Agora's latest photo contest called international photographers to submit their best black & white shots for a chance to win $1,000. 50 finalists have been selected, it's now in the Agora users' hands to vote for their favorite photo in the app to designate the winner.
In Agora, everyone has the power to vote on which of the world's best photos of #BlackAndWhite2020 should win the grand prize. We believe that every point of view is important, we believe in the power of the people. I wish everyone to vote and enjoy this wonderful worldwide show.
Octavi Royo, Agora's CEO & Co-Founder
Discover the 50 finalists:
'The Pilgrim' by @aungthuya (Myanmar)
Location: HMingun, Myanmar
The Hsinbyume Pagoda, also known as Myatheintan Pagoda, is a large temple located on the western bank of the Irrawaddy River. When I got there, I noticed a young novice paying his respects in this incredible framed view.
'The man and his gear' by @angiolomanetti (Italy)
Location: Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France
In the Musée d'Orsay, located in a former railway station (the Gare d'Orsay), you can admire Montmartre from the clock tower. The clock itself is such a popular attraction that you constantly see people who want to be photographed near it, or, just like in this photo, they get simply fascinated and amazed by its size and beauty. There were several tourists who took turns to get a picture taken, but I was looking for something different and more natural which I think I found in this shot.
'Che, pebete' by @paulaaranoa (Argentina)
Location: San Telmo, Buenos Aires, Argentina
I was watching a young couple dancing tango when I spotted a special spectator in the back. Watching tango being danced in Buenos Aires is very common, but the man standing in the background, so "porteño" (a term to refer to the citizens of Buenos Aires), so full of tango. He captivated me.
'Elephant in the dark' by @tomdewaart (Netherlands)
Location: Somawathiya National Park, Sri Lanka
This is a very rare male Asian elephant, as only about 2-3% of the Asian Elephants grow measurable tusks, making them extra valuable for poachers. From a big group of about 50 elephants, exactly the only one with tusks came walking up to us to show his dominance by spouting water over us. We were so surprised by him coming so close to us we weren’t prepared for it at all. I had my telephoto lens on and had to completely lean back out of the jeep to get him in the shot. Filled with joy I right away knew that a black and white version would work out perfect. Black and white for me is something that shouldn’t be overused and has to be done right. You can’t just turn every photo into black and white. The loss of color has to be compensated by something else; as it is contrast, lines or use of empty space. It makes it a competition that can be challenging. But if it has been executed right, it might be more rewarding than color photography.
'Travel away' by @hedayet1000 (Bangladesh)
Location: Rasulpur, Brahmanbaria, Bangladesh
Rickshaw drivers face a hard life in Bangladesh: they usually come from extreme poverty and work non-stop during long hours of physical efforts and stress, pollution and heat to make a poor living.
'Living with cancer' by @fdilekuyar (Turkey)
Location: Ankara, Turkey
I want to show how cancer patients live, and I want to show it with beauty and sadness. Her name was Zeynep and she had cancer. She volunteered to model for my photography project about terminal illness. Zeynep was like my sister. Since she passed away, I haven't been able to find the strength to carry on this project.
'Reflection' by @giza_1 (Kosovo)
Location: Podujevë, Kosovo
I took this photo with an iPhone 6. I was looking outside the window with my nephew when I saw our reflections. And I thought to myself: "This is it!". I used a light bulb to illuminate my nephew's face more clearly. I placed my hand in the middle of the window to create a clearer reflection. Moral of the story, never give up, just try something new. And believe in yourself.
'Convergence' by @patriciasoon (Malaysia)
Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Just as a magician draws you into a world of fantasy with the wave of a wand, black and white photography magically expands your ability to see the world in detail, composition, light and shadow.
'Face on the mirror' by @zawzawwai (Myanmar)
Location: Yapotgyi village, Myanmar
'Women's Religious Mourning Ceremony' by @mohammadmoheimany (Iran)
Location: Tehran, Iran
In Iran, mourning ceremonies are held separately for men and women.
'Little Prince' by @reiko.t (Japan)
Location: Vava'u, Tonga
This four-month-old Humpback whale calf was so friendly, swimming close to me. Its beauty and strength cannot be expressed in words. I think that the splashes of water and the beautiful patterns of whales can express their strength.
'Innocent Smile' by @debchak (India)
Location: West Bengal, India.
