Monochrome Marvels: Our Favourite Black and White Photos from TIFA 2019

October 7, 2020

While colours tickle our senses in a more intensive way, monochrome images have a certain powerful presence to them. Last year, we received a large number of black and white photos at the Tokyo International Foto Awards - we chose our ten favourite works. 

Balenciaga Summer 2019 Campaign by Robert Yager - Gold in Advertising/Fashion, 1st Place winner in Advertising

Inspired by Yager's black and white gang series from the 1990's, Balenciaga asked the photographer to shoot their fashions in the same gritty way, with models in Upstate New York, for their Summer 2019 worldwide campaign. It was November and a snow storm occurred. Balenciaga agreed to have snow in the background at this time of Climate Change.

M.I.T by Louis-Philippe Provost - Silver in Architecture/Buildings

This photograph captures the stark facade of the The Ray and Maria Stata Center otherwise called Building 32, an academic complex designed by Pritzker Prize winner Frank Gehry for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Silent Kingdom, A World Beneath The Waves. by Christian Vizl - Gold in Book/Nature, 1st Place winner in Book

This truly stunning book was compiled by award-winning photographer Christian Vizl, who uses a masterful control of light and shadow to portray the creatures of the sea as they are rarely seen below the waves. Capturing a range of undersea scenes and moods—from the ferocity of sharks to the playful dance of dolphins—Vizl turns aquatic creatures and marine seascapes into visions of sublime grace and beauty suspended in time and space.


Ewa by Patrizia Burra - Bronze in Advertising/Fashion

This experimental shot was fuelled by the photographer's vision to not only capture a reproduced image of the world, but to create art with a factor of restlessness and commemorate it. 

Mud People Festival by Jophel Botero Ybiosa - Gold in Events/Other, 2nd Place winner in Events

The huge crowd in this image shows the Mud People Festival in Nueva Ecija, Philippines. Devotees wear dried banana leaves and cover themselves with mud while offering prayer or paying homage to Saint John the Baptist. According to a local legend, the Japanese soldiers were about to execute the villagers of Aliaga during World War II. But in the midst of downpour, Japanese soldiers suddenly changed their minds. Afterwards, to celebrate, the villagers celebrated by rolling around in the mud. 

Different Kinkahuji Temple by Hsiaohsin Chen - Bronze in Architecture/Buildings

Built in 1397, the Kinkahuji temple is a very important cultural symbol of Kyoto, Japan. It is not only a world cultural heritage but is also represented in the literary work of the Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima, the literary giant of Japan. It is an important attraction for visitors at the same time. 


The Damned of The Earth by Julien De Wilde - Gold in People/Portrait, 1st Place winner in People

This powerful photo series introduces us to the workers who spend their days in the rice fields. Under a burning sun and feet in the mud, for hours, with their faces and bodies covered, it almost seems like they have no identity. It begs the questions: who are they? How old? According to the photographer, it is important to be thankful to them for their sacrifice so that other may have rice on their plate. 

Pacifica by Susanna Patras - Gold in Fine Art/Landscape

The artist's goal was to explore the ideas of solitude, time, natural beauty and grandeur in these images, through nature. The rocky structures around the US Pacific coast, called monoliths, stretch from the US border with Mexico into Canada. Generated by volcanic activity, the monoliths are oftentimes surrounded by fog, in a mysterious, dramatic and otherworldly atmosphere.


Taekwondo North Korea Style by Alain Schroeder - Gold in Editorial/sports

Capturing such perfect coordination is truly an accomplishment: Korea’s national martial art Taekwondo ("way of kick and fist") is taught in every school as a part of the daily sports and health routine. After 50 years of existence, the art of kicks has 60 million practitioners in more than 120 countries and Taekwondo became a medal sport at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.