I am going to talk about fine art photography and black and white as my preferred way. I do not shoot exclusively black and white but prefer it for my art nude work. I also like to differentiate something that is created in the mind rather than just recording of an image. At the end I will briefly talk about how I do my conversion from RAW to black and white.
My interpretation of art is that it is something that is created in the mind of the artist. The artist can then interpret that creation in whatever manner that they wish to, painting, sculpture, photography etc. Whatever form the creation takes it should create some emotional reaction from a viewer.
When it comes to fine art photography I do prefer the use of black and white over color. I prefer this for one main reason. Black and white allows you to use your imagination in a way that color cannot. Let me explain. If you read a book the watch a movie of that book, the movie will never live up to reading the book. The reason for this is that the book allows you to use your imagination to create the way a person or place looks. The movie will do all this for you, essentially preventing you using your imagination.
In fine art photography I believe that black and white gives you that use of your imagination.
I always shoot in RAW mode, I then do my conversion to black and white using NIK silver effects in Lightroom. I do different versions of images but my preferred method is to pick a low key preset of an image. I then add in detail to the image and adjust the exposure to how I want the image to look. I do prefer the model to pop out from a dark background. You do need to play with the sliders to get the effect that you like. Do not be afraid to experiment, as long as you keep the original RAW file you cannot spoil anything.