I'm not sure why I was so resistant to the concept of digital black & white. It just seemed so disingenuous; this aesthetic isn't the result of a film stock that physically lacks the dyes to reproduce color but a choice made long after the fact in post production. Along the way in my photographic re-immersion, I saw "Salt of the Earth", Wim Wender's excellent doc on the famed social photographer, Sebastiao Salgado, best described as "witness to the human condition." Equally heartbreaking and inspiring, this man made enormous sacrifices to his personal life and mental health to share his unflinchingly bleak images with the world - most of which are black and white. When I was a student, I spent hours pouring over his photographs of Brazilian gold mines and had forgotten how powerfully absorbing they are. Even though it's unlikely I will ever load another roll of 400 speed Tri-X into a camera in my entire life, the reintroduction to Salgado's images reminded me of the power of the achromatic image, particularly in today's infinite kaleidoscope of unnaturally chromatic digital photos. I now appreciate the simplicity of B&W, even digital despite its inherent "dishonesty", that much more.
The images in this blog post were captured digitally, in full color, and using the latest Sony Alpha cameras while on a boating trip earlier this year down the holy river Ganges in northern India. These photos coincided with the worst bout of food poisoning on my entire six month trip and to be honest, I barely remember taking them. 100 days back into the reality of New York City and it feels like another life. Real but impossibly far away.