The battle over color in art photography — and it really was a battle — ended by 1980. During the ’70s, many very good photographers chose to make many very good photographs in color. That those photographers were such a diverse group — William Eggleston and William Christenberry were as different from Jan Groover and Helen Levitt as Joel Sternfeld and Joel Meyerowitz were from Richard Misrach and Stephen Shore — showed how decisively color had outgrown the niches it had previously been restricted to: nature, fashion, photojournalism. It’s now black and white that operates in a niche.
So the Leopold Godowsky, Jr. Color Photography Awards, which are given every four years, might seem anachronistic. (Godowsky was coinventor of the Kodachrome process for color photography, in the 1930s.) In fact, anachronism isn’t an issue, as shown by the namesake show at the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University. Displaying work by the winner, Louie Palu, and three honorable-mention recipients, Aaron Blum, Alejandro Cartagena, and Bastienne Schmidt, it runs through March 22. This is work that demonstrates how much color can bring to a photograph.