We are probably not the most objective group among which to seek an unbiased answer, but here goes.
In essence, I’m wondering if black & white is, for all intents and purposes, culturally considered dead. Sadly, I am beginning to suspect it is.
When I was first hired by an industrial product studio in 1970, the default medium was 8x10 b&w, contact-printed onto ferrotyped AZO.
Short-run b&w lithography (Kinkos) and color anything was much too expensive. So nearly all widget photo assignments called for a shot and 500 glossies.
In those days, all model’s head shots and comp sheets were in glorious b&w. Newspapers, driver’s licenses and passports had no color. Highschool yearbooks and quality portraits were routinely done in monochrome.
Fast-forward to today and now (virtually) everything commercial is done digitally. For all its flaws and strengths, the main point is that digital makes color easy. There is nothing in money nor labor to be saved by “limiting” oneself to black and white in this medium. Unless you only want to attract attention with a “special effect”.
Some photographers who still attempt to market b&w photography to the general public do it as a “camp” nostalgic old-fashioned gimmick. They shoot on a vintage wooden camera and may offer “old-time” costumes for the sitters to wear.
But the main point of this post is the question, is it still possible to produce b&w as a modern medium and market it to the general public with a straight face?
I know my old advertising agency buddies have no use for my current b&w efforts any more.
But what about portraits?
Could I offer to make a First Communion photograph of the neighbor’s child out on their front lawn and present the family with a beautiful LF b&w print without getting raised eyebrows? How about a wedding?
Or am I now limited to doing only “personal work” and esoteric arty stuff for the camera club and wealthy private collectors, but nothing intended to be seen by the general public.
Will I, from now on, be labeled by ordinary folk as "that nice old man who still makes funny-looking old-fashioned pictures"?