Black and white, often abbreviated B/W or B&W, and hyphenated black-and-white when used as an adjective, is any of several monochrome forms in visual arts.
The history of various visual media has typically begun with black and white, and as technology improved, altered to color. However, there are exceptions to this rule, including black-and-white fine art photography and in motion pictures, many art films.
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However, black-and-white photography has continued to be a popular medium for art photography, as shown in the picture by the well-known photographer Ansel Adams. This can take the form of black-and-white film or digital conversion to grayscale, with optional digital image editing manipulation to enhance the results. For amateur use certain companies such as Kodak manufactured black-and-white disposable cameras until 2009. Also, certain films are produced today which give black-and-white images using the ubiquitous C41 color process.
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Monochrome anaglyph image stereogram rendered in red and cyan; 3D red cyan glasses are recommended to view this image correctly.
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For an image, the term monochrome is usually taken to mean the same as black and white or, more likely, grayscale, but may also be used to refer to other combinations containing only tones of a single color, such as green-and-white or green-and-red. It may also refer to sepia displaying tones from light tan to dark brown or cyanotype (“blueprint”) images, and early photographic methods such as daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes, each of which may be used to produce a monochromatic image.
Most American newspapers were black-and-white until the early 1980s; The New York Times and The Washington Post remained in black-and-white until the 1990s. Some claim that USA Today was the major impetus for the change to color. In the UK, color was only slowly introduced from the mid-1980s. Even today, many newspapers restrict color photographs to the front and other prominent pages since mass-producing photographs in black-and-white is considerably less expensive than color. Similarly, daily comic strips in newspapers were traditionally black-and-white with color reserved for Sunday strips.:Color printing is more expensive. Sometimes color is reserved for the cover. Magazines such as Jet magazine were either all or mostly black-and-white until the end of the 2000s when it became all-color. Manga (Japanese or Japanese-influenced comics) are typically published in black-and-white although now it is part of its image. Many school yearbooks are still entirely or mostly in black-and-white.
In physics, monochromatic light is electromagnetic radiation of a single frequency. In the physical sense, no source of electromagnetic radiation is purely monochromatic, since that would require a wave of infinite duration as a consequence of the Fourier transform’s localization property (cf. spectral coherence). Even very controlled sources such as lasers operate in a range of frequencies (known as the spectral linewidth). In practice, filtered light, diffraction grating separated light and laser light are all routinely referred to as monochromatic. Often light sources can be compared and one be labeled as “more monochromatic” (in a similar usage as monodispersity). A device which isolates a narrow band of frequencies from a broader-bandwidth source is called a monochromator, even though the bandwidth is often explicitly specified, and thus a collection of frequencies is understood.
A photograph of a parrot rendered with a monochrome palette of a limited number of shades
The monochrome often serves one of two purposes. The first of these was communicating spiritual purity; by choosing one colour, artists could explore the tranquility of total abstraction. In his artworks, Yves Klein hoped to recreate a sense of dissolution of material differences, so that the oneness of the universe could be felt. Similarly in the 1950’s, Pierre Manzoni explored the idea of ‘nothingness’ in his ‘Achrome’ series.
Printing is an ancient art, and color printing has been possible in some ways from the time colored inks were produced. In the modern era, for financial and other practical reasons, black-and-white printing has been very common through the 20th century. However with the technology of the 21st century, home color printers, which can produce color photographs, are common and relatively inexpensive, a technology relatively unimaginable in the mid-20th century.
Black-and-white monochrome: the Eiffel Tower during the 1889 Exposition Universelle, for which it was built
Throughout the 19th century, most photography was monochrome photography: images were either black-and-white or shades of sepia. Occasionally personal and/or commercial photographs might be hand tinted. Color photography was originally rare and expensive and again often containing inaccurate hues. Color photography became more common from the mid-20th century.
In the twentieth century, with the rise of abstract art many artists experimented with making monochrome paintings including Anish Kapoor, Ad Reinhardt, Robert Ryman and Robert Rauschenberg.
1 Media 1.1 Motion pictures 1.2 Television 1.3 Photography 1.4 Printing 2 Films with a color/black-and-white mix 3 Contemporary use 4 Computing 5 See also 6 References
In film photography, monochrome is typically the use of black-and-white film. Originally, all photography was done in monochrome. Although color photography was possible even in the late 19th century, easily used color films, such as Kodachrome, were not available until the mid-1930s.
See also Look up monochrome in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. Duotone – the use of two ink colors in printing Halftone – the use of black and white in a pattern that is perceived as shades of grey (may be extended also to color images) Polychrome – of multiple colors, the opposite of monochrome Monochromacy (color blindness) Selective color – use of monochrome and color selectively within an image Monochrome painting – monochromes in art References
Some formal photo portraits still use black-and-white. Many visual-art photographers use black-and-white in their work.
