Back when I first started in the newspaper business, everything I shot was on black and white film.
I would shoot my day’s assignments and then head back to the darkroom to process my film, sleeve the negatives and then make a handful of prints for the editors to edit.
Shortly after that, newspapers including mine, started using color photos periodically on the front of the daily edition.
So, at certain assignments, I was called on to shoot my normal black and white rolls but also to take a couple rolls of color slide film. It was a nightmare. During a shoot, I would have two cameras , one with color and one with black and white. I had to alternate with each camera and hope that the best photo was taken with the color camera so it could go on the front page.
The worst part though was that I had to send my color slide film to our main office to be developed. That meant that I was not part of the editing process and the editors saw all my mistakes before I could hide them.
Next came the advent of color negative film which gave the control back to the photographer and any image could run in color or black and white. I still had to go into the office with all my film and an editor could sit with me and go through my whole take but I was able to pre-edit the takes.
Today, I shoot with digital cameras and I rarely go into the office to edit my images. Now I sit in my car or at a Starbuck’s and transmit back my favorites for the editors to select. In my 9 years at the Tribune, only once has an editor looked at every photo that I took on an assignment. There just isn’t time for that to be done.
What this means is that photographers are trusted on a daily basis to quickly edit their takes and send back what they think is best. I think that I am a pretty good self-editor but at times I miss a really good photo.
Sometimes, especially when working on long-term stories, I will go back through old takes to check if I missed a key image. On daily assignments, I rarely do that.
This morning I took a second look at my Honor Flight photos from Wednesday night and found several that I didn’t pull out the first time through. Besides liking the content I also think these work better in color.
©2009 Chicago Tribune/ Scott Strazzante