Once upon a time there was only monochromatic photography. The optical-chemical process could only produce a range of tones from white to black. If color was to be added prints and glass slides needed to be hand tinted.
The photographer’s process of taking the world that surrounded them in full color transformed and removed the reality by stripping away that color and replacing it with tones of gray.
When color film came along in the 1930s photographers could, if they so chose, to photograph the world in color. However, color photography seemed to be locked into the realm of advertising, and art so called art photography had to be in black and white.
Nowadays photographers have more control over their images than ever before. Photographers need to be aware that their choices reflect how any image produced is to be perceived.
Why did I shoot this image in color, yet manipulated it into a monochromatic image? I think in part it added a layer of surrealism to the environment. The fact of coming across a pond with an island of reeds was just out of place among the asphalt and apartment buildings. The mood completely changes if I were to present the image in color.
Black and white does not make an image more accessible as art. It only acts to create a separation from the world we inhabit to the photography we create.
It is a monochromatic synthesized version of reality.