News » Features

12th Annual Black & White Photo Contest

The results are in


The great Canadian photojournalist, Ted Grant, has taken portraits of icons like Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, U.S. President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy; documented Vietnam, the Six Day War and Chernobyl; and captured historic moments like a triumphant post-election Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau sliding down a bannister. He has lectured on photography at top universities in Canada and the States, published five books and received some of his home country's most prestigious awards. Much of his work has been in black-and-white.

According to Grant, that's for a simple reason:

"When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black-and-white, you photograph their souls."

We're not taking sides, but it's important to note that we don't host the annual Full-Color, Photoshop-Edited, Instagram-Filtered Photo Contest. Black-and-white imagery is mesmerizing--it causes us to slow our impressions and fill in the gaps. It can turn the mundane bizarre, the profane sacred and the familiar unknowable. We might not know the specific reasons, but we know we like it.

This year we received 133 contest submissions, organized into the categories People, Places and Things. Winnowing the field to a few top picks was hard work but made possible with the expertise of local photographers Levi Bettwieser and Glenn Landberg, as well as Boise Weekly graphics team Kelsey Hawes and Tomas Montano. BW Associate Editor Amy Atkins and I were allowed to help out in the judge's suite, as well.

Thank you to all those who submitted work--it was a pleasure to see so many talented pieces in one place. And if what Ted Grant says is true, it seems pretty clear that there are plenty of insightful souls behind the lens, too.