These tribal women live in very poor areas of our state, but still, they don't forget to follow their own culture and traditional activities. These tribal people are very poor but never beg for their daily alms. If I win the $1,000 prize, I will do something good to uplift the education and economic development of these people.
'Attitude' by @dooberrywhatsit (UK)
This image inspired my series called 'Attitude'. We were setting up the lighting for a different shoot when I asked Maddy to imagine someone had really annoyed her with something they had said, or even better, imagine it was me who had said something to upset her and portray that feeling in her look towards me. I didn't want a false smile or forced expression so this natural raw moody look was the result. I started taking similar images of other young females and began to delve into the modern world of Attitude present in young women. To me, it creates such power in the images I produce from this series.
'Let's go home' by @myatzawhein (Myanmar)
Location: Mandalay, Myanmar
The young herdsman was trying to get the bull back to the barn. The animal estimated that, given the position of the sun in the sky, it was too early to return and refused to move forward.
'Beautiful Chaos' by @manishkawalia (India)
Location: Delhi, India
Every winter, people feed the migratory seagulls that visit Northern India. They use boats to reach the middle of the Yamuna river and feed these birds; it looks so beautiful when they hover over the boat. This chaos looks beautiful and soothing. Sometimes they sit very calmly on water, creating black and white patterns.
'Vitalidad' by @danicabe (Spain)
Location: Arrecife, Spain
'My little one' by @froirivera (Philippines)
Location: Manila, Philippines
This is my son, he's about six days old in this photo. I took photos of him every day during his first two weeks. If I get to win the $1,000, I will save the prize for his education.
'Mother aisyah' by @perdiansyah (Indonesia)
Location: Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh
Aisyah is one of the Rohingya refugees living in the Balukhali Cox's Bazar camp in Bangladesh. She's 83 years old, she can not walk. I took a picture of Ayesha when she was heading to the Indonesian field clinic in the refugee camp. She was carried by her grandchild in a basket generally used to carry food.
'Death Valley' by @cannonmatt (UK)
Location: Death Valley, California, USA
Death Valley at peak temperature is 134 °F (56.7 °C) so it was important to photograph early in the morning while the temperature was low! I wanted to reveal the hidden patterned beauty and interaction between light and dark in the early morning at the Mojave dunes. The contrast is accentuated by Black and White.
'Lonely soul' by @jevgenij (Russia)
Location: Riga, Lithuania
The story of loneliness in the big city.
'Fluvial Siren' by @rafaelgranados (Spain)
Location: Covarrubias, Burgos, Spain
Here's my beloved daughter swimming in the Arlanza river. With the evening light reflecting in her eyes, she looks like a siren or mythological creature. If I win the $1,000 prize, I will buy my daughter a present to convince her to love photography and to improve my equipment.
'Hope' by @pranab_basak (India)
Location: West Bengal, India
While volunteering in a refugee camp in west Bengal, I noticed this kid who was sitting on his grandmother's lap. Although living in a camp, they were still struggling to get food and shelter every night.
'Look behind the phone' by @jrrriverorbb (Spain)
Location: Nerva, Spain
I wanted to experiment with a series of creative photos, and my father played along!
'Art' by @chanthar (Myanmar)
Location: Mandalay, Myanmar
'Look' by @huydangpham (Vietnam)
Location: Kon Tum, Vietnam
The Ba Na people are an ethnic group from Central Vietnam. This little girl had such a pure, innocent look.
'Portrait bnw' by @a.rosenthal (Germany)
Location: Africa Festival, Cologne, Germany
I took a lot of recordings from different African musicians that day to capture the beautiful moments. This man from the Trommler group had a very special charisma for me. Through the processing in black and white, I think its interesting appearance is expressed even better. The Africa Festival now takes place here in Cologne every year. If time permits I will visit. Besides good music, there is more interesting from Africa. Crafts, clothing or traditional food from different regions in Africa. Every time I am there I learn something new about tradition and customs. For example, it was surprising for me that the drum was originally not used as a musical instrument, but for communication.
'Fighter' by @swetun (Myanmar)
Location: Yangon, Myanmar
'Stagefright' by @marcelvanbalken (Netherlands)
Just a little ballet dancer behind the scenes. I wanted to tell the story of the excitement before the show, you can tell that the little girl is very concentrated but also nervous.
