Winners revealed for The Mono Awards 2021, presented by SanDisk

A beautiful and heartbreaking landscape from Canada, an evocative shot that challenges our ideas of portraiture, and a nail-biting underwater image have shared the top honours in The Mono Awards 2021 presented by SanDisk.

Boasting a prize pool of $12,500, including $9,000 in cash prizes, The Mono Awards 2021 invited photographers to enter their work in one of three categories: People, Places, and Animals.

Photographers Diana Fernie, Mel Sinclair, and Susan Sventek have taken out the top prizes for 2021, creating the best single monochrome image in their respective categories.

Now in its third year, The Mono Awards has become Australia and New Zealand's biggest competition dedicated to the art of monochrome and black-and-white photography. The annual competition is hosted by Capture and Australian Photography.

Since launching in 2019, The Mono Awards has showcased the work of some of the region's most talented and creative photographers.

The Category Winners

1st Place, Animals, Diana Fernie, Just Chill
© Diana Fernie. Just Chill. Winner, Animals. 

Diana Fernie’s image of a saltwater crocodile has taken out the top prize in the Animals category. Named after the words she uttered to herself as she approached the croc in the mangroves of Jardines de la Reina, Cuba, her winning photograph is titled Just Chill.

1st Place, Places, Melanie Sinclair, Pick up Sticks
© Melanie Sinclair. Pick-Up Sticks. Winner, Places. 

Melanie Sinclair has won the Places category with a semi-abstract photograph that judge Jackie Ranken described as possessing a mesmerising quality.

Captured on the Icefields Parkway, Canada, the image, Pick-Up Sticks, depicts piles of trees killed off by a mountain pine beetle infestation.

1st Place, People, Susan Sventek, Penitent
© Susan Sventek. Penitent. Winner, People. 

Susan Sventek’s faceless portrait, Penitent, has taken out first place in the People category of this year’s competition. Captured in her home studio, Sventek explains that she wanted to create “a thought-provoking image that was not your typical portrait.” Judge Alex Cearns remarked that “the image has an immediate wow factor.”

The Judges

Chosen for their expertise in black-and-white photography, a panel of leading black-and-white specialists judge the competition each year.

This year the judging panel included: Melbourne-based writer and social documentary photographer Anthony McKee; photographer Matt Palmer; director of Perth’s Houndstooth Studio Alex Cearns; photographer, mentor, and educator William Long; professional graphic designer Douwe Dijkstra; multi-award winning landscape and art photographer Jackie Ranken; fine art photographer Helen Whittle; as well as founder of Blanco Negro, Chris Reid.


Each category winner and runner-up walks away with outstanding prizes, all thanks to this year’s major sponsor, SanDisk, and supporting sponsors, Momento Pro, Momento Photo books, and Midland Insurance Brokers.

This year, category winners have been awarded $2,000 cash and a $500 SanDisk prize pack. Runners-up receive a cash prize of $1,000, a $250 SanDisk prize pack, and a $250 Momento voucher.

From Monday 23 August, you'll have the opportunity to vote for your favourite photographs in the People's Choice award, with the winner for each category set to be awarded the People's Choice title along with a $100 Momento voucher, as well as a 12-month digital subscription to Australian Photography or Capture magazine. Keep an eye on The Mono Awards Facebook page to get involved.

Finally, and most importantly, a huge thank you to everyone who entered The Mono Awards 2021. Even after three years of running the competition we continue to be amazed by the depth and quality of images entered, proof that black and white remains a hugely important and exciting medium.

The Finalists


1st Place, Animals, Diana Fernie, Just Chill
© Diana Fernie. Just Chill. Winner, Animals.
2nd Place, Animals, Ashlee Karas, Two to Tango
© Ashlee Karas. Two to Tango. Runner-up, Animals. 
3rd Place, Animals, Andrew Dickman, Go Lassie Go
© Andrew Dickman. Go Lassie Go. 3rd, Animals. 
4th Place, Animals, Daniel Towns, Shepherd on the Shoreline
© Daniel Towns. Shepherd on the Shoreline. 4th, Animals. 
5th Place, Animals, Diana Fernie, Different
© Diana Fernie. Different. 5th, Animals. 


1st Place, Places, Melanie Sinclair, Pick up Sticks
© Melanie Sinclair. Pick-Up Sticks. Winner, Places.
2nd Place, Places, Tebani Slade, Winter Playground
© Tebani Slade. Winter Playground. Runner-up, Places. 
3rd Place, Places, Graeme Gordon, Night at the Opera
© Graeme Gordon. Night at the Opera. 3rd, Places. 
4th Place, Places, Paula McManus, Swamp Secrets
© Paula McManus. Swamp Secrets, 4th, Places. 
5th Place, Places, Wayne Riley, Bullseye
© Wayne Riley. Bullseye. 5th, Places. 


1st Place, People, Susan Sventek, Penitent
© Susan Sventek. Penitent. Winner, People.
2nd Place, People, Cody Nahirny, A moment inside a moment
© Cody Nahirny. A moment inside a moment. Runner-up, People. 
3rd Place, People, Karen Waller, Scott
© Karen Waller. Scott. 3rd, People.
4th Place, People, David Cossini, A study for Vimel
© David Cossini. A study for Vimel. 4th, People. 
5th Place, People, Reza Bagheri, Hope
© Reza Bagheri. Hope5th, People.

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