Black and White Photography: Art or Sham?

Color films entered the mainstream photography industry around 1930s with the Kodachrome film and since then has made astounding progress in the field. With modern cameras and editing tools, color photographs are very lifelike and yet, surprisingly, black and white photography is a practice that is far from obsolete.From newspapers to wedding photography, black and white images have a stronghold that seems to be getting stronger still, as a style that seems to be loved, if not preferred, more than their high-resolution colored counterparts.Greg Roselli - Photography Social media platforms and photograph apps promote black and white pictures through promotional activities like “black and white challenge” creating an uproar among everyone with a camera to set free their inner artist. With filters and DIY editing kits - black and white imagery has firmly secured its place in our lives, be it in the form of professional photographs or simply a black and white version of a selfie, giving it the retro look many adore. Be it love for sepia and black and white filters or the method of traditionally developing black and white photographs, the real question is whether the entire trend of black and white photos is merely nothing more than a widespread attempt of showing more meaning behind a picture than it might have, in all its fully colored glory? Is black and white photography nothing but merely in vogue? An article exploring these questions collects interviews of various renowned photographers on their preferences in photography and why they choose these methods. Sebastian Salgado says he prefers black and white because colors lie because the camera fails to capture the color he see with naked eye and a black and white picture better captures the essence of the subject, without distractions. While Chip Litherland says that black and white pictures will always remain popular because they invoke nostalgia in people drown in the cacophony of everyday color and noise, Scott Strazzante insists that without good content, black and white photographs are simply an attention-seeking ploy. The style should be used to highlight the subject, not hide focus from it.Greg Roselli - photography 2 The elemental nature of black and white photographs, many claim, is why they are so widely popular. The style has the potential to be beautiful, powerful and can focus on tone, mood, light and emotions in their rawest form, without graish distractions of colors. Many photographers prefer the monochromatic purity of an image over the vibrant diversity of a colorful adaptation and advocates and practitioners of  black and white photography strongly believe they are capable of telling a more compelling story. Then there are those of the school of thought that black and white photographs are remembered fondly by those knew a world before the digital uprising. Some of the most iconic photographs are black and white and some photographers believe that the influence of black and white photography is simply culturally ingrained since we collective associate it with credibility and historic significance. In the end the opinions seem to be divided and oddly cohesive at the same time, with most photographers agreeing that black and white photography is indeed one of the tricks among the many that photographers use and yet it is one that rarely fails to deliver. No one can reasonably deny that when used correctly, an aesthetically-pleasing black and white photograph has the power to tell a story most effectively and for some unexplained reason, be it nostalgia or lack of distraction, makes the soul smile a little.