December 2014 forum results – The World in Black & White

December forum comp shortlist

December shortlist

After much delay I present the results for the December forum competition – The World in Black & White. It’s appropriate that the results should appear now with the release of our special issue dedicated to the beautiful world of black & white photography.

What exactly is the appeal of monochrome, and why do some photographers descend into quasi-religious exultation when discussing it? The reason is that when we remove colour we are able to interpret and analyse some of the most fundamental concepts that make up an image: light, frame and composition. But more than that it gives us room to dream. Black & white is not like real life. We see the world in vivid bursting colour. When we remove that we enter into an uncanny realm. Black & white is a dreamy and romantic medium. This is the thinking is that guided me through your entries for December.

There were so many excellent images here. I’m glad we were able to close out the year with this round before we enter into the maddening conceptual headache of the rounds for 2015.

Contents not included
Prize applies to UK & EU residents only

Our first prize winner receives a Manfrotto Active Backpack I. The bag is a structurally sound, high-capacity yet compact rucksack that can also be used as a standard daypack. With its capacity to hold a DSLR system with 2 standard lenses, 15″ laptop as well as personal items and accessories. The bag has four zippered compartments with the top part designed for personal items and the bottom for photo gear.

3 Adrian Sadlier

Photo by Adrian Sadlier

3rd Place
My World – Adrian Sadlier

In third place we have a truly lovely image. If you look back at Adrian’s entries from 2014 you’ll begin to notice a theme emerging. Adrian’s tactic this year was to include his dog in every entry. It’s actually a brilliant idea and one that in some part informed the rounds coming up in 2015. Working within limitations is a fantastic way of learning how to interpret themes and construct images around those restrictions. It’s a tactic that many photographers employ when they’re suffering from creative block.

Black & white is exactly appropriate for this scene. Would we have gained anything if it were in colour? I doubt it. If anything it would detract from the scene. It wouldn’t work with this kind of light for one thing; I suspect the scene would look terribly flat. Removing the colour allows us to focus on the unfolding action. As a result we have a picture full of life. More than that, it shows just how much joy a pet can bring to our lives.


Photo by Peaches

2nd Place
A Montage of Weymouth – Peaches

I am awfully fond of multiple exposures and montages. Every image contains a thousand elements. Every time we look at it we see something new. It’s like staring into a broken mirror. The fractured glass shows us some angles and element of the scene we would not otherwise see. Multiple exposures seem to act like a weird visual divination – they bring together dispirate elements and tell us something new. The murky tones work perfectly. If the contrast were any higher we’d be a little overwhelmed by shapes and lines. The tones allow our eye time to adjust and settle, and eventually navigate our way around this strange world.

Photo by Jürgen Warschun

1st Place
Late Afternoon Light –
Jürgen Warschun

This was an instant favourite for me. I’m a sucker for this style of street photography. Everything about Jürgen’s image works: the light, the deep and dark shadows, and the pose and placement of the woman. Placing the subject in this area of the image has not only meant she has been framed perfectly, it means we have a sense of journey. Placing her in the centre (apart from the fact she’d be invisible) would mean we would have no sense of a journey through the frame. The image is of course a great demonstration of how light and monochrome can work together. It’s a scene full of atmosphere. My first thought when I saw this was how it reminded me of Philip Lorca Dicorcia’s Heads series (my favourite ever photographic series). Take a look and you’ll get a good idea of why this is. So congratulations to Jürgen and to every else for an amazing year of forum entries.

See the themes for the 2015 competition

Look at all the entries for this round

Read all comments for this round

Leave your comments for winning pictures for this round