Surprising New Street Photography

We’re excited to present the winners of this year’s LensCulture Street Photography Awards—39 photographers who are reinvigorating and redefining the genre of street photography today. This was a record-breaking year for our Street Photography Awards—we received work from photographers in more than 170 countries all over the world. The settings ranged from futuristic urban scenes in Tokyo to intimate black-and-white moments in Berlin. We discovered makeshift urban dwellings in India and France and scenes of almost pure abstraction from cool remote corners of the world. It was truly inspiring to see such a wide survey of life on the street in cultures and countries all over the globe.

How do we define street photography? For those with a tendency toward classical photography, the romantic black-and-white photographs of Henri Cartier-Bresson may come to mind. And yet, the genre of street photography has opened up quite a bit in this global age—photography is at the center of our “always-on,” interconnected lives. To that end, our esteemed jury panel had healthy discussions about how to define street photography in 2018. As one juror put it, “It was great to see that, even now, there are still new ways to approach image-making and dynamic ways to tell old stories.” Read more »

Many of these scenes may seem alien and unfamiliar, while other photographs offer a sharp jolt of recognition from far-flung locations across the globe. We hope you find some work that delights you.

Congratulations to all of the photographers presented here, and thanks to everyone who participated.

Series Winners
1st Place Series
Sowrav Das
Floating Heroes

2nd Place Series
İlker Karaman
In Pursuit of Myself

3rd Place Series
Cocoa Laney

In this year’s LensCulture Street Photography Awards, there were memorable single images and strong, well-structured series; it was great to see that, even now, there are still new ways to approach image-making and dynamic ways to tell old stories.

— Dewi Lewis
Publisher, Dewi Lewis Publishing
Single Image Winners
1st Place Single
Maciej Dakowicz
Beach Scene, Chaung Tha, Myanmar
2nd Place Single
Barry Talis
From "The Flow of Spirit"
3rd Place Single
绍清 李
Hanging Pig

A good photograph needs three things: a clear authorial ‘voice’, a coherent, well-conceived subject and the skill to craft the image well.

— Alasdair Foster
Writer, Researcher, Award-Winning Curator
Jurors’ Picks

Each of the seven 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.

Laurent Nicourt
Selected by Yuting Duan
Festival Founder and Director Lianzhou Festival
Yuting Duan
Festival Founder and Director Lianzhou Festival

In the birthplace of Western civilization, there exists a sharp contrast, a kind of life that is numbly ignored by the general public. These forgotten corners of the city are the festering sores in our overwhelmingly capitalist society, and they are a source of shame for people of vast wealth.

These residents might come from a humble background, or perhaps they are simply social dissidents who refuse to accept common values. Though their living conditions might be poor, the hearts of their inhabitants are not. Laurent Nicourt not only discovered these people and their experiences with a photographer’s eye, but he also presents them to the viewer in an appropriate manner.

Franky Verdickt
Selected by Jim Casper
Editor-in-Chief LensCulture
Jim Casper
Editor-in-Chief LensCulture
The Netherlands

There is a lot of information in Franky Verdickt’s photographs of urban scenes in contemporary Taiwan. The photos are distinguished by their controlled (cool) color and bright night-time lighting. They artfully blend a hyperreal sharpness of focus with the blur of speed. And, finally, the isolation of the humans in these scenes makes them seem small and insignificant amidst the soaring scale of the surrounding architecture and infrastructure. The way these pictures are made, Taiwan feels like a sci-fi, alien place — a cold, impersonal and hostile environment where individual humans seem rather unimportant. It is telling, then, that the artist’s statement is rather political, too, finding metaphorical meaning in the feeling of isolation one can experience on the streets of Taiwan, compared with the political limbo that the state of Taiwan finds itself in relation to mainland China and the rest of the world.

Lucia Herrero
Selected by Dewi Lewis
Publisher Dewi Lewis Publishing
Dewi Lewis
Publisher Dewi Lewis Publishing

Lucia Herrero’s series Tribes is a fascinating study of groups of ordinary people enjoying themselves on a day out on the beach. The images are clearly collaborative, and the individuals involved are fully engaged in the process. The use of lighting and the backdrop of sea and sky evoke echoes of the studio portrait, as do the formal poses that many of the groups adopt. And, of course, there are props—umbrellas, chairs, coolers, body boards, bags and beach towels—but these are the everyday paraphernalia of a day on the beach that we all know. And so whilst the images are clearly constructed, they convey subtleties of human interaction, of friendship and family, that we can all relate to as a direct reflection our own experience.