'Face' by @jayeshvijuda (India)
Location: Kutch Gujarat, India
'Reading the old book' by @tuan1368 (Vietnam)
Location: Phan Rang, Vietnam
This man is one of the last people in his ethnic group to read and write ancient Cham. You can't really tell he's almost 100 years old.
'Rescue' by @wmr.valdez (Dominican Republic)
Location: Isla del Hierro, Canarias, Spain
'Grandma and granddaughter' by @swannlynnhtet (Myanmar)
Location: Pindaya Township, Myanmar
When I look at this picture, I feel the love between this woman and her granddaughter.
'Lemurfly Sleep ' by @hendymp (Indonesia)
Location: West kalimantan, Indonesia
This Sunda flying lemur was taking a well-deserved nap in my friend's garden. He looked so peaceful!
'Bike racing' by @phongag (Vietnam)
Location: Long Xuyen City, Vietnam
'Mama don't cry' by @_bimo_ (Indonesia)
Location: Taiping, Malaysia
The falling rainwater across the car window looks almost like tears. A mysterious, unique and very rare moment. Black and white photography always shows the dramatic side of the art. Especially when the photo is taken at the right time, moment, composition and light. I have the color version of this photo, but the one really on point is the black and white version.
'Waiting' by @asadksungkar (Indonesia)
Location: Surakarta, Indonesia
My neighbor has been through a difficult path lately. He's been unemployed and spends his days waiting for an opportunity to work again to arise. If I get to win the Contest, I will share the prize with him.
'Hylus spider' by @misterpenk (Indonesia)
Location: Magelang, Indonesia
'Survive' by @shahadathossainn (Bangladesh)
Location: Komalapur Railway Station, Dhaka, Bangladesh
I want to survive, I want to live peacefully, I want to fight against the bad people around me in this cruel world. Help me, good people, by raising your helping hand to me. This photo was taken in a railway station in 2019. It was totally a candid shoot. The train was full and this window was closed. A man was trying to open the window with the help of other people around him.
'Shadow of the desert' by @hamid_jamshidian (Iran)
Location: Maranjab desert, Iran
Just my friend walking through the endless Iranian desert... one of my favorite places in the world.
'Dive' by @hariandihafid (Indonesia)
Location: Java, Indonesia
'City building' by @priyonopriyono (Indonesia)
Location: Surabaya, Indonesia
Life is all about good and bad, small and big, low and tall, black and white. Nowadays, buildings grow to squeeze human life. It makes you think about how small we are.
'Turnsemazen' by @bekiryesiltas (Turkey)
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Sufi whirling is a form of active meditation. When the semazen starts spinning his body in repetitive circles, he enters a state of dissociation that allows his soul to elevate and experience a union with God.
'Batik' by @shintadewi (Indonesia)
Location: Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Batik is an ancient method of color dyeing that comes from Indonesia. There are so many old women making batik at home, making an extra income for the family.
'Dancer in the window' by @maxilen88 (Argentina)
Location: Córdoba, Argentina
'Scrambling' by @theliamman (UK)
Location: BlackChurch Rock, North Devon, UK
Blackchurch Rock with a lone rock climber, backlit by the rising sun. This image was taken during the middle of the storm that blew off the Atlantic. I had to battle 60mph winds to take this photograph. Luckily there was a gap in the clouds that allowed the sun to backlight this scene, reflecting off the wet rocks.
'Man’s face' by @photoempire (Belarussia)
Location: Berlin, Germany
I wanted to capture the portrait of my boyfriend in my photo studio, I'm thrilled I managed to capture such a deep look. It was such a romantic evening!
'Foggy morning story' by @mobilephonephotographybd (Bangladesh)
Location: Ishurdi, Bangladesh
'Reflection of the soul' by @aranya_ehsan (Bangladesh)
Location: Dhaka, Bangladesh
In my photo, a lonely boy is holding the window rods and watching outside towards the limitless sky and freedom ahead. With the reflection on the floor of the balcony, I wanted to show how the boy's soul is captive inside his home.
'Prepare in solitude, perfect your craft, and take the spotlight' by @douvision (Ghana)
Location: Accra, Ghana
'Window' by @fossiant (Italy)
Location: Sinnai, Italy
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