Here are the single and series winners of the 2021 Black & White MonoVisions Photography Awards. There are total 12 categories in this contest like Abstract, Architecture, Conceptual, Fine Art, Landscapes, Nature and Wildlife, People, Photojournalism, Portrait, Street Photography and Travel.
The aim of MonoVisions Photography Awards to discover the best monochrome photographers from all over the world and deliver the best opportunities to be recognized and rewarded for their work.
The Cash prize of the series winner is $3000 and the single winner is $2000. You can submit your entries on their website for 2022.
Congratulations to all the winners and their astute observations, sometimes moving and subtle, other times witty and surprising… always insightful.
You can find more info about Monovisions Photography Awards:
#1 Abstract, Single: 1st Place by Marcin Giba, Poland
I took the photo in my town of Rybnik at the beginning of winter. When I saw a swan swimming in the black water, I immediately felt that it was a symbolic image like a Yin & Yang.
#2 Architecture, Single: 1st Place by Zdeněk Vošický, Czech Republic
Drowned in the fog
Aerial view of the pilgrimage church of St. Jan Nepomucký on Zelená hora peeking out of the fog – a UNESCO monument. The work of the genius architect Jan Blažej Santini.
#3 Conceptual, Single: 1st Place by Kohei Ueno, Japan
In my own bubble
Competitive Freedivers are often asked why they do what they do. Every freediver will have their own story to tell, but usually it is never about the idea of competing against others to see who can dive deeper, longer, faster or beating others. It is usually a competition where you compete against yourself, and a successful dive is always determined by whether or not you were able to reach the depth that you announced and managed to return back safe. Every Freediver has their own story to tell, their own target to hit, diving inside their own bubble that only they themselves can pop.
This is an image of Thibault Guignes, one of the French national champions diving to a depth of over 100 meters on one breath of air at the AAS freediving chapionships held in Bali, Indonesia.
#4 Fine Art, Single: 1st Place by Peter Eleveld, Netherlands
Photography has always been my great passion, mostly in working as a lecturer and for big companies (e.g. Rijksmuseum, Amazon). I made a career in photography for many years, analogue and digital. I came at a point where I couldn’t feel the excitement and creativity anymore and decided to leave the corporate world in 2014 to fulfill my lifelong ambition to work from my heart and soul, not in assignment anymore. The opportunity came along to buy an old Postoffice (in Olst, the Netherlands). We converted the monument (1879) to a gallery, studio and a home.
I wanted to work with my hands again (needed to feel the materials). I was always attracted to the old wooden cameras and historic photographic processes. I bought a big 8”x8” wooden camera and started experimenting with the wet plate collodion process. With this I could go back to the basis of photography.
The wet plate process is exciting and full of surprises. You only have one prepared wet plate and one chance to get it right. Think ahead about composition, light, time and aperture. It all comes together in one unique moment. This magic moment happens sometimes and then a one-of-a-kind photo develops in front of your eyes!
It’s soul satisfying to work with this process. It gives meaning to the material I use; I can lose myself for days in creating images. After developing, my collaboration with artisans, trying out different techniques to choose the best way to print is a big part of the creative process.
#5 Landscapes, Single: 1st Place by Francisco Negroni, Chile
El Chaltén, Argentina. An incredible plate-shaped cloud sits just above Mount Fitz Roy in the Patagonia shared between Chile and Argentina.
These clouds are common in areas with strong winds such as the extreme south of America.
#6 Nature and Wildlife, Single: 1st Place by Shivang Mehta, India
Asian Elephants dust bathing in Corbett National Park in India.
#7 People, Single: 1st Place by Sandra Ventura, Portugal
Life is made up of several cycles … The most important thing is to always have love … Because it is love that unites us!
#8 Photojournalism, Single: 1st Place by Eduardo Lopez Moreno, Kenya
Abandonment and rural death by Covid-19
The inadequate transformation of a rural cottage to respond to the challenges of Covid-19. Desolation and sadness captured through the lens of my camera. A contrast of light and shadow, life and mystery, shelves full of empty hopes and desks without notebooks and pens.
Life is only provided by rays of light that penetrate through holes created by time and neglect in the wooden ceilings. A gallery of images made of saints and virgins populate some of the walls, invoking protection and shelter.
Exhausted and tireless, with a soul full of medicines, a nurse or a doctor approaches the sick, empty handed.
Time runs in the makeshift waiting rooms, gloomy and sad, welcoming patients and the sick, hoping that a miracle will come to that wooden cabin.
I want to visually document the health emergency that affects the countryside, portraying a story that in its own way and manner is replicated in different countries of Latin America.
A life story on the edge, at the border of pain and hopelessness, the resistance of each day, where everything, except death, is improvised. The rural world where the virus arrived much earlier and faster than the cure and the organized response. Where medicines, utensils, recipes and doctors like Brutus and Cassius in the work of Tiberius ”are conspicuous by their absence”.
A part of the world where smoke, clouds, daylight and shortages conspire to create a unique landscape that brings the sinister closer and takes us away from everything, and the rest.
