Black and white photography is an art form!

I have quite a few black and white photos on my walls. Beautiful monochrome photography requires an elevated sense of composition, shape, contrast, and tonality. And sometimes the colors of a scene are just blah, yet other elements are interesting and the photo can actually be improved by simplifying it, taking away the color and adjusting tonal contrasts.

And for me there's a nostalgia factor, the first few years I took photos black and white prints were the only option. Back in the day photographers were only shooting slide film for quality color images, and the process to print from slides was costly with results that were not always satisfying.

These days I never set out to take a black and white photo, but as I'm capturing a scene I often realize it will work better without color. The experimentation and decision for a final version comes later when the image is on a computer screen and I try different editing techniques. When I was shooting black and white on film many years ago I had yellow, orange, and red filters, as well as a polarizing filter, all of which could add tonality changes and contrast to an image; now it's all done in post-processing with editing software.

It feels like cheating but (almost) all modern photographers do it. Ansel Adams had filters to work with, but all the other adjustments happened in the darkroom with dodging and burning techniques, a tedius way to get the end result you want. Now we have digital magic.