love Joel shooting on the street with a digital Hasselblad.

Since it's an odds 'n ends column here are some more:

The Meyerowitz article is somewhat interesting. Last week I was at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, walking out of the modern paintings area, and passed a gallery where they had on display some guy's photo collection (which they probably hope he will donate.) The most striking thing about it was how unbelievably drab the photo exhibit was compared to the paintings. Most of the photos were close to the same size -- pretty small, compared to the paintings -- most were black and white, most were displayed along the eyeline of somebody who is 5'8", etc. A single isolated black and white photo can really grab you when properly displayed in a house, but a whole gallery full of them doesn't work nearly as well, IMHO. I would like to see a series of Jeff Wall photos displayed off a room of paintings, to see what the effect would be.

I think a lot of colors are trade-marked, but the trademarks only work for specific settings; that is, while you can't paint your tractors corn-green with butter-yellow wheel hubs unless you're John Deere, you can use those colors in any other way. But the concept worries me: if they succeed in trademarking magenta, how can I use my Leica M8? (Inside joke.)

My favorite color name in that list is Watteau. It's an appropriate name, too.

Column (or possibly book) suggestion for blocked photography bloggers: Since the rise of digital cameras, the improvements and changes have come so quickly that many people have gone through a number of DSLRs. If you are one of those people, that means that the camera never has a chance to fit itself to your hands, never becomes instinctive. What are the routines that you might use to force yourself to learn the instinctive moves (running up and down f-stops without taking your eye from the viewfinder, using focus lock, adjusting compensation, etc.)? In other words, they'd be like piano finger exercises. I've been walking around with an M8, just shooting crap (phone poles, because they're easy to focus) while working all the bits, but it seems to me there could be a more rigorous form than this. On the other hand, it might be too boring to think about.

It has occurred to me that the little code we have to type in when posting these comments is a kind of intelligence test, and one I sometimes fear that I'm going to fail. Thanks god it's in black and white; if there were colors involved, I'd never be able to distinguish a j from an i.


As much as I enjoy some of these personal artifacts, they still seem trivial. Does it really matter that I now have a cloth that Edward Weston used to wipe off his enlarging lens? (What am I saying. If I had that I'd probably have it framed and hanging over the fireplace.)

I think it would be interesting to see some of the other real life equipment or circumstances, though--the stuff that's unique. Edward Weston's spartan darkroom setup. Ansel Adams's horizontal enlarger. The very early artificial light rigs that Margaret Bourke-White used when she first started shooting factory interiors. Things that are customized and special, or peculiar to the artist.

I was wondering ... which combo Joel holds in his hand ... M6 + 35mm 'Cron ???

"As much as I enjoy some of these personal artifacts, they still seem trivial. Does it really matter that I now have a cloth that Edward Weston used to wipe off his enlarging lens?"

That's why so few such things survive. In the book world what we're talking about would be equivalent to what are called "association copies"--books that were associated with specific people. While it's true that a few objects are recognized as having historical importance immediately--Grant's officers carried off all the parlor furniture where Lee signed the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomatox, for example--most such objects have to go through what I've called a "trough of low value" before enough time has passed that interest in them begins to rise again. During the "trough," a great many association objects are lost or discarded, and people feel justified in doing this because "they're not worth anything." The example I used when I wrote about this in my B&WP column was 1950s lunchboxes--nowadays, people collect 1950s lunchboxes, and they have a certain amount of value. But in, say, the 1960s, they had no value. It's during this time that most of them got thrown away--by people who were saying as they did it, "seems kind of a shame, but it's not worth anything." Thus does most ephemera meet its end.

Another problem is that the present doesn't really know what posterity will value. The things we assume people will be interested in 100 years from now are probably not the things people will be interested in 100 years from now. There may still be no market for, or interest in, 20th century photographers' camera equipment, but perhaps there will be a fiercely competitive collector's market for, I don't know, early inkjet printers or something. We just don't know.

Still, I think there are bargains out there right now for future museum pieces from the age of traditional photography.

Mike J.

Sadly enough, my brother is in St. Louis Co. Jail awaiting trial. They only let him have three books at any one time, so those multiple novels in one volume things are actually kind of handy.

Just a few small notes on the color chart:

I agree the violet rendering of "copper" is unusual, and I wonder if this was due to a typo. There are other mistakes, (cf. "orage," "jyawa".)

Secondly, there are no notes in the Japanese indicating the references for the colors--I would have liked that as it would have helped the view understand the selection process, and the color coding method.

The ordering follows the Japanese pronunication of the English names, and there are no native Japanese terms for these colors in this list. Interestingly, you can find a similar list for colors that in theory came from traditional vegitable matter dyes at:


There are questions in this list, too. For example, the third color down from the top (a "royal blue") is listed as "ao" ("Blue" in modern Japanese). However, in traditional color schemes, "ao" was a greenish-blue, and even today the Japanese call the "green" light on the stop lights "ao" rather than "midori" (the common modern word for "green.")

There is also a list for web-colors:



I'm not trying to trivialize these things--I'm very interested in history and I want to see it preserved. Particularly now as the film world is rapidly being dumped and forgotten in favor of digital. But I do have doubts about the value of celebrity-owned stuff, even if it was part of something famous.

I started asking myself this when I realized people were paying hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of dollars for record-breaking baseballs, like McGuire's or Bonds's. If I go to Cooperstown or a museum or someone's private home and I see Home Run Baseball #755--it might be historically significant, but ultimately, it's just another baseball. The Event meant something, but does the *ball* really mean anything?

"That's why so few such things survive. In the book world what we're talking about would be equivalent to what are called 'association copies'--books that were associated with specific people."

Again, not to trivialize things, but it seems to me we're better off preserving a rare copy of a book owned by an obscure man of no historical note, than to cherish a famous photographer's personal copy of THE JOY OF PHOTOGRAPHY, which can be found (currently, anyway) in any used bookstore in the US. The former has rarity value, the latter is just celebrity value.

About books, we in France have also something big - less than 10 years ago, Gallimard finally daunted to make a 1 (one) volume edition of "A la recherche du temps perdu" (by Marcel PROUST). A summit in french litterature, and for the trivia this edition counts 2408 pages.

http://fr.wikisource.org/wiki/Du_c%C3%B4t%C3%A9_de_chez_Swann_-_Partie_1 if you wann read the beginning (alas, I've often been told it was not so appealing to people whose mother language is not French - and it's true I've never hooked on Ulysses myself, so far).

And about the T.mobile pink nonsense, if you read the news, it's only validated by a german regulation, which is fighted by some European regulations (no, we're not _exactly_ as legally crazy as the US - only close ;o).

It may be crass but the first thought that crossed my mind me was money. The expenses. of jetting back and forward by Joel and his assistant. So I wondered who pays for what? The travel, his time, the assistants, the prints etc. What are the economics of an exhibition.

I presume Joel isn't doing it as a PR opportunity?

Has anyone here had this type of exhibition or know about one (not this size or location but sort of similar)?

The detailed work by Joel seemed to me what one should do and not in the least surprising.

You had Jack Lemmon's M6 for a while? What a great collectors item that would be. Why do you no longer have it?

Hmmmm.... I noticed the color names table includes "magenta".

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