A picture of a dead person whose only elements are a sheet that wraps him, a cot that supports him, and a ray of light that protects him. A body that seems embalmed and that remains us, as Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer wrote, “so fearful and sad.. that I thought for.
#9 Portrait, Single: 1st Place by Szymon Brodziak, Poland
What you see, is who you are – says Szymon Brodziak, the master of black and white photography. The youngest artist exhibited at the Museum of Photography – Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin (2015). The best black & white campaign photographer of the world, acclaimed by the jury of FashionTV Photographers Awards, during 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
#10 Street Photography, Single: 1st Place by Deepak Kumar, India
World within us
I made this image at yamuna ghat , New Delhi. That was to november evening and i saw a person with lots of face mark. Suddenly bird came in his background and i realize this can be a good photograph and i press the shutter.
#11 Travel, Single: 1st Place by Roberto Pazzi, Italy
The Young Breeder
Portrait of a Mundari child with a bull of the cattle (South Sudan). Mundari are cattle herders of South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, who dedicate their lives to the care of their cattle. The Mundari live in symbiosis with their cattle and nothing is more important for them than their bovines.
In the cattle camps, kids are doing most of the daily work. They collect the fresh cow dung and put it into piles which are then set on fire to repel the numerous and voracious mosquitoes of the area.
Mundari also use the ash created by these fires to rub on themselves and their cattle, creating a protection against mosquitoes. They massage their animals twice a day.
When the herd come back from grazing the dust lift by the cattle, the smoke of the fires lighted on agains mosquitoes and the sun light, make the atmosphere of the camp almost mystical.
The young kids and the guardinas are sleeping with the cows. The ash from dung fires, as fine as talcum powder, is often used as bedding.
#12 Abstract, Series: 1st Place by Katia Shtina, Spain
In collaboration with nature and randomness
All human work goes through stages that lead to irreversible degradation processes. And from there, to ruin, abandonment and oblivion. Nature, however, is not consumed with death, but regenerates itself, emitting new forms and aesthetics.
We are always looking for a decadent and beautiful ending. Not beautiful in the sense of perfect, but in a new identity and abstraction that generates the concept of an inanimate garden, not exempt from scars or transitions, with a new interpretation of non-life.
The Japanese Wabi-sabi concept takes us to a visual state in which we accept the beauty of imperfection. But why do we consider the absence of life as a dark scenario and not as a new mutation?
The passage of time, diseases, winds and rains form unique traits in plants, the product of continuous transformation and randomness. An elegant, unique fracture typical of irregular beauty.
#13 Architecture, Series: 1st Place by Marcel van Balken, Netherlands
The insignificance of man
Form studies focused on composition, perception and expression of architecture. Architectural spaces in a play of light and shadow form an almost surrealistic decor. Pure black-and-white images in which the photography of architecture begins to take on abstract forms, reinforced by the apparently disproportionate addition of man. Constructions and shapes, lines and surfaces photographed in sharp contrast to the insignificance of man.
#14 Conceptual, Series: 1st Place by Anna Lazareva, Romania
Metaphysical Body Landscapes
My childhood I’ve spent at my grandmother’s house in Romania, near Carpathian Mountains. Seeing human’s strong bond with earth, observing nature, landscapes around influenced my understanding of earth beauty and mens connexion with it.
All being is something whole, indivisible. Earth, sky, plants, fruits, mountains, rivers, men, women, day, night- all merged together and flows into each other. This process is infinite and harmonious. Men came from earth, lives on earth and will return to earth. And landscapes of earth is seen in body curves.
Growing up I moved to live in big cities, my grandmother passed away and I felt loss of spiritual connexion with nature.
For reconnect I start to search the Landscapes in body in my photography.
#15 Fine Art, Series: 1st Place by Alexandra Black, Canada
Coyopapalotl Itemic [coh-yoh-pah-pah-loh-khl eeh-teh-mik]
Partially funded by a Canada Council for the Arts Explore & Create Grant, Coyopapalotl Itemic [coh-yoh-pah-pah-loh-khl eeh-teh-mik] (my Nahuatl name, meaning the coyote butterfly’s dream) is an ambitious, multi-media exploration of displacement and belonging within Turtle Island’s colonial context.
Using a traditional Tarot deck as the visual framework, and Gloria E. Anzaldúa’s concept of Nepantla (a Nahuatl term) as the conceptual framework, this body of work beckons resilience in the spaces in-between displacement and belonging. Anzaldúa, a Chicana Queer Feminist Scholar, defined Nepantla as the state of “in-between-ness” experienced by people of mixed heritage. As a Mixed/ Mestiza Artist, this is a feeling I have endured my entire life.
By using my Nahuatl name Coyopapalotl Itemic, the project asserts my existence and commitment to Indigenous Futurity. Inspired by a traditional Tarot deck this work aims to capacitate explorations of self. Created in collaboration with models of diverse experiences, embodiments, and expressions, each Tarot archetype is imbued with the profundity of our shared resilience.
