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Code Word 'Black and White': 11 Internationally Awarded Photos That Delve into the Monochrome Photography

  • June 13, 2018
  • 2166 1 0


Is that so?

I’ve heard you’re truly fascinated by the black and white photography. What’s more: you often caught yourself dreaming about being the next world-known monochromatic photographer that crushes the competition in any B&W contest.

Great! You’re at the right place and the right time. But let’s make a couple of things clear before we delve into the main cornerstones of this type of photos.

1.      Can you tell the difference between black and white photography and monochrome photography?

2.      Do you wish to learn it, along with knowledge about how to nail the best shots of this type?

Don’t worry if your answer to the first question is “no”, we only need one “yes” to proceed. You’ve already read this far, thus I assume we have a deal, so come on, let me entertain you – just like Robbie Williams sang in ‘97. But this is 2018. We are leaving the defeat of Deep Blue over Kasparov at 1997 to the historians and head straight on.

In this article, you will find covered:

·        Monochrome Versus Black and White Photography

·        Examples of Real-Life Professional B&W Photographers and Their Artworks

·        Basic Concepts and Techniques of Black and White Photography

Monochrome Versus Black and White Photography

What’s in common of those two and what’s the difference? Let’s begin with a statement to think over.

Each B&W photography represents a monochrome photography, but not each monochrome photograph is a B&W photograph.

Confused a little? Keep reading to get it clearer.

In short, black and white photography is the one that has an absolute absence of color. It entirely consists of one tone – the gray one – and shades of it, varying from dark to light (black to white).

So far this completes the requirement of the monochrome photography to be monochromatic. Thus, represents a great example of it. But the monochromatic photography isn’t necessarily displaying only shades of gray. Here comes the difference.

Monochrome photography consists of tones of one color that could be yellow, red, blue, green or other. The sepia effect is an example of a monochrome photography that isn’t black and white.

11 Exemplary Black and White Photos Taken by Professionals

Now, when the semantics have been explained, a few examples would come up great to back up the knowledge about black and white photography. These following images have been taken by photographers from across the world, using them to enter in one of the latest B&W photo competition for 2018.

All of these have been awarded for the skills and have taken the top places. Watch each one of them and recognize the distinguishable style of each photographer. Pay attention to the details and the main techniques used, which we will later in this article discuss.

“Waiting for the Last Train” by Ferdous Shabbir

Ferdous Shabbir is a photographer from Bangladesh. He used the B&W filter to capture an old woman waiting in the train station.

One of the many perks of the black and white photography is that taking the colors away actually attracts the audience’ focus. It also adds a pinch of a philosophy towards the perception of the image. Like in this case, for example, the woman seems to be trapped on the station and behind those bars, which indirectly reminds of her soul being trapped in her body.

“Going to the Fields” by Zay Yar Lin

Light is an important asset in this photograph. Thanks to it, the image is closer to the white shades with pure black nearly lacking. Zay Yar Lin says that this image shows farmers going out to the fields, in the morning, at Xiapu, China.

“Sensual Seduction” by Samuel Zlatarev

The author comments: “Beauty is everywhere. We just have to have eyes to see it. I took this shot with a big octa placed 45° above the model with 85mm lens.”

How do you think – would this image have been more seductive if the colors weren’t removed?

“Awaiting the Storm” by Plamen Petkov

Happening in the lands of Bulgaria, it is typical for the month of May to be inconsistent. Being sunny for a few minutes, then gathering some clouds and beginning to rumble. The author poses a question, stating: What could be better for a landscape photographer of dramatic skies and amazing light?


The keyword is in bold. Monochrome is capable of delivering such sensations.

“Return from Work” by Zay Yar Lin

On the photo is a woman returning home from fish market at the beach, in the evening, after selling fishes.

“Bird Shaped Memorial” by Md. Nazmul Hasan Khan

The highest memorial in Bangladesh situated in Jahangirnagar University which is bird-shaped on top.

“Brick Field” by Azim Khan Ronnie

More white than black, the creation of Mr. Khan Ronnie is in between top 10 winners of the aforementioned competition for black and white photography. He is constantly showing his dedication to photography with multiple challenges and one can learn many things about photo shooting techniques through his art.

“Fearless Woman” by Md. Nazmul Hasan Khan

Md. Nazmul emphasizes on the rush on transportation in Dhaka, Bangladesh. This is especially true before vacation (weekends). Even a woman is riskily trying to ride on to the train for going to her village after doing the whole week work.

“The Magic of Small Things in Nature” by Kostadin Yordanov

This dandelion hides a perfectly balanced tone, moving from deep black to vibrant white. Its’ story is told by a Bulgarian author, rather than Ray Bradbury.

“Circle of Freedom” by Pranab Basak

Or we could also tell that this photo is encircling one bright childhood with a black rubber.

“Keep the Faith” by Itso Tepavicharov

I shot a monk while I was in the tunnel of the Saint Georges Monastery, returning me back to the time when the monasteries were the main pillar of spirituality in Bulgaria, during the Turkish slavery.“

The usage of black and white shading is extremely accurate for telling stories, like this one, referring to a period of dark times.

Basic Concepts and Techniques to Improve Your Black and White Photography

Hopefully, you’ve taken a good look at all examples that came out of our Best Black and White Photo 2018 contest. If those above were not enough to satisfy your hunger, make sure to go through all 46 entries. But before you go taking your shots, make sure you have all the basics of how to improve your black and white photos.

Choose to lean on these 5 important cornerstones:

1.      Contrast: If you’re going B&W, then go deep. Create scenes that start with a dark black and go all the way to the snowy white through the gray.

2.      Shadows: Since you’re not relying on colors anymore, trust on shadows to attract the audience. Alter them, clarify them, adopt them.

3.      Tone: Play with the hue and experiment if you want to distinguish the colors with different shades of gray, thus making the picture more vivid.

4.      Shapes: Combine this one with the contrast and you could have amazing photos – either close-ups or distant ones.

5.      Texture: Emphasize on the details. Make sure that a beard is recognizable or dog’s fur isn’t blurry.

In the end, remember that such contests are important to you. Besides from giving you a prize incentive, they also nurture your skills by allowing you to show more of yourself and learn from others. Now check out our current active competitions and make sure you join them!

p.s. You can always ask a photographer about ideas and recommendations. The best thing about VOUBS is that it creates a community where people help each other.


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