"Black and white are the colors of photography. To me they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected." —Robert Frank
Black-and-white photography defined the medium from the invention of the daguerreotype in 1839 through the 1970s. Modernist photographers like Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Paul Strand, and Ansel Adams explored its formal qualities in their portraits, landscapes, and depictions of city life, and were instrumental elevating photography to an accepted art form alongside painting and sculpture. Black-and-white photography lost its dominance in the 1970s, when the New American Color Photographers like William Eggleston helped push color photography to the fore.