Black and white – are they colors?
Go to your local paint store and order pure black and pure white, and they’ll come up with those. No problem. How come there is a whole debate of whether black and white are colors? The science and theory of color which is our basis for determining black and white will have you scratching your head. Are black and white really considered as colors? We will explore and answer that.
Our reference is the site ColorMatters.com and they have an intensive description of what constitutes color and whether black or white can be categorized as such. I suggest you go over their very enlightening article Are Black & White Colors? and get a better understanding of this topic. Let me summarize the findings:
1. Black is not a color. It is the absence of color or the complete absorption of light.
2. White is a color. White reflects all the colors of the visible light spectrum to the eyes.
This obviously is going by the technical definition and scientific fundamentals of colors. As of last count, we have 16 million colors to go by. For black and white, aside from pure black and pure white, we have 254 shades of gray to choose from. But anyway, for practical purposes we categorize black and white as colors. Black is even considered the darkest of colors. The classic black is a standard color for cars, cameras, clothes and high fashion. We are practitioners of black and white photography, and we go by the power and strengths of these two colors to come up with our monochrome masterpieces. So strictly speaking, black is not a color while white is a color because it is the sum total of all the colors in the light spectrum. In the real world however, we are a pragmatic, creative and artistic bunch and we use black and white as normal colors in our palette of tools whether we are graphic artists, designers, painters or photographers.