Black and white. Few phrases in the English language are more loaded than these three words. Putting something in black and white means we know exactly where we stand, it creates distinction. The metaphorical value of these words go as far back as the beginning. When there was light and dark.
For the artist, black and white means clarity. Favoured by the minimalist. A cleaner canvas means the viewer has more space to appreciate the beauty. The profile and texture underscores the beauty of the brush. Picasso was a proponent of the idea that colour weakens. An observation of his works shows his obsession with line and form.
While colour is by no means the dark horse in the art family, it is obvious that the absence of colour plays an important in role in one’s perception and attitude towards the picture. The absence of colour opens the door to our own imagination.
Elliott Erwitt is credited with the following wise words: “Color is descriptive. Black and white is interpretive.”