Announcing the Winners, Finalists, Jurors’ Picks, & Top 100
Street photography captures the instant pulse of diverse people, urban cultures, traditions and communities all over the world — better than any other art form or language. While human nature may remain constant over the decades, fashions, trends, architecture, technology and the collision of urban visual clutter all seem to make our shared environments feel new, ever-changing and always bustling with life.
These award-winning photographers may shock, delight, sadden or surprise you.
In the world of photography, there is a fear that we’ve already seen it all before, especially in a genre like street photography. But this year’s 34 winners, jurors’ picks and finalists clearly defy that sense of déjà vu — especially as we encouraged photographers to stretch and expand their interpretations of what can be captured out in the streets and intersections of the world. Their results ranged from street fashion and portraits, conceptual investigations and pure poetry, to moments of daily life — both ordinary and extraordinary.
The international jury for this competition, no strangers to the great history of street photography, wanted to be surprised and share their unusual discoveries with you. So, some of what you will discover among this year’s winning entries may shock or delight you, stun and sadden. No matter what, we believe that each of these photographers has captured some rare moments on the streets that are worth regarding and contemplating.
Single Image Winners
Each of the eight jury members selected one photographer to be awarded special distinction and a cash grant. Here are the jurors’ special selections, with a brief quote from each juror explaining what they especially appreciate about these photographers and their work.
Mankichi Shinshi’s enigmatic series of foggy landscapes, hazy skies and wet streets is characterized by its pale palette of modest grey tones in which the landscape drifts without apparent aim or purpose. The soft and vulnerable mood is somehow typically Japanese—slightly surreal with an appreciation of the value of discovering the marvellous in the ordinary. At its best, the series transcends the act of seeing into one of calm and peaceful receptiveness; a state in which one could experience the world as more complex and layered than the eye can usually grasp.
Night is an unusual element in street photography—one could even argue this image was not strictly on a street—but the poetic way in which Kin Wing Wong shows us what it means to be one person living amongst many in an urban landscape is magical, lonely and memorable.
“Saints” is a strong, long-term project that allows us to enter the rooms and private spaces of an Afghan refugee community in Athens, Greece. We often hear stories regarding the conditions of immigrants, but rarely are we admitted to share their intimacy. These photographs’ expressionist, sometimes cinematographic, style gives us the impression of touching these people. Here, photography comes out not only as a medium but transforms into a sensorial experience.
These images are playful but, at the same time, reflect on society’s knowingness in how to compose a photograph. The studies by Narita focus on people’s obsession with image-sharing and how this dynamic plays out, almost performance-like, in the streets around us.
Ed’s works shows great maturity and consistency. There aren’t any “clangers” in his edit: each image offers strong colour and a sense of place that convey his message. The moments, aesthetic and style all jumped out at me. I love photography that looks effortless and Ed’s work fits easily into this category. But his work was, in fact, made over many years in one place—you simply can’t beat tenacity in long-term projects. I can’t wait to see more from the eye of Ed.
“Cat’s Eyes” by Arek Rataj makes an immediate and bold impression. The photo was taken in Honduras, a country with one of the highest homicide rates in the world. At first glance, we have the optical illusion of a boy with the face of a kitten gazing at us, perfectly symbolizing how we are all born innocent...
I chose Jeffrey Stockbridge’s “Kensington Blues” series because I feel it strikes a careful balance between subject matter and aesthetic treatment. The technically impeccable images which evoke classical painting do not add roughness to an already tough subject matter but, on the contrary, establish proximity with the people photographed. The edit is also well-done; the series is not formulaic at all.
The faceless portraits of individuals in the streets of San Jose, Costa Rica reveal an intriguing amount of information and clues about each of these people. We can imagine their lives in many general ways by looking at the clothes they wear, their postures, what they carry, and how they present themselves to us against the backdrop of anonymous urban walls. Isn’t this the way we often encounter strangers on the street – quickly taking an inventory of how they appear on the surface, and then moving on, without engaging in a more personal encounter? The consistency and variety of these portraits makes the series especially successful and memorable, in my opinion.
What is amazing about an international call for entries like this one—we reached photographers all over the world, in 15 different languages—is how we are able to discover new places, trends, traditions and rituals. The entries, which came from 141 countries, amount to a snapshot of tremendously varied urban life in places all over the planet, right now. Since there was so much good work to see, we decided to share with you single images from an additional 100 photographers whose submissions were rated highly by the jury. We feel they deserve recognition and attention, so we’ve included a slideshow of their work for your pleasure and inspiration.