Coyopapalotl Itemic is a labour of love. I strive to be a part of a shift in consciousness and culture that affirms my being and that of others’; a shift that holds space for those of us who feel marginalized and/or unsure of where we belong while disrupting colonial constructs of worthiness, asserting: we belong! Developed through tintype photography, and collage in Photoshop, this project applies traditional and contemporary approaches to creation and meaning-making to offer invitations to reflection, healing, and integration.
#16 Landscapes, Series: 1st Place by Janis Palulis, Latvia
Dark photo series with astrophotography. Photos taken from 2017-2020 year. I use different tehniques for shooting stars and nightscapes. Longest project take about seven hours. Enjoy!
#17 Nature and Wildlife, Series: 1st Place by Petr Polách, Czech Republic
Mystery of flooded caves
This series of pictures was taken during cave diving in Yucatan in 2017-2019. The uniqueness of Mexican Yucatan lies hidden underground. While the surface has no apparent water flows that would support buoying jungle, the whole peninsula is connected through a vast labyrinth of underground rivers lasting for hundreds of kilometers. Each of the caves blooms with various spaces and stalactite decorations.
History indicates, this magical water system conceals the secrets of the Mayan culture. In my photos I tried to capture the beauty, diversity and mystery of those hidden places. Because of the pitch black darkness that rules there, taking pictures requires a specific knowledge and skillset to grab the impressiveness of those underground chambers in their entirety. To unlock the scenery in full glamour you need to use specialized diving flashes that need to be installed with great precision. Personally, I combine five flashes: three external and two connected to the camera case.
#18 People, Series: 1st Place by Svetlin Yosifov, Bulgaria
“Mursi People” is a series of photos that were taken during my visit to Ethiopia and are part of the albums “Ethiopian tribes expedition 2018″and “SECOND ETHIOPIAN TRIBES EXPEDITION” 2019.
The African tribe of Mursi people is isolated in Omo valley – South Ethiopia near the border with Sudan. They are one of the most fascinating tribes in Africa with their lives being a combination of brutal reality and amazing beauty. What was really appealing to me, as a photographer, was to capture and recreate the perplexing nature of their culture and way of life. Suffering from extreme drought in the past few years has made their life cruel and sometimes dangerous, but has not left a single mark on their traditions. Living among them gave the sense of extreme authenticity and in the same time felt like an illusion. Their faces filled my insatiable passion for capturing pure, untouched souls of a culture on the brink of extinction.
#19 Photojournalism, Series: 1st Place by Sharwar Apo, Bangladesh
Waiting for last wave
River erosion and flood of Bangladesh has now become a yearly catastrophe. Every year, millions of people suffer from the overflowing of the river Padma, Jamuna and face serious flooding events. During the rainy days, the northern Bangladesh faces heavy rainfall which causes the river to overflow. Every year new families are homeless, dreams are shattered and lives are ruined.
Also, melting of the ice-caps of the Himalayas and sedimentation of the river beds also play mentionable roles in these flooding events. Every year, people are stranded and submerged into the water for days. Stuck without enough food, drinking water and shelter- these people go through immense suffering every year.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its Fourth Assessment (2008) report revealed that over the next 20 years, 2 degrees Celsius per decade. Global warming will increase at a rate of 1.8 degrees Celsius by 2100. As a result of global warming caused by the greenhouse effect, the ice in various Himalayan mountains has already begun to melt at a faster rate. Through the surrounding localities, farmland is flooded and also increasing river erosion.
#20 Portrait, Series: 1st Place by Donald Graham, United States
One Of A Kind
“ONE OF A KIND”, published by Hatje Cantz in April 2021, is a series of portraits that examines the diversity and complexity of the human experience through portraiture. The series began with a portrait of my mother who had multiple sclerosis. Each succeeding photograph referenced it by focusing on finding beauty in character, uniqueness and the imperfections in the human spirit that make it whole, while honoring my conviction that there is truth at the heart of humanity that can be captured with a camera.
#21 Street Photography, Series: 1st Place by Roberto Di Patrizi, Italy
Railway Station III
All my photos at the Station are pre-Covid19. Before the lock-down, I crossed the station every day to go to work. Every day I took pictures as I walked to take the subway after getting off the train. I was a commuter. Now I am unemployed because of the pandemic, I don’t know until when. But I always remain a streepher.
#22 Travel, Series: 1st Place by Sylvia de Swaan, United States
Who Am I Really?
Who am I really I ask myself as I travel on Flight #4787 en route to Berlin in 1990; or when I gaze at my shadow on the tracks along Lake Ontario; or when I see my reflection in a shattered window on route #59; or when I’m with a long ago lover in Penny Arcade photo booth; or when I’m traveling by train through post communist Eastern Europe looking at my I.D. photo that was once affixed to my refugee papers; circa 1946; or when I’m looking at the map of the topography that I come from; or when I finally arrive in Czernowitz, my legendary native city & gaze in wonder at my shadow cast against an ancient wall; or when I gaze at my self portrait at age 70 and I ask myself, who am I, How did I get here?