In November 2019, the online magazine ‘The Independent Photographer’ organized its monthly contest around the theme ‘Black & White Photography’. On this occasion, the renowned Magnum photographer Jacob Aue Sobol, recognized for his portraits of indigenous and tribal peoples, was a judge of the competition.

Born in Copenhagen in 1976, Jacob Aue Sobol is an acclaimed Danish photographer and member of Magnum Photos with a unique and expressive style of black-and-white photography.

From the earliest days of photography to the modern digital era: black & white photography has changed the way we see the world. Regardless of genres, the black & white legacy left by the great masters of photography still inspires and encourages both amateur and professional photographers to work in black & white. After receiving and sorting photos from more than 60 different countries, this award aimed to discover the strongest and most captivating images of today’s Black & White photography.

Enjoy the results & congratulations to the Winners & Finalists!

More info:

Dimpy Bhalotia – 1st Prize

Image credits: dimpy.bhalotia

$1000 Prize: Dimpy Bhalotia

We Run, You Fly – “It is a very intuitive process for me to choose my favorite images. It’s the same as when I take pictures. I follow my gut feeling. What touches me? What images ask questions more than trying to give answers? – I want to be like a newborn seeing the world for the first time. Open. Honest.

When you focus on what you share with the subject, also the viewer will feel invited inside; “yes I remember how it is to feel free and jump after flying birds, I remember how it is to love unconditionally. I remember how it is to feel the soft water caressing my back and the warm sun on my skin. I remember how it is to feel a part of nature. At the moment I look at these two photographs, I AM the little boy jumping in joy after a 1000 birds, I AM the young woman being caressed by the stream. I am free.” Jacob Aue Sobol – Competition Judge.

Javier Arcenillas – 2nd Prize

Image credits: javierarcenillas

$600 Prize: Javier Arcenillas

Under the Amazon basins in the heart of the jungle is the ravine of the Nanai River. For generations, the indigenous people have worked the environment explored the light on a journey towards a latent reality of the climate, for them that origin is in need of satisfying a basic impulse of the dominion of their cosmos.
They are dreams materialized in a hidden place in the jungle. In a meeting of two worlds, their universes divide or intertwine over water or earth, soil and stars, consciousness and matter.

Mushfiqur Rahman – 3rd Prize

Image credits: mushfiqur.rahman8

$400 Prize: Mushfiqur Rahman

Coal Workers – Gabtoli, Bangladesh
“Black and white photography as a way of revealing things that can’t be found in color and it ‘is truly quite a departure from reality’; as master photographer Ansel Adams once said.

Representing the world through the use of a monochrome palette provides the artist with a level of abstraction that can emphasize on the photographer’s connection with the subject and the message conveyed through the lens. Here, a well-composed, quiet and seemingly peaceful scene at first glance, soon disappear to reveal all the hardship and living conditions of the working class; Clearly, a photograph portraying two miners laying on a pile of charcoal at night was not meant for color.” – The Independent Photographer Editors.

Steve Lease – Finalist

Image credits: stevelease


Alain Schroeder – Finalist

Image credits: Alain Schroeder

Greece – A man drying off with a Mao towel.

Donell Gumiran – Finalist

Image credits: donellgumiran

My Soul – Northern India.

Dragos-Radu Dumitrescu – Finalist

Image credits: dragosradudumitrescu

Bucuresti, Romania 2017.

Enrico Marone – Finalist

Image credits: Enrico Marone

“What’s the future of fisheries? – These photos are part of a series of photographs (Brazilian Tide’s People) that I have been registering for over 15 years, focusing on traditional fishers in Brazil. These fishers maintain their traditional culture alive through generations and depend on a healthy ecosystem to survive. Accordingly, the geography and their fishing techniques and target species, are called caiçaras, marisqueiras, and caranguejeiros. From the Brazilian South Coast up to Amazon Coast, I immersed myself in the life and culture of these people of the seas and tides to show the power and strength of these suffered and worthy fisher’s communities.” Enrico Marone.

Maria Tomas-Rodriguez – Finalist

Image credits: photomtr

Circumcision – “I met these boys, all members of the same family, during their seclusion period following their circumcision. I was visiting their family and they invited me to see them as a welcoming gesture and as a matter of family pride. Traditionally, women cannot see circumcised boys during the seclusion period. It was a great portrait opportunity for me. Their traditional circumcision gowns, body positions, and faces shocked me. Male circumcision is one of the oldest and most widespread surgical procedures in the world performed in prepubertal boys, adolescents or adults. In Senegal, male circumcision is considered essential to become a full member of society. Because it is a strong cultural practice, traditional male circumcision is usually not an optional procedure upon which an individual may decide. Community involvement before, during and after traditional male circumcision is strong. Three phases describe the ritual of male circumcision: preparation leading to the actual procedure, a period of seclusion whilst healing, and reintegration of the initiates into their society. Female circumcision has, by contrast, been banned in Senegal since 1999.” Maria Tomas-Rodriguez.