Why Monochrome? Why on earth would I want a gallery of black and white (or more correctly, monochrome) photographs when color is so glorious?
After all, over the years we have worked hard to get away from seeing photos and movies and TV and all the other things in black and white. Think of Technicolor, Living Color, and The Wonderful World of Color. The Sunday Comics. The thousands of colors Sherwin-Williams can mix for you. The cars of the 1950s and 60s with their two-tone paint jobs. Color. There have even been songs about color photos – "Mama, don't take my Kodachrome away."
So why monochrome images? Why now take that color away? Why go back in time?
I started to list the reasons I like monochrome. When I looked at my list, my first thought was that it read like a cliche of every photography article, book, and blog I have ever read. Then I realized that my reasons seemed trite because they are. In other words, my reasons really are essentially the same as everyone else's reasons.
There are many photos that are not very good in black and white, they just do not work without color – think sunrises and sunsets. Conversely, color is not always an essential element of the photograph, and sometimes the absence of color actually creates a stronger, more dramatic image.
When the color is removed from the photo, it allows your focus to be put elsewhere. If my photograph is designed to emphasize form or composition, I do not want the bright red barn to distract your eye. With a monochrome image the photo's form and composition are emphasized and the barn's color is not an issue.
Often interesting textures or details get lost in a color photo. Removing the colors and presenting the image in monochrome brings those textures and details to the fore. Or perhaps the subject matter just screams to be presented in a retro or vintage manner – think about an old house or car or the small town Main Street that hasn't changed in decades.
Once in a while it is just fun to be different. There are many photos that work well in both color and monochrome, and some of the photos here have already been displayed in color. You may have seen some of them. But I venture to say that seeing the same image in both color and monochrome will elicit two different experiences.
It is my hope you will browse through these images and enjoy the shapes, forms, textures, shadows, and composition that photos can convey without having color get in the way. Perhaps you will find one or two that delight you.