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Product Review: EnChroma

Tuesday, August 30, 2016 5:20 PM

Written Blog

Whenever I talk about the creative process, I often make reference to that fact that I am colorblind. For years I never would have stated this publicly for fear that my clients might find out.  The funny thing is that now I believe my colorblindness is one of the greatest assets I possess as an Artist.   Seriously?  Yes, because it drives me down a path that is unique to me.  Isn’t that what we want to do as Artists; to separate ourselves from the masses and stand out?  I hope so.

There are times when being colorblind can present a challenge.  Like the time I went to the Toyota dealership to buy a gray Four-Runner and came home with a green one.  But the interesting part of excepting my Colorblindness and working from the position of uniquness  by following my intuition and just letting the creative process take place; it gives me an advantage.  Look at my work, every images I have created is a result of me doing all the color adjustments myself. Notice that my images have a desaturation look to them. I do this because it draws you away from the color as being a prominent element.  I look at other things that I feel are much more important, like how light strikes a face, composition, subject/background relationship, etc…  

Over the last year or so I kept getting emails from fellow photographers asking me if I had tried the new EnChroma glasses.  Basically, EnChroma has developed some glasses that help correct for colorblindness.  If you go to their web site they have all sorts of information about how it works. ( It is really fascinating. They also have a test you can take to see where you fall in the colorblind spectrum and if you qualify for their glasses.  When I took the test I came out that I had a 30% chance this technology would work for me.  I basically don’t see green.  For me there is generally no difference between greens and browns.  I also can not distinguish between copper, tan, anything that departs from the primary colors.  In dim light I can not pick our red, purple, pink, etc…  

The great folks at EnChroma sent me two pair of there sunglasses and my wife Amy video taped me putting them of for the first time.  If you go to my Facebook, joelgrimesphotography you can see that clip.  EnChroma makes it clear that results will very for each individual.  So my expectations were pretty low since I scored so low on their test.  But as you will see in the video I was immediately blown away by the intensity in the greens.  For the first time I actually saw a distinction between the tree trunks and the leaves.  Not show in the video, was the first time I used them on the freeway. For the first time I noticed the traffic informational signs were green.  My whole life I thought they were brown!  

So the first question everyone asks me is it worth picking up a pair, and the second question is can I use them for my retouching?  To answer the first question, let me start by saying that if you follow my equipment reviews I always state that never make a purchase you can’t afford.  That holds true for cameras, lenses, cars, vacations, etc…  To answer the retouching question, I don’t have the model that is designed for use with a computer.  But I would say this, I have a pretty good thing going with the Joel Grimes look or brand that I have developed over the years.  I have created this style that for the time being there is no need to rock the boat.  So my thought is if it an’t broke don’t make any attempts to fix it.  And because the results vary from each individual, I would find someone who is using this technology for their retouching needs to get their opinion.  

In conclusion, I wear my EnChorma sunglasses every time I step outside and relish at seeing the landscape covered in green.  I also think that there is a bit of a learning curve to getting the brain to know what green really looks like.  It’s more of an association thing.  Like, oh leaves are suppose to be green and tree trunks are brown?  When you spend a lifetime not making those associations, it is bound to take some time to make those distinctions.  For the time being I will keep the adventure going.  Thanks again to EnChroma!


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