A Black and White (B/w) image sits a bit below a fractured line of thought that considers photographs as real. Even without colour, it’s assumed that what we see actually happened but with one step removed from reality, in a de-saturated world.
B/w is not just another filter on a smartphone; it is a frame of mind with a solid history and long back-story. Photography started without colour and for about a century, we adapted to this form of representation.
Our perception of the world changes with technology. It’s interesting to note that, in 1975, when a young engineer at Kodak invented digital photography, the first 0.01-megapixel images were B/w on cassette tape. It was 20 years later that this innovation in recording images was taken seriously (encouraged by its potential commercial application) and adding colour (RGB or Red, Green & Blue) was considered worth giving this innovation some attention.
Now that we have a constant stream of pictures at our fingertips, does a monochrome image seem even more unnatural and trigger nostalgia for something lost, or, is it still valid an expression in an over-saturated medium?
This is a question we keep asking ourselves as we take more and more B/w images both for work and personal projects.