For this award, we put out a global call to discover and celebrate photographers who are defining contemporary street photography today. After a rigorous judging process, we’re thrilled to share the work our jury deemed outstanding from the many wonderful submissions received.
Congratulations to our six winners, 25 finalists, and eight juror’s picks! These 39 photographers hail from 20 countries on four continents, and each have an undeniable talent in capturing life as it unfolds through careful observation, sharp technical skills and a strong creative vision.
Be sure to check out their work! There is plenty to discover amongst this group of award-winning photographers.
Carnival is an image that hits you over and over again with color. As you push through the colors to the layers of expression and design, each level brings a smile. Each time I look at this image, I see more and more.
Tristan Bejawn has chosen “his bus stop” as the spot he returns to again and again to make intimate street photographs. He has become a regular there, and he writes: “There are many bus stops in London, but this one is mine. My relationship with the area has grown tremendously, and by staying rooted, I’ve become fluent in the light around me. I have found my space, and I have become grateful for the people that come and go within it. I feel like I know them, and it’s made it feel more like home.”
This kind of quiet persistence has allowed Bejawn to build up a rich project of candid portraits and observations of small details over time. He uses the filtered natural light to great advantage -- putting these solitary commuters in a temporary spotlight that also helps to visually isolate them from the surrounding chaos, if only for a moment. The result is a shared appreciation of quiet personal moments that each of us seek as we navigate public spaces and busy urban environments. We’re able to see the world at Bus Stop Q through the eyes and lens of a thoughtful photographer.
Even though within the frame of witnessing the street, this work pushes the boundaries of the usual expectations when making a photograph. It brings into this process of image-making another significant recognition of [distorted] vision and varied ways we visually observe and record our surroundings daily.
I love the idea of the artist looking at lines in the street in a way that nobody else looks at. With photography, the story you can imagine around you is part of the magic. Dorian found beauty and gave meaning where 99% of us could not. I love that feeling when I’m shown something that gives me a new way to think.
When it comes to genres within photography, I would like to think that any boundaries remaining are as boundaries should be, flexible and without walls. Discovering Polly Tootal’s project through this award was immediately refreshing and greatly received. In this context of street photography, her work reminds us that a slowed-down, meditated approach to the genre is just as valid alongside a documentary labelling. Thanks to her technical choices, we can calmly empathize with the characters portrayed, making them very strong images.
I’m intrigued by how certain animals seem to characterize certain cities. In the 1970s, New York was a city of rats and may be becoming that again. Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, is a city of dogs. And Istanbul is certainly a city of cats. For Istanbul, could it be tied to the 1911 municipal decree ordering all stray dogs rounded up and exiled to the island of Sivriada, where most of them perished? In any case, Turkish photographer Sami Uçan at times captures something quintessential about this remarkable city. At their best, his black-and-white photographs not only depict the cats of the street, but also suggest something moodier, something a little darker—the sweet melancholy that Orhan Pamuk calls huzun, which seems to pervade the entire city.
This image is emblematic of similar situations in many developing countries. Buses bursting at the seams in India, overloaded jeepneys in the Philippines, and Rony’s jampacked train in Bangladesh capture a degree of hardship that many people deal with every day. Compositionally, the photo is spot on. Rony focuses on the woman and a young boy who are seemingly unafraid of this daily scene even if a slight move could instantly endanger their lives. A viewer can immediately connect with the photo, especially those who do NOT have to go through such hardships by doing one of life’s most simple and basic things to do: riding public transportation.
Sometimes street photographs raise questions about our fragile world in unexpected ways. In Yoko Ishii’s series deer haunt the streets of Nara, Japan, returning to the nearby forest each evening. For more than a thousand years, these spotted creatures have been considered sacred messengers and protected. Yet, while looking at these photographs of unpeopled streets teeming with deer, one can’t help wondering if, in this vulnerable time environmentally, their silent message to us is to ask ourselves: What would the world look like without us?
Nicolas Jimenez is chief editor, director of photography of the French daily newspaper Le Monde. He studied management in Sciences Po and European studies, in Sorbonne University. From 1999 to 2004 he worked, with Jean-Francois Leroy for the international festival of photojournalism Visa pour l’Image. In 2005, when Le Monde decided to become a major actor of the photojournalism industry, Jimenez became national photo editor. He went on to become the head of the photo department, then chief editor in 2018. Le Monde is now one of the three biggest photojournalism producer in French speaking press.
As CNN Digital’s director of photography, Bernadette Tuazon oversees photo coverage of breaking news and features while managing a team of photo editors across Atlanta, New York and London. Spanning a career of several decades, Tuazon’s work as a photo editor has been recognized by major awards including the Edward R. Murrow Award for Video News Documentary and the Webby Awards. She has also served as a juror for Visa Pour L’Image, a reviewer for the New York Portfolio Review and is currently a mentor for Women Photograph.
Alex Webb has published 16 photography books, including The Suffering of Light, a survey book of 30 years of his color photographs. He’s exhibited at museums worldwide including the Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y., the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. A Magnum Photos member since 1979, his work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, and other publications. He has received numerous awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007. His most recent books are La Calle: Photographs from Mexico and the collaboration Slant Rhymes with Rebecca Norris Webb.
Originally a poet, Rebecca Norris Webb often interweaves her text and photographs in her six books, most notably with her monograph, My Dakota—an elegy for her brother who died unexpectedly—with a solo exhibition of the work at The Cleveland Museum of Art (2015), among other venues. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, and is in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Cleveland Museum of Art, and George Eastman Museum, Rochester, N.Y. Rebecca is an NEA grant recipient, and her seventh book, Brooklyn: The City Within (with Alex Webb), will be published by Aperture in fall 2019.
Lekgetho Makola has been involved in the arts for more than 17 years, first as an artist and filmmaker and more recently in advisory and curatorial roles for organizations such as CatchLight and Bamako Encounters. Since becoming Director of Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg, South Africa, Makola has been a jury member for leading photography awards including W. Eugene Smith International Photography Award, the Contemporary African Photography (CAP) Prize, World Press Photo Global Talent Programme and this year’s World Press Photo Awards Jury.
Ángel Luis is Founder and Director of PhotoIreland, a leading photography festival in Dublin and an organization that encourages critical conversation and engagement in photography. Luis won the David Manley Entrepreneur Award in 2011 for PhotoIreland, the same year he launched a publicly accessible collection of publications about photography called The Library Project, which travels to festivals and exhibitions around the world. Ángel has been a portfolio reviewer at such festivals as Les Rencontres d’Arles, FORMAT Derby, and Encontros Da Imagem. He published ‘Martin Parr’s Best Books of the Decade’ in 2011, ‘New Irish Works’ in 2013, and the latest series of ‘New Irish Works’ in 2016.
Ron Haviv is an Emmy-nominated, award-winning photojournalist and co-founder of the photo agency VII. He is dedicated to documenting conflict and raising awareness about human rights issues around the globe. In the last three decades, Haviv has covered more than twenty-five conflicts and worked in over one hundred countries. He has published three critically acclaimed collections of photography, and his work has been featured in numerous museums and galleries, including the Louvre, the United Nations, and the Council on Foreign Relations. Haviv's photographs are in the collections of The Houston Museum of Fine Arts and the George Eastman Museum, among others, as well as numerous private collections.
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.
Congratulations to all 39 photographers! And to everyone who entered, thank you. We are inspired by the work you do and we are always delighted to discover how image makers around the globe are working with photography in new ways.
We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!