Some of the greatest and most famous photographs ever taken have been in black and white. The absence of colour can give photographs ranging from those with a wide flowing spectrum of soft grey tones to those with dramatic extremes of light and dark. This gives the photographer an almost unlimited range of artistic interpretation and control that is just not available with colour photography. This is due, in part to the extreme flexibility of individual control that the photographer can bring to the black and white process, such as special filters, choice of film, choice of processing, choice of printing paper and choice of printing technique etc.
The artistic beauty of black and white photography requires photographers to re-think how they view a scene. This is because the scene is recorded in shades of grey and not the colours of the original scene. Photographers need to consider how they want to record the scene and what special techniques, if any, they will be using. If the contrast of many ordinary scenes is increased the features of the photograph can be changed with dramatic effect, but if the contrast is reduced the picture can take on a serene pastel effect. This range of choices gives photographers the opportunity to recreate the scene in the way that they want to portray it, so giving them full artistic control.
Sometimes scenes can contain bold and vivid colours which are uncomfortable on the eye and which can distract from the scene. In black and white photography these are converted to shades of grey. The photographer is given the choice of recording the scene in the normal way or using coloured filters to either heighten or diminish the differences between the colours.
From a 2009 Article by Nicholas A. Price
Nicholas A. Price Copyright ©2009- 2018
About the author:
Nicholas A. Price is a true renaissance man being a full-time writer, master fine art photographer and visual artist of more than 30 years.
His articles have been published in several books and also featured in presentations, lectures and interviews at the Guggenheim Heritage Museum, KNPR, Boston Globe, USA Today and the Las Vegas Review Journal.
His art and photography are featured in many important institutions including the Library of Congress.
You can also follow Nicholas on his twitter accounts: @finefilmphotos and @nicholasaprice