Regardless of genre, we wanted to celebrate the beauty and wealth of black & white photography. Be it in street, fashion, portrait, landscape, documentary, or any other form of photography: we want to be moved and inspired.
Make sure to sign up for the newsletter and join us over on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where we’ll be sharing all our favorite images from the competition. Congratulations to all the talented photographers who made it to the final!
1ST PRIZE: Martina Holmberg
“As a rule, I don’t believe in the notion of what is “best” in any creative field. Stating the obvious, all art is entirely subjective. So for me, it just comes down to what each person’s favorite may be. And of the photos that I reviewed, this was my clear favorite. Both in execution and concept, I find the photograph simply very moving. As the photographer writes, “The project involves people who have suffered from diseases that have changed their bodies both on the inside and the outside…Emma…lives with a chronic brain tumor and breast cancer.” Some would argue that any visual art should work purely on its own without explanation. This photo does, but is also all the more powerful when finding out about the person in the photo. So for me, the photograph – in composition, lighting, and pose – captures this on a visceral emotional level, and on a boldly graphic level, all the stronger for being black and white.” — Nick Brandt
2ND PRIZE: Florian Kriechbaumer
“This photograph’s impact will be lost on Instagram, but viewed on a 30” monitor as I did, it has power once you can clearly see the two oryx in left mid-ground. I admit that its theme is one in which I am also personally interested: the conflict between the human and animal worlds and the shrinking amount of space remaining for the latter. I think that this photograph represents this in a very visually elegant way. And also works more effectively as a black-and-white image in the way that the oryx tonally stand out more in monochrome.” — Nick Brandt
3RD PRIZE: Melissa Cormican
“A perfect marriage of light and form, Melissa Cormican has captured perfectly the beauty of the iconic Canada goose. Seen at close quarters, the animal’s form reveals a litany of tactile textures and variegated shades, endowing it with a sculptural quality that evokes the work of masters like Ruth Bernhard and Edward Weston, whilst demonstrating the unique potential of monochrome.” – The Independent Photographer Editors
Judge: Nick Brandt
Nick Brandt is a British photographer who focuses his work on humanity’s destruction of the natural world. He spent nearly two decades photographing African wildlife and former wild areas decimated by human development. His fascination with the changing natural world is evident in series like Inherit the Dust (2016), where Brandt placed previously unreleased life-size animal portraits among sites of urban development, new factories, wasteland, and quarries, and This Empty World (2019), a series that addresses the destruction of the natural world and shows its impact on animals.
Often photographing animals in black-and-white or sepia tones, Brandt portrays his subjects as sentient creatures not so different from humans. Experiences photographing African elephants and learning about their poaching prompted Brandt to co-found the Big Life Foundation, which protects the animals and ecosystem of a large swath of Kenya and Tanzania.