King touches on another potentially interesting question that might be a good topic for a whole new thread, and that is about the conditions of the aesthetic criteria of alternative processes. Is there another set of aesthetic criteria inherent in different processes. There are for transparency film depending on the viewing conditions, i.e. viewing a projection or viewing the image on a lightbox. And transparencies have a very different set of criteria than print, so it should be fair to say that different processes within "black and white" will have different aesthetic criteria associated with it too.
Originally Posted by sanking
Keeping on topic, take Michael Kenna's work. He currently likes to make dark somber prints that aren't too contrasty and with a nice brownish tone. It's beautiful work no doubt about it. But would the prints be as acceptable if the tone was neutral? I believe he is able to print darker because color adds an additional element to the print, one that adds an additional dimension of mood, while a neutral print only has tones to work with. The additional "mood" makes up for lost shadow detail. In a way, his black and white images can be thought of a color images and there is a definitely a different set of criteria with color than black and white. My point is the use of color or alternative processes can also be a way of dealing with the presentation of luminance ranges.