contest in the newspaper business) both years he was in Coffeyville. When photographers from smaller papers started winning these contests, people at the big papers began to notice what was going on.


We modeled our work on that of photographers for such magazines as Life and Look, who had been calling themselves photojournalists for decades.(5) They often used small-format cameras that made 35mm negatives, while the old school newspaper photographers we were replacing were still using the Speed Graflex with its flash bulbs and 4x5 negatives. Unlike newspaper photographers, they did not photograph three or four assignments a day. They worked for longer periods of time on one story. Their end product was a multiple-picture story, not a single picture. Our ideal assignment at the paper, the kind we hoped for but rarely got, was one that resulted in a picture story consisting of multiple photographs spread over many pages.

The change from the 4x5 Graflex — the kind of camera you see newspaper photographers using in old movies — to the 35mm on daily newspapers happened in the late sixties and had important implications for how newspaper photographers worked. Since 4x5 film holders held only two sheets of film, each photograph had to be acceptable. Every exposure mattered. If you missed “the shot,” you might not have time to reload before what you wanted or needed was gone. So it’s not surprising that photographers, if they could, controlled the situation in which they were shooting by posing people and setting things up. Not only did a Graflex film holder have to be turned around in order to use its second sheet, but the flash bulbs had to be changed for each exposure, more time-consuming work that further constrained the kind of picture that could be made.

In contrast, a 35mm camera, such as a Leica or Nikon, used roll film that gave you

The Switch to 35mm and Its Consequences