Kevin Bjorke
Kevin Bjorke
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(C)2003 K Bjorke Finally replaced the battery for my G1 yesterday morning — once again able to run more than three or four shots before it poops out. Ran a couple of hundred frames through it since then.

Picking through the World Press Photo 2002 book, I realized: despite a ton of assurances that journalism has gone digital in a deep deep way, you might not know it looking at this “best-of-the-best” collection. What I was surprised at was the persistence, if not of film itself (hard to say for professional gear these days, really), but of Black and White Photography.

Looking through even the abbreviated top story listings on the WPP website, it’s quickly evident that Black and White holds its own against color — to my surprise there’s not just a healthy thread of B&W, B&W is actually more than half of the work represented there.

The questions I ponder: is this really representative of most photography made for press publication in this day and age? Are the judges simply predisposed to prefer B&W? Are PJs and editors just more inclined to send B&W for “best-of” competition? Are these downsampled color digital shots, or are the best shooters still toughing it out with their M4’s and rolls of Tri-X? Will the onslaught of over-equipped embedded PJs in Iraq and the growth of digital delivery turn the tide to color for 2003? Or are we, as I suspect, seeing something fundamental in photography that is unlikely to change, regardless of the variations in technology?

What appeals to me most about this is that B&W is being used in an immediate way, without an appeal to nostalgia or pictorial cuteness. Now if only I could get a predictably-decent monochrome print out of my Epson.