Black-and-white photo challenge, what's it for?

Black-and-white photo challenge, what’s it about?

Recently, my Facebook feed has been dominated by these black-and-white photos with the captions “Challenge accepted”. I thought it was just a regular socmed challenge to see who has the hottest black-and-white selfie since there’s not really enough explanation.

But I was wrong after I found out that famous names such as Solenn Heusaff, Angel Locsin and Maine Mendoza also took part. When you see celebrities do this, that usually means something important.

As of this writing, 6.1M photos have been uploaded on Instagram with the hashtag #challengeaccepted. Different people [mostly women] from all walks of life have participated within the last 48 hours.

The challenge can be traced back in 2016 as a social media campaign that aims to spread awareness for the battle against cancer. It only just resurfaced due to people have been sharing the video of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s viral speech against sexist remarks leveled at her by Rep. Ted Yoho that led to more posts about women’s empowerment, thus, making the challenge trending again.

But why in grayscale?

You may think it has a connection with Taylor Swift’s newly released album Folklore that uses black and white aesthetics to communicate her artistic intent. It’s actually not, there’s something deeper that explains the current use of monochrome photo.

Apparently, there’s something special about the black and white photography that makes one’s selfie powerful. David Campany, managing director of programs at the International Center of Photography in New York explained that “there’s this idea that there’s something kind of truer about black and white…On a technical level, it’s actually less true, because it’s less realistic, it’s got less information about the world. But on top of that, we have all sorts of metaphors about black and white: If you ask someone to give you the unvarnished truth, you’ll say, ‘give it to me in black and white.’ So we have this idea that facts are black and white and color is some kind of wild, luxurious distraction”.

So if you will be asked to do the challenge next, make sure you know what you’re standing for. There’s nothing wrong with adding extra hashtags that explains the intent of the campaign rather than vague #challengeaccepted. Otherwise, it’ll just be a meaningless selfie to feel the endorphin rush while watching likes and comments come in.


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