A Black and White image sits a degree below a fractured line of thought that considers photographs as “real” documents. Even without colour, it’s assumed that what we see actually happened, but merely with some artistic tampering, in a de-saturated world.
The difference between B/w and other filters on a smartphone is that there is a serious history and back-story with this form. Photography started without colour and for about a century, we adapted to it like we did to night viewed by candlelight.
It’s interesting to note that when a young engineer at Kodak invented digital photography in 1975, the first 0.01-megapixel images were B/w ones recorded on cassette tape. It was only 20 years later that this innovation was taken seriously and adding RGB (Red, Green & Blue) was considered- although, without doubt, there were commercial reasons for the slow uptake.
Our perception of the world changes with technology. Now that we have a stream of images at our fingertips, is a monochrome image a trigger for nostalgia or, being one step removed from the truth, even more valid an expression in an over-saturated medium?