The hoopla surrounding the Academy Awards ceremony often overshadows the awards themselves. But at Sunday night’s gala, low-budget silent film The Artist stole the show, taking home Best Picture honors. It also offers a throwback to a quainter era of filmmaking and art.
Director Michel Hazanavicius won an Oscar as well – among the five the movie earned – for magnificently executing a black and white film during a time not known for subtlety and restraint. Once you remove color and sound, the story hinges on emotion and the film requires audiences to pay attention more closely.

Many artists regularly strip down their work to the bare bones, leaving only what’s absolutely necessary. Through providing less, you may sometimes add complexity or sophistication. With black and white photography, for instance, some artists have demonstrated a certain boldness that emphasizes equally what’s there and what’s not.

Check out the Everett Collection for some great examples of how photographers have captured powerful human emotion through the absence of color.