A picture which uses only the two shades of white and black would look similar to a silhouette. Therefore, calling a photo a "black and white image" is actually a misnomer.[failed verification][failed verification] The technically accurate term is "grayscale", or more specifically "grayscale monochrome". A picture which consists only of actual white and black pixels is a "binary image".
The history of various visual media has begun with black and white, and as technology improved, altered to color. However, there are exceptions to this rule, including black-and-white fine art photography, as well as many film motion pictures and art film(s).
Since the late 1960s, few mainstream films have been shot in black-and-white. The reasons are frequently commercial, as it is difficult to sell a film for television broadcasting if the film is not in color. 1961 was the last year in which the majority of Hollywood films were released in black and white.
In computing terminology, black-and-white is sometimes used to refer to a binary image consisting solely of pure black pixels and pure white pixels; what would normally be called a black-and-white image, that is, an image containing shades of gray, is referred to in this context as grayscale.