Black and white
In a word - "simplicity".
The most beautiful things are often the simplest.
Because I enjoy black and white, I like the darkroom, I like the variety,I simply enjoy the whole process and if I can get paid for what is the best "Hobby" in the world then so much the better,for me it is a great life,Richard
Because color is somehow "common and ordinary". We see in color all day every day. TV and most movies are in color as are most magazines and newspapers anymore.
Black and white is transformative. The common and ordinary is transformed in something uncommon and extraordinary when we change it to black and white.
I'm with sandermarijn. I'd like to do more color photography but, at least for the time being, I can't really do it.
The thing that I always tell people is that, if you can't do black and white photography well, you will never be good at color.
Exposure, and contrast/dynamic range are key to producing a great photograph. In order to learn it well, you need to take color out of the equation and just concentrate on light and dark. Once you learn that, and can make a good photo in black and white, then you can move on to color.
I always like to tell the story about how Alfred Hitchcock used Bosco Chocolate Syrup for fake blood when he made the movie Psycho.
Because he was shooting in black and white, chocolate looks "exactly" like blood. Plus, it's a lot easier to get actors to cover themselves in chocolate!
I second First Love as the main reason. I am another child who grew up in the 60s shooting and developing B&W.
I also like the abstract quality of B&W as others have mentioned I feel a connection with painters and other artists when I do B&W
I do admit that when I want color I go d!gital.
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Because I see in B&W. I notice light, not color. I also love timelessness, a feeling of "anyone at anytime" which works much better in B&W.
I'm a very experienced color guy, just because life sent me down that road. I generally prefer black and white for my own work, but not always.
Color is a perfectly valid medium, just as is painting with colored pigments. If one is to use color in photography, the color really needs to have some function that is truly essential to the particular work, not just an accidental element. I have shot lots of color imagery, when color is what I'm seeing; if color is, so to speak, my "subject".
To continue the analogy for comparison, black and white is more like drawing. Modernist relic that I am, I see my work as dealing with form, value, mass, line, etc. - basic visual elements used together to produce some sort of statement (the term is necessarily loose in its definition) in visual language.
Having worked in a number of labs and studios, I've seen some million or so color images. While I sympathize with and understand the idea that color is for snapshots, the mundane, I have to say that if you see work done by a real master of color, like, say, Eggleston, it destroys that argument altogether. Better to say that it is generally USED that way, not that it IS that way. Color is most often used casually for "pictures of things". If someone's medium is color, that's another thing altogether.
Likewise, if we consider that black and white is inherently transformative, I think we get into similar trouble. Black and white is often used for illustrative purposes. I once printed a lot of bw images of railroad cars for Paccar, a big company that made them. Would I call that transformative? No. It does show the car's form and construction better than it would if the image had a color overlay. So, in this instance, the idea that black and white can simplify is a salient factor. Illustrations of specimens in botany, etc. are very often done in BW both in drawing and photo because they often show information about the subject better than they would if they were done in color.
But can BW be transformative? Sure. Just take a look at Minor White's work. Can color be transformative? I've seen it, and I've done it.
I think all the comments so far have truth in them, especially if confined to a particular image or type of image, or someone's personal vision, but if we try to nail it down to just one factor, I don't think it works. No single factor can apply for all possibilities.
Its all about light in its purest form. You are dealing with all colors bundled together or the absense of any color, then manipulating it to form tones, shapes, and textures. Getting others to see your vision without the aid, or distraction of colors is what drives me. I believe there are details that can only be rendered in shades of gray, or be suggested by the starkness of total black or total white. Its also about forcing the mind to see, and have it make the story, without having to be told what it is. There is perfectness in black and white. It is the yin and yang, or good and evil. They balance each other out, a feeling of peace or urgency can be elicited from the same image depending on how the artist uses the light and contrast.
BTW: the big kid in my avatar is my hero, my son, who proudly serves us in the Navy. "SALUTE"
PhotoBob, I see by the images you have posted here on APUG that you might have been expecting more detailed and thoughtful responses than "because I like it". To tell you the truth so was I.
Clearly Bowzart's response is one of the best so far. Also "because it's simple" didn't help either.
After a long time of using black and white film I've been asking myself that same question lately. I'm coming up with a lot of shallow answers myself. I'll keep following this thread and see if I can learn anything.
I wonder when photography was discovered and its prints were in colour, would we even know about B&W?