Juror’s Pick
This project was singled out for distinction by juror Natalie Matutschovsky. Each of the jury members selected one photographer from the entrants to be awarded a special $1,000 grant.

Artist’s Statement

Did I really ever “understand” America?

Due to post-war Americanization, Japanese people became familiar with and adored American culture. However, interest began to gradually wane as people began recognizing the crumbling reality of the abundant American life, which resulted from stagnant economic growth.

As a member of the last generation to adore America, I was struck by a desire to see the real America—so I got in a car and hit the road. There, in between the vaguely nostalgic scenery I remembered, I found people who lived commonplace, dull, and unsurprising ordinary lives just like us. My stereotype of America changed its shape and began manifesting itself in front of me with a strange sense of familiarity.

—Tetsuya Kusu

From juror Natalie Matutschovsky:

“In his American archives series Japanese photographer Tetsuya Kusu set about to gain a better understanding of America. He dug deep. His revealing portraits are full of drama and hint at the personal narratives of his subjects. I look forward to seeing more from this talented photographer.”

—Natalie Matutschovsky, Senior Photo Editor, TIME Magazine
New York City, United States