Until recent decades, serious photographers worked almost exclusively in black and white. Color film was regarded as too grainy when images were enlarged, and it lacked the tonal range and subtlety of black and white film. Now it seems we have come full circle with digital photography, and black and white images are increasingly the exception rather than the rule; indeed, you can't even shoot directly in black and white anymore without first capturing the image in color. However, I find that black and white is still preferable for some images, particularly when you want to emphasize form and contrast without the distraction of color.