Amateur Photographer of the Year: Life in Black and White – the art of Monochrome

This week we are showing a gallery of some monochrome images entered recently for the awards

This week we are showing a gallery of some monochrome images entered recently for the awards. Many photographers prefer monochrome to colour for very good reasons. The colour elements of an image can be quite distracting and take from the impact of the image, especially if the photograph contains a lot of different colours.

For portraits black and white is often the preferred medium, placing the emphasis on the personality of the sitter rather than their skin complexion. In landscape images there is the opportunity to fully explore light and shade, form and texture in a way that is simply not possible in colour. Purists may feel that real monochrome photography has to be shot on black and white film and processed and printed by hand to get the ultimate in quality, tone and detail. They too have a point – the acutance and grain structure of film is not available in digital where the image is inherently softer and needs a degree of artificial sharpening just to look right.

However modern programmes and techniques, not to mention plug-ins to programmes like Photoshop have considerably closed the gap. The skilled photographer who knows what they are doing can get very good monochrome photographs from digital originals with careful and sympathetic digital processing. Images taken on film or prints can be entered in the awards only in scanned form, ie. uploaded as per digital images. We hope you enjoy this selection of monochrome images entered in various categories for the awards.

Remember that the deadline is just over a week away so now is the time to finalise your entry – click here to enter.


The competition celebrates the great work done by keen amateur photographers throughout Ireland and beyond. The term amateur simply denotes those who are passionate about their photography but do not make their living from it and the competition is open to all amateur photographers, from the serious hobbyist to the casual snappers.

The images can be carefully composed sets of photographs, works of photographic art, or snapshots which show inventiveness and spontaneity.

The judges are looking for photographers who demonstrate a keen eye, and images that have impact, originality, and creativity. There are two major awards up for grabs - the overall Amateur Photographer of the Year award and the Photograph of the Year award. Both awards come with a cash prize of €1,000 as well as a trophy.

A selection of photographs entered in this year’s Awards will appear online at and in print editions of The Irish Times showcasing individual photographer's work - the photographers will be fully credited when their work appears, and the work will only appear in connection with the Awards.

Closing date: May 31st