Explore Yves Klein’s blue paintings in the context of other artworks which use air as a subject
For production of an anaglyph image the original color stereogram source may first be reduced to monochrome in order to simplify the rendering of the image. This is sometimes required in cases where a color image would render in a confusing manner given the colors and patterns present in the source image and the selection filters used (typically red and its complement, cyan).
For centuries artists used different shades (tones) of brown or black ink to create monochrome pictures on paper. The ink would simply be more or less diluted to achieve the required shades. Shades of grey oil paint were used to create monochrome paintings, a technique known as grisaille, from the French word ‘gris’ meaning grey. In such work the play of light and dark (chiaroscuro) enabled the artist to define form and create a picture.
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In fact, monochrome film stock is now rarely used at the time of shooting, even if the films are intended to be presented theatrically in black-and-white. Movies such as John Boorman’s The General (1998) and Joel Coen’s The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001) were filmed in color despite being presented in black-and-white for artistic reasons. Raging Bull (1980) and Clerks (1994) are two of the few well-known modern films deliberately shot in black-and-white. In the case of Clerks, because of the extremely low budget, the production team could not afford the added costs of shooting in color. Although the difference in film stock price would have been slight, the store’s fluorescent lights could not have been used to light for color. By shooting in black-and-white, the filmmakers did not have to rent lighting equipment.
The Wizard of Oz (1939) is in color when Dorothy is in Oz, but in black-and-white when she is in Kansas, although the latter scenes were actually in sepia when the film was originally released. The British film A Matter of Life and Death (1946) depicts the other world in black-and-white (a character says “one is starved of Technicolor … up there”), and earthly events in color. Similarly, Wim Wenders’s film Wings of Desire (1987) uses sepia-tone black-and-white for the scenes shot from the angels’ perspective. When Damiel, the angel (the film’s main character), becomes a human the film changes to color, emphasising his new “real life” view of the world.
The second purpose of monochrome, for some artists, was to reduce the painting or sculpture to its simplest form so that the focus of the piece would be on its pure physical elements; colour, form, texture or the way in which it was made. Among the first was Kazimir Malevich who about 1917–18 created a series of white on white paintings (see suprematism). The German minimalist artist’s known as ‘Zero’ used monochrome as an opportunity to unveil the artistic process, often slashing or creating raised shapes on white or black canvases. In Britain, Ben Nicholson created a notable series of white reliefs in the mid 1930s.
The films Pleasantville (1998), and Aro Tolbukhin. En la mente del asesino (2002), play with the concept of black-and-white as an anachronism, using it to selectively portray scenes and characters who are either more or less outdated or duller than the characters and scenes shot in full-color. This manipulation of color is utilized in the film Sin City (2005) and the occasional television commercial. The film American History X (1998) is told in a nonlinear narrative in which the portions of the plot that take place “in the past” are shown entirely in black and white, while the “present” storyline’s scenes are displayed in color. In the documentary film Night and Fog (1955) a mix of black-and-white documentary footage is contrasted with color film of the present.
Most computers had monochrome (black-and-white, black and green, or black and amber) screens until the late 1980s, although some home computers could be connected to television screens to eliminate the extra cost of a monitor. These took advantage of NTSC or PAL encoding to offer a range of colors from as low as 4 (IBM CGA) to 128 (Atari 800) to 4096 (Commodore Amiga). Early videogame consoles such as the Atari 2600 supported both black-and-white and color modes via a switch, as did some of the early home computers; this was to accommodate black-and-white TV sets, which would display a color signal poorly. (Typically a different shading scheme would be used for the display in the black-and-white mode.)
In a black and white pre-credits opening sequence in the 2006 Bond film, Casino Royale, a young James Bond (played by Daniel Craig) gains his licence to kill and status as a 00 agent by assassinating the traitorous MI6 section chief Dryden at the British Embassy in Prague, as well as his terrorist contact, Fisher, in a bathroom in Lahore. The remainder of the film starting with the opening credits is shown in color.
McDonald Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana – Ansel Adams – Taken between 1933 and 1942
Since the late 1960s, few mainstream films have been shot in black-and-white. The reasons are frequently commercial, as it is difficult to sell a film for television broadcasting if the film is not in color. 1961 was the last year in which the majority of Hollywood films were released in black and white.
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As a form of censorship when movies and TV series are aired on Philippine television, many gory scenes are shown in black-and-white. Sometimes the exposure of innards or other scenes too bloody or gruesome are also blurred, not just rendered in monochrome, in compliance with Philippine broadcasting standards.
