Even in today’s super-saturated world of rich, bright and dazzling colors, black-and-white photography continues to offer an unmistakable aesthetic power. A passing instant rendered timeless; a landscape’s form brought into sharp relief—in its simplicity lies its power.

Here are 16 projects published by LensCulture that were among the most popular with our readers worldwide this year. Enjoy!

—LensCulture


Laura Hospes, UCP-UMCG

This series of self portraits were made in a psychiatric hospital after a suicide attempt. They offer an artful and emotional window into the gaping maw of depression, anxiety, confusion, fear and loneliness.


Ilknur Can, iPhone Street Photography from Cuba

Using a digital black-and-white film filter on her smartphone—and photographing in a country on the cusp of a great transition—this photographer attempts to blur the distinction between past and future.


Valerio Bispuri, Encerrados: Latin American Prisons

Italian photographer Valerio Bispuri spent ten years in South America photographing 74 different prisons. His astonishingly ambitious project combines photography, anthropology, and journalism to try to understand the continent through its prisons, which he feels represent the brutal and hidden reality of a country.


Hajime Inomata, Ways of Seeing: On the Streets or from Your Kitchen Window

Gritty black-and-white photography from Japan — celebrating beauty in the ordinary and mundane of everyday life.


Jeff Gusky, The Hidden Worlds of WWI

Deep inside long-forgotten underground cities, photographer/explorer Jeff Gusky has discovered incredibly preserved remains from the First World War that bring this 100-year-old conflict back to life.


Chang Chao-Tang, Looking Back at a Giant of Taiwanese Photography

Transcendence amidst the commonplace, intimacy amidst alienation, humor amidst the absurd—over five decades, Chang Chao-Tang has helped shape the photographic culture of his homeland.



Giacomo Brunelli, The Flâneur: Hamburg Noir

Cinematic and darkly captured: a European-wide art project that celebrate the idea of the flâneur within the contemporary urban fabric of the continent.


Calogero Cammalleri, Lampedusa: Immigration, Tragedy, Reflection

A personal journey of return to a homeland that has become symbolic of a turning point (both good and bad) for African migrants seeking a better life in Italy and Europe.


Ofir Barak, In All Seasons: Mea Sharim, Jerusalem

In this Ultra-Orthodox neighborhood in Jerusalem, the inhabitants have chosen to reject modern, secular culture and embrace traditional religious life. An outsider has expertly used the language of street photography to explore this 21st century society.


Sandra Pereznieto, Back to Silence

“The silence of the impressive landscape and the miles of solitude consistently brought me back to my own self. The experiences I had there were essential in my search for a silence that I had somehow lost along the way.”


Bill Jackson, North Sea Drawing

Night falls, and the sea comes alive. Using pencil-thin light beams, the North Sea becomes a canvas for the waves to draw, track, and map themselves. Launched into the sea, the light combines with the natural power of the tides to begin the process of creating unique drawings. More than simple seascapes, these black-and-white images reveal the Earth’s natural creativity.


Anna Agoston, The Tree That Bears Fruit

Agoston’s macro close-ups of living plants reveal an intricate world the human eye is only privy to with a lens. She brings us the beauty of the natural world with stunning detail.


Roger Ballen, Outland

A new, expanded reprint of this classic photobook still has the power to make the viewer feel disturbed, uneasy, and not quite sure what to make of these staged scenes of marginalized people in South Africa.


Brandán Gómez, Mística X

Experimental double exposures and layered photographs create imagined landscapes where objects and situations appear in apparent disorder and create spaces “where beliefs of any kind can be real.”


Magdalena Switek, Pestka

Moments of adolescent metamorphosis that rise above cliché. These photos capture the awkward unease of teenagers on the cusp of innocence, awareness and becoming something different, not yet adults, but no longer care-free children.


Alain Laboile, La Famille 2015

22 new images from this French master of intimate family photography — celebrating the joys and freedom and playfulness of carefree childhood “at the edge of the world.”