Black and white photography holds a graphic emotional power unlike any other form of the medium. Here are 14 stories published by LensCulture that were among the most popular with our readers worldwide this year. Enjoy!

—LensCulture

Alain Laboile, La Famille

An intimate family album documents the freedoms of childhood among six siblings "at the edge of the world" in rural France.


Beth Moon, Portraits of Time: Ancient Trees

Hidden in the grooves of these ancient tree trunks (some as old as 4,000 years!), one finds a perfectly weathered beauty—and a hope that we can discover better ways to live harmoniously with our environment.





Martin Borgren, Tractor Boys

Young boys in their early teens in the remote region of Skane, Sweden, have a ritual of gathering together in a large deserted field at night (some with their girlfriends) to drive souped up old cars at crazy speeds, in circles, kicking up dust and snow and the smell of burning rubber and oil and gasoline. A small masterpiece.




Christian Houge, Shadow Within

This "up close" series of portraits, made in the wild with packs of wolves, explores man's relation to the wolf and ultimately to himself.




Ryszard Lenczewski, Cinematography, from Still to Movie.

The award-winning Polish cinematographer talks about the tremendous importance of still photography in creating his movies—especially his latest film, Ida, shot in luscious black-and-white.





Roger Ballen, Asylum of the Birds

Welcome to the Asylum — the latest surreal photographic compositions by the American master of psychologically disturbing, multi-layered complex imagery. 20 new photos in a slideshow, plus a "making-of" video.




Giacomo Brunelli, The Animals

Italian photographer Giacomo Brunellidefines his work as animal-focused street photography. Critic Alison Nordström writes: "These pictures are timeless and uncanny, powerful in their ordinariness, and emotionally much bigger than their simple subjects.”





Henri Cartier-Bresson: 70 Year Retrospective

By re-examining 70 years of wide-ranging, world-changing photographic work, a new exhibition presents a genuine reinterpretation of Henri Cartier-Bresson — it surprises, educates, and allows us to see this master in a refreshingly new light.





Pentti Sammallahti, Here far away

For the first time, we are able to appreciate the breadth and scope of this Finnish photographer's masterful work — in a book that spans more than 40 years of exquisite black-and-white photographs.




Tsutomu Yamagata, Thirteen Orphans

Portraits of singular people who gather at a lotus pond in a small park in Tokyo. 



Ragnar AxelssonThe Last Days of the Arctic

Life in the Arctic (human and otherwise) is about to change forever—this series pays (final?) witness to the proud, stubborn vestiges of the past.



Munem Wasif, Belonging

In this beautiful photobook, we gain an insider's artful and intimate view of the rich variety of daily life in Old Dhaka, Bangladesh.



Shigeru YoshidaBorder

With a serene gaze, always looking out toward shimmering still waters, Japanese photographer Shigeru Yoshida captures a sense of the sacred in nature with his black-and-white seascapes.



Robert Mapplethorpe, Mapplethorpe in Paris

"If I had been born one hundred or two hundred years ago, I might have been a sculptor, but photography is a very quick way to see, to make a sculpture." — Robert Mapplethorpe. 

Long live the masters of black and white photography! Cheers from the editors of LensCulture.