In digital photography, monochrome is the capture of only shades of black by the sensor, or by post-processing a color image to present only the perceived brightness by combining the values of multiple channels (usually red, blue, and green). The weighting of individual channels may be selected to achieve a desired artistic effect; if only the red channel is selected by the weighting then the effect will be similar to that of using a red filter on panchromatic film. If the red channel is eliminated and the green and blue combined then the effect will be similar to that of orthochromatic film or the use of a cyan filter on panchromatic film. The selection of weighting thus allows a wide range of artistic expression in the final monochromatic image.
Color monochrome: night vision devices usually produce monochrome images, typically in shades of green
Mary Martin Expanding Form 1954 Tate © Estate of Mary Martin / DACS 2018
In computing terminology, black-and-white is sometimes used to refer to a binary image consisting solely of pure black pixels and pure white pixels; what would normally be called a black-and-white image, that is, an image containing shades of gray, is referred to in this context as grayscale.
We explore the various ways in which artists have used black in their work
Monochrome describes paintings, drawings, design, or photographs in one color or values of one color. A monochromatic object or image reflects colors in shades of limited colors or hues. Images using only shades of grey (with or without black or white) are called grayscale or black-and-white. However, scientifically speaking, monochromatic light refers to visible light of a narrow band of wavelengths (see spectral color).
In black-and-white still photography, many photographers choose to shoot in solely black-and-white since the stark contrasts enhance the subject matter.
it may mean having only one color which is either on or off (also known as a binary image), allowing shades of that color.
A monochrome computer display is able to display only a single color, often green, amber, red or white, and often also shades of that color.
Most early forms of motion pictures or film were black and white. Some color film processes, including hand coloring were experimented with, and in limited use, from the earliest days of motion pictures. The switch from most films being in black-and-white to most being in color was gradual, taking place from the 1930s to the 1960s. Even when most film studios had the capability to make color films, the technology’s popularity was limited, as using the Technicolor process was expensive and the process cumbersome. For many years, it was not possible for films in color to render realistic hues, thus its use was restricted to historical films or musicals until the 1950s, while many directors preferred to use black-and-white stock. For the years 1940–1966, a separate Academy Award for Best Art Direction was given for black-and-white movies along with one for color.
Some modern film directors will occasionally shoot movies in black-and-white as an artistic choice, though it is much less common for a major Hollywood production. The use of black-and-white in the mass media often connotes something “nostalgic” or historic. The film director Woody Allen has used black-and-white a number of times since Manhattan (1979), which also had a George Gershwin derived score. The makers of The Good German (2006) used camera lens from the 1940s, and other equipment from that era, so that their black-and-white film imitated the look of early noir.
Contemporary photo of a Galápagos tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra) on Santa Cruz Island
The movie Pi is filmed entirely in black-and-white, with a grainy effect until the end.
Black-and-white images are not usually starkly contrasted black and white. They combine black and white in a continuum producing a range of shades of gray. Further, many monochrome prints in still photography, especially those produced earlier in its development, were in sepia (mainly for archival stability), which yielded richer, subtler shading than reproductions in plain black-and-white.
The earliest television broadcasts were transmitted in black-and-white, and received and displayed by black-and-white only television sets. Scottish inventor John Logie Baird demonstrated the world’s first color television transmission on July 3, 1928 using a mechanical process. Some color broadcasts in the U.S. began in the 1950s, with color becoming common in western industrialized nations during the late 1960s. In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) settled on a color NTSC standard in 1953, and the NBC network began broadcasting a limited color television schedule in January 1954. Color television became more widespread in the U.S. between 1963 and 1967, when major networks like CBS and ABC joined NBC in broadcasting full color schedules. Some TV stations (small and medium) in the US were still broadcasting in B&W until the late 80s to early 90s, depending on network. Canada began airing color television in 1966 while the United Kingdom began to use an entirely different color system from July 1967 known as PAL. The Republic of Ireland followed in 1970. New Zealand began color broadcasting in 1973, and Australia experimented with color television in 1967 but continued to broadcast in black-and-white until 1975, and New Zealand experimented with color broadcasting in 1973 but didn’t convert until 1975. In China, black-and-white television sets were the norm until as late as the 1990s, color TVs not outselling them until about 1989. In 1969, Japanese electronics manufacturers standardized the first format for industrial/non-broadcast videotape recorders (VTRs) called EIAJ-1, which initially offered only black-and-white video recording and playback. While seldom used professionally now, many consumer camcorders have the ability to record in black-and-white.
See also dr5 chrome List of black-and-white films produced since 1970 Monochromatic color Selective color References Look up black-and-white in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. Wikimedia Commons has media related to Black and white.