Monochrome photography

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Doris Ulmann's Laborer's hands

Monochrome photography is photography where the image produced has a single hue, rather than recording the colors of the object that was photographed. It includes all forms of black-and-white photography, which produce images containing tones of grey ranging from black to white.[1] Monochrome photography is mostly used for artistic reasons in the contemporary world.


1889 Eiffel Tower - Exposition Universelle (1889) for which the Eiffel Tower was built.

Most modern black-and-white films, called panchromatic films, record the entire visible spectrum.[1]:157 Some films are orthochromatic, recording visible light wavelengths shorter than 590 nanometres.[1]:158 Black-and-white photography is considered by some to be more subtle and interpretive, and less realistic than color photography.[1] Monochrome images are not direct renditions of their subjects, but are abstractions from reality, representing colors in shades of grey. In computer terms, this is often called greyscale.[2] Black-and-white photography is considered by some to add a more emotional touch to the subject, compared with the original coloured photography.[3]

Monochrome images may be produced using black-and-white film or paper, or by manipulating color images using computer software. Color images can be converted to black and white on the computer using several methods, including desaturating the existing color RGB image so that no color remains visible (which still allows color channels to be manipulated to alter tones such as darkening a blue sky, or by converting the image to a greyscale version (which eliminates the colors permanently), using software programs like Photoshop.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d Langford, Michael (2000). Basic Photography (7th ed.). Oxford: Focal Press. ISBN 0-240-51592-7. 
  2. ^ "Definition: Grayscale". Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "Black and White Photographs, January 16, 2015". Retrieved 2015-04-20. 

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