This project was singled out for distinction among the submissions to the LensCulture Street Photography Awards 2016 by juror Celia Davies. Each juror selected one photographer to be awarded a special $1,000 grant—discover why this one stood out. And don’t miss more inspiring work from all the winners, jurors’ picks and finalists.

Of what use will be a dish of roses to thee?
Take a leaf from my rose-garden.
A flower endures but five or six days
But this rose-garden is always delightful.

—Sa’di, from The Gulistan (“Rose Garden”)

Seeking a distraction from caring for my elderly mother-in-law, I wandered Osaka until I stumbled across this rose garden. I found it on a sunny day in May, two months after I had arrived.

I witnessed both roses and people enjoying the sun on the cusp of summer. Meanwhile, at home, my mother-in-law teetered on the cusp of mortality.

The more I spent time there, the more I witnessed how modern-day thieves snatch, often thoughtlessly, images of the flowers with their digital cameras and smartphones. True beauty reduced to the form of megapixels.

Today, these photographers’ digital flowers are still blooming. I am amused by the thought of these tens of thousands of rose gardens—with their countless roses—that will never wilt or drop their petals.

—Takayuki Narita

Juror’s Statement:

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.

—Celia Davies
Director, Photoworks and Brighton Photo Biennial
Brighton, UK