Alex Liverani
Selected by Christy Havranek
Director of Photography Huffington Post
Christy Havranek
Director of Photography Huffington Post
United States

Alex Liverani has created a striking series of triptychs, each filled with stolen moments captured around Japan. This work is both whimsical and grounded in tone. With clever framing and masterful editing that never feels contrived, each triptych can stand on its own or live within a rich, evocative series. That, to me, is a rarity.

Niki Gleoudi
Selected by David Alan Harvey
Magnum Photographer and Founder Burn Magazine
David Alan Harvey
Magnum Photographer and Founder Burn Magazine
United States

This photograph by Niki Gleoudi is magically mysterious, sensuous, and graphic. Niki has a whole series on beach life, and this is one of her best. It is not pedantic nor condescendingly descriptive, which would render it boring. That is the beauty of this image.

We are not quite sure of the relationship between the two men, yet there is an implied intimacy and affection. The layered juxtaposition of the unicorn float and the boat in the background allows our eye to travel around inside the picture, yet keeps us circling back to the man in the foreground. As today’s astute photographers often embrace a visceral visual literacy, Niki hits the mark.

Guilherme Pupo
Selected by Alasdair Foster
Writer, Researcher Award-Winning Curator
Alasdair Foster
Writer, Researcher Award-Winning Curator

This image brings an interesting new point of view from which to consider the life of the city street. While shooting from overhead is not, in itself, new, the searing lateral light has rendered the shadows more explicitly familiar than the figures themselves. This creates an ambiguity, since the image appears to exist simultaneously in two different perspectives. The cobbled patterns of the piazza set the figures into a highly idiosyncratic field, which the colorful geometric forms of the rectilinear awnings and curving garden disturb and animate the edge of the frame, energizing the whole.

Anais Perry
Selected by Giulia Ticozzi
Photo Editor La Repubblica
Giulia Ticozzi
Photo Editor La Repubblica

I selected Untitled by Anais Perry as my juror’s pick because the photograph is uniquely affecting. From the first moment I saw it, I was struck by its power. The image looks clear, but when you look closely, there is something disturbing as well. It looks like fiction, but we cannot know for sure. The scene is classic: a young couple hiding away together. Perhaps they believe they love each other. But where are they? Who is the third figure in the background? These doubts in my mind and the unsettling composition of the scene give the image tension, as if Perry captured a moment “just before” something monumental will happen.

Lucas Ziegler
Alexander Krohmer
United States
David Salcedo
Street Photography Awards 2018 International Jury
David Alan Harvey
Magnum Photographer and Founder
Burn Magazine
New York, United States
More about David »

David Alan Harvey has photographed more than 40 articles for National Geographic, beginning with a story about Tangier Island, Virginia, in the November 1973 issue of the magazine.

In 1978, Harvey was named Magazine Photographer of the Year by the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA). His work has been exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Nikon Gallery, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. His photographs have appeared in Life, The New York Times, and Sports Illustrated. He is well known for his work on Spanish cultural migration into the Americas and has produced significant bodies of work in Mexico, Cuba and Brazil.

He has published five books, Cuba, Divided Soul, Jeju Haenyeo, Based on a True Story and a republication of his seminal 1967 project, Tell It Like It Is. Harvey is also the founder and editor of the award-winning Burn Magazine, featuring iconic and emerging photographers in print and online. He joined Magnum Photos as an associate in 1993 and became a member in 1997.

Yuting Duan
Festival Founder and Director
Lianzhou Festival
Guangzhou, China
More about Yuting »

Yuting Duan has been dedicating herself to promoting Chinese contemporary photography for many years. In 2005, she co-founded the Lianzhou International Photo Festival, one of the biggest and most influential photo festivals in China, which she continues to direct today. Ms. Duan has also been involved with the following festivals around the world: FotoFest, FOTOBILD, Paris Photo Biennale, Rhubarb-Rhubarb festival, Thessaloniki Photo Biennale, Festival de la Luz and Moscow Photo Biennale. She has also been a nominator for the Prix Pictet Photography Prize and the Hasselblad Award. She is the author of Ten Years of Contemporary Photography in China 2005-2014. Most recently, she co-founded the Lianzhou Museum of Photography (LMP), the first public museum dedicated to contemporary photography in China, which opened in 2017. She is now the co-director of the museum.

