For many of us, our first foray into photography involved black and white film. It was readily available, and cheaper to process than color. Also, you could easily set up a home darkroom to process black and white film and prints. Color processing wasn’t for the average home user, due to its complex requirements for temperature control and chemicals.
I create my favorite photographs when I abide by two related precepts. One is that, although photographs don't all have to be simple, they should all be as simple as possible. The other is that I should be steering the viewer's eye towards what matters, and away from what doesn't, at every opportunity.