The beauty of black-and-white photography is that it removes the distraction of color, creating dramatic imagery that’s one step removed from reality. In a celebration of monochromatic photography, the prestigious Black and White Photo Awards has revealed its 2023 winners.
The second edition of the competition attracted a record-breaking number of entrants, nearly 1,700 across 92 countries, who submitted around 3,000 stunning black-and-white pictures in five categories: architecture, street, portrait, fauna and flora, and landscape. And, for the first time, the competition included second-place awards in each category as well as the traditional gold, silver and bronze honorable mentions.
Judged by a panel of notable photographers to be the Absolute Winner was Patrice Quillard from France, whose picture of a gelada staring intensely at the camera (see main image) is both arresting and unnerving. The Special Prize for Creativity was awarded to Ágnes Dudás, who painted onto a transparent film and photographed her model through it.
The winning entries in each of the set categories are just as compelling. Gareth Jones won in the architecture category for a simple composition of streetlights over an Ottawa pathway. Meanwhile, capturing the exuberance of Bangladeshi children playing in a rice field among giant hat-shaped bamboo cones earned Joy Saha the win in the street category.
The fauna and flora category win went to Arturo de Frias Marques for his image of sea lions corralling their next meal, a school of mackerel, while Edoardo Frenquelli’s image of a lightning strike emerging from rolling clouds took out the landscape category.
But the portrait category is where the magic of black-and-white photography truly shines. Michael Potts’ ‘Reflection,’ the winning entry in this category, is a contemplative piece that strongly contrasts dark and light, literally and metaphorically. Another standout is the second place winner, Abhishek Basak’s image of a soulful child surrounded by hands raised in unison with theirs.
This year, the Black and White Photo Awards prize money increased, with a total of €2,500 (US$2,700) distributed among the winners.
The competition’s organizers were impressed with the number and quality of entries submitted in 2023.
“In this second edition, we expected a slight increase in entries, but the results have exceeded all our expectations, both in participation and in the impressive quality of the images,” they said.
Building upon the success of this year’s competition, the organizers are already looking ahead to next year’s edition. Entries will be accepted from the 1st of January 2024.
The full list of winners is available via the link below, or check out some of our favorites in our gallery.
Source: Black and White Photo Awards