Giulia Ticozzi
Photo Editor
La Repubblica
Milan, Italy
More about Giulia »

Giulia Ticozzi is a photographer and a photo-editor living and working in Milan and Rome. She exhibited her photographic work in several locations including the MUFOCO, Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Cultural Heritage Institute of Emilia-Romagna, Careof and the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin. She worked as assistant to Francesco Jodice and as editor for the newspaper Il Post and La Stampa. Currently she teaches history of photography at the CFP Bauer School, collaborates in the research projects Borderlands and The Third Island, and works as photo-editor at La Repubblica.

Dewi Lewis
Dewi Lewis Publishing
Stockport, UK
More about Dewi »

Dewi Lewis was the founding Director of Cornerhouse, Manchester, a major UK centre for contemporary visual arts and film, where he established Cornerhouse Publications, a winner of the Sunday Times Small Publisher Award. He founded his own publishing company in 1994 and has published many leading international photographers such as Martin Parr, Simon Norfolk, Paolo Pellegrin and Bruce Gilden as well as emerging photographers. Many of the imprint’s titles have won or been shortlisted for various international prizes. In 2014, Dewi Lewis Publishing received the PHotoEspana award for “Outstanding Publishing House of the Year.”

A regular lecturer and portfolio reviewer and an occasional curator, Dewi was also a founding member of The European Publishers’ Award for Photography, which ran for over twenty years. In 2004 he was appointed an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and in 2009 he was awarded the inaugural Royal Photographic Society Award for “Outstanding Services to Photography.” In 2012, he was awarded the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation Award for “Outstanding Contribution to Publishing” at the World Photography Awards.

Alasdair Foster
Writer, Researcher, Award-Winning Curator
Sydney, Australia
More about Alasdair »

Dr. Alasdair Foster is a writer, researcher and award-winning curator initiating intercultural photography and visual art projects around the world, especially in Asia and the Pacific Rim. He is Adjunct Professor in the School of Art of RMIT University, Melbourne and a member of the university’s Centre for Art, Society and Transformation. Dr. Foster has 20 years of experience heading national arts institutions and over 35 years of working in the public cultural sector. He was the founding director of Fotofeis Festival, one of Europe’s largest photo events during the 90s (1991–1997) and director of the Australian Centre for Photography (1998–2011).

Christy Havranek
Director of Photography
Huffington Post
New York, United States
More about Christy »

Christy Havranek is the Photo Director at HuffPost, where she oversees a team of photo editors and photographers. She has 17 years of experience in the photo business, having worked at NBCUniversal, Frommer’s Travel, Polo Ralph Lauren and Bloomsbury Publishing, among others. Recently, Christy was the juror for “Photography as Response” at the Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, Colorado, and in 2017 served as a juror for the prestigious Review Santa Fe Project Launch. During Review Santa Fe, she co-presented a two-day workshop for photographers who are looking to reach the next level in the editorial space.

Jim Casper
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
More about Jim »

Jim Casper is the editor-in-chief of LensCulture, one of the leading online destinations to discover contemporary photography from around the world. As an active member in the contemporary photography world, Casper organizes annual international photography events, travels around the world to meet with photographers and review their portfolios, curates art exhibitions, writes about photography and culture, lectures, conducts workshops, serves as an international juror and nominator for key awards, and is an advisor to arts and education organizations. He serves on the board of directors at SPE, the Society for Photographic Education, the world’s largest association of photography educators.

Exhibition will take place at the Cosmos Book Fair
Visit our Winners’ Exhibition in Arles!

For the first time ever, the winners, jurors’ picks, and finalists from our Street Photography Awards will be presented in a digital exhibition in Arles, France, during the opening week of the world-renowned Les Rencontres d’Arles. The show will run from July 2-7, 2018 at Cosmos Book Fair—we hope to meet many of you there!

Exhibition runs: July 2-7, 2018
at the Cosmos Book Fair

Thank You

LensCulture would like to thank every photographer who participated in this competition—your entries, which came from all over the world, have been a true inspiration to view and consider! We would also like to extend our sincere gratitude to the members of the jury who worked long and hard reviewing the entries to the competition and ultimately selecting the brilliant work displayed here.