Matthew Gamber, "Irshihara Test in Lightbrite", from the series "Any Color You Like", 2010, digital gelatin silver print, 10 x 12

Matthew Gamber, “Irshihara Test in Lightbrite”, from the series “Any Color You Like”, 2010, digital gelatin silver print, 10 x 12

Matthew Gamber

I once taught a color photography class where I had one particular student who would not participate in any class discussions. However, I knew from other classes in which he was enrolled that he was an excellent student. Later, I discovered that he was colorblind. Talking about color was meaningless to him.

For years, I had a disagreement with a friend on whether Gone with the Wind was originally shot on color film. She had seen the NBC broadcast in the 1970’s on a small black and white television, and did not see it again until the 1980’s, in an era when Ted Turner was rebroadcasting numerous colorized movies. Released in 1939, Gone with the Wind (along with The Wizard of Oz), was one of the first successful uses of the new Technicolor process. While the Technicolor system is a color process, the original negative is a black and white separation, which is later combined, one color layer at a time. My friend, by default, won the argument.

The photographs in “Any Color You Like” are an experiment in how photography can confuse our perception of information. These photographs are of objects whose primary function is to stimulate our perception of color. A black-and-white image might depict an object of the present, but its character is forever locked into the past. When these items are rendered in a traditional black-and-white format, the information that remains is merely an abstraction of its previous form.

Matthew Gamber earned an MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts University, and a BFA from Bowling Green State University. Currently, he is an imaging technician with Preservation & Imaging at Harvard University, and Editor-in-Chief of Big RED & Shiny, for which he was awarded two LEF grants. He has taught at Savannah College of Art & Design, Art Institute of Boston/Lesley University, College of the Holy Cross, and Massachusetts College of Art & Design. He has exhibited at Center for Fine Art Photography (Fort Collins, CO), Exit Art (Brooklyn, NY), and Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA), among others. He is represented by Gallery Kayafas in Boston, MA.