Lots of people agree that black and white (grayscale) images actually gain impact over color images ... at least in many instances. Why is that?
Possible reasons may emanate from the known psychological effects of color which impart meaning over and above the meaning contained in the photo's subject matter. Another reason may be what I call a "freshness" factor. By that I mean, because our vision is in color, upon seeing an image in black and white, we experience the freshness of a view out of the ordinary.
I don't shoot black and white photos any more. Back in my newspaper editor days ... pre-digital at that ... I shot ASA 400 black and white film, not necessarily out of preference, but as a practical decision; the paper ran only black and white photos. Today, I shoot no film -- nor do I shoot any black and white digital; when I want a black and white image, I shoot it in full color and then, rather than convert it to black and white (grayscale), I DESATURATE the color in an image editor (i.e. Photoshop) then adjust contrast, highlights, shadows and mid-tones.
By desaturating INCREMENTALLY and not always going to total black and white, I sometimes get an image that "looks" black and white ... but because it's not 100% so, it is a black and white image that has that look, BUT A DIFFERENT "VISUAL FEEL!"
God only knows what an Ansel Adams could have done in the digital, rather than the traditional darkroom where he dodged and burned his negatives before printing.
Okay ... enough theory. The image I've posted is of Mt. Baker in Washington State and exemplifies what I've described.
I'd appreciate any feedback, critiques and questions.
© A. Macarthur/Article & Image