It’s not a pipe, we know that.

ceci n'est pas une pipe

It’s the first page of google image results for a search Joe was doing. The most striking thing about it is the variation in color among the different versions of the same image.

In my day job as publications guy at the Asian Art Museum a lot of my time is spent doing color correction of images. Most people are aware that what they see in a book — a reproduction of a photograph, usually made up of different amounts of four colors of ink — is not going to look the same as the object that hangs on the wall. But I don’t think most people realize how great the variations can be. We work hard to be “accurate,” but it’s still sobering to hold the printed version next to the original. These thumbnails are a good reminder of the subjectivity of color and the variability of light and lens and ink — of the photographic and reproduction (print or screen) processes.