Posts by: Alison Zavos

London Photographer Jenny Lewis on the Most Important Photo She’s Ever Taken


Joti and Kiran © Jenny Lewis

Jenny Lewis: One of the most important in the One Day Young series was one of Joti and Kiran. Whilst I was shooting this portrait of Joti, whom I had never met before, with her 4 hour old baby, she told me how she had lost a baby the year before, and with each contraction she had to suppress the waves of grief and fear that were swelling up attempting to drown her. The raw honesty of the conversation cemented this feeling of responsibility I felt, to tell this story of the triumphant mother, the story of strength and empowerment. I learnt a lot about compassion for strangers that day and humanity. We have kept in touch, and it’s wonderful that this moment of taking the picture and talking about her lost son Joseph was a turning point, and somehow Joti and Kiran being in the book keeps Joesph’s memory alive and their picture becomes about both boys. The picture means a lot to me, and I still get goosebumps every time I look at it.

New York-Based Photojournalist Yana Paskova on Her Most Important Photo Projects


A patient slams a Bulgarian coin on his forehead and says, “Money controls everything. Money is why I am here. Money is why I will never get out. We have no voice here; only money speaks,” in the psychiatry ward of a county hospital in Bulgaria on August 10, 2006. © Yana Paskova

We asked photojournalist Yana Paskova to describe the most important photo she’s ever taken. This was her response.

Yana Paskova: I think “ever” rarely exists, especially in the field of photojournalism, and the arts in general – and importance is quite relative. Is the photo important because it taught you something? Did it mean much to you or to its observers? Did it exert a great influence over your career? Or is it simply beautiful and meaningful? The picture a photographer considers singularly most significant at any point in his/her career will hopefully accumulate some competition within 5 years. I believe a more relevant way to evaluate impact is to look at photo projects. For me, the stories I shot on mental health in my homeland, Bulgaria, and then on American politics on the presidential campaign trail at the start of my career in the mid- to late-2000s were quite influential to my vision then – the former taught me how to access people’s lives effectively but respectfully, and the latter, how to use visual metaphors in illustrating complicated issues, and how to seek out beauty in the mundane. Of greatest import recently have been my projects in Bulgaria, once more, and also Cuba, on the intersection of democracy and communism – important because of how personal this issue is to me, having grown up in a communist country, and also because of the challenge (that I enjoy and welcome) of finding a unique voice in my stories when photographing a place of much news coverage (Cuba as one example, with more to come).

Photographer Jonathan May on the Most Important Photo He’s Ever Taken


© Jonathan May

Jonathan May: The photograph I took of Stanford, the young boy in Kenya with a rare disease, Xeroderma pigmentosum, an autosomal recessive genetic disorder in which the ability to repair damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) light is deficient, is the most important image I’ve taken. I was able to win the Head On portrait prize in Sydney with the image I took, and give him the money to help with ongoing hospital costs. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a fairy tale ending though, and the disease can’t be cured, only managed, so it is an ongoing battle for young Stanford. I am still in touch with his mother and am continuing to help him on his journey.

Call for Submissions: Photos Depicting Life ‘Off the Grid’


Photo: © Whitney Justesen /

More than a buzzword or flash-in-the-pan cultural phenomenon, “off the grid” has become a way of life. We want to see photos that encompass what it means to you. It could be farm-to-table lifestyle—the families that churn their own butter and harvest wild honey. It could be more literal—solar panels in action or geometric grid patterns. Have ariel shots of cabins on far-off locals or landscapes that scream ”no one has ever stepped foot here before”? We’d love to see them.

The collection will be curated by Chris Buda, Manager of Art Buying, BBDO and Isabelle Raphael, Head of Visual Content, ImageBrief.

Our sponsor ImageBrief will be giving away ten yearly Explorer Plus accounts to the top ten images/photographers and ten three-month Explorer Plus accounts for an additional ten photographers selected. All winning photographers will run on Feature Shoot.

ImageBrief is a platform that directly connects photographers to clients by allowing advertising agencies, photo editors, and leading publications to post briefs that describe the kind of imagery they’re seeking at any given moment. Photographers can then upload their pre-existing work to apply for the brief, and the selected photographer will earn the job. ImageBrief also allows top image buyers to commission work on site based on photographers’ profiles. By putting your work directly in front of those who are looking to buy, ImageBrief makes it easier than ever to monetize your photography. Read more about ImageBrief here and here.

Submissions will be accepted through ImageBrief. A free account is required to submit and it takes just a minute to sign up. Copyright remains with the photographer.

Deadline for submissions is September 28, 2015.

This group show is sponsored by ImageBrief.

London Photojournalist Peter Dench on the Most Important Photo He’s Ever Taken


© Peter Dench

Peter Dench: The most important photograph I’ve taken is always the next one. However in retrospect, it’s probably a photograph of a drink-driving accident captured on a night patrol with the Bristol medical rapid response team as part of a wider reportage looking at England’s relationship with alcohol. I’m known for my more humorous photographs and believe humor can be an important tool in delivering a serious message. However, sometimes photography shouldn’t be funny, clever or humorous. At times, it just has to document what is. It was a photograph of mixed feelings: I didn’t want to have wasted my time and I didn’t want anyone to get hurt but I did want to produce a photograph that highlighted the perils of drunk-driving. It was an uncomfortable and necessary experience in my photographic development.

Announcing Our Flora & Fauna Photography Show Winners to be Exhibited at Photoville


© Brooke DiDonato
Blending In
11 x 17 inches
Edition of 10
$375 (40% of proceeds to Hempstead Town Animal Shelter)


© Brooke DiDonato
11 x 17 inches
Edition of 10
$375 (40% of proceeds to Hempstead Town Animal Shelter)

Flora & Fauna, presented by the photography website Feature Shoot at Photoville, is a show about plants and animals curated by Feature Shoot’s Instagram followers opening Friday, September 10 at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Over a period of 3 weeks, we sorted through over 9,000 images and posted over 400 images to Instagram, inviting our followers to vote. Our followers cast their votes simply by “liking” the image(s) on Instagram, and the 25 most popular images (from 22 photographers around the world) are presented in this show.

Photojournalist Nancy Borowick on the Most Important Photo She’s Ever Taken


© Nancy Borowick

Nancy Borowick: My answer to this has certainly changed over time and will continue to change. I think right now, the most important photograph I’ve taken is one I took of my parents last year. They are in their bedroom, shirtless, hugging. They loved each other so much, and this image just means the world to me. They were very exposed in front of me, trusting me, and allowing me to tell the story of their lives, as they were dying. I look at that image and I remember their strength, together and alone, and their love for one another, and our family. They have both since passed away, and that image brings me comfort.

18 Workshops, Panels, And Events You Shouldn’t Miss at Photoville 2015

Photoville - Niko Koppel

© Niko Koppel

Featuring everything from a dog friendly photo booth to exhibitions on ebola, child marriage and poverty in America, Photoville, NYC’s largest annual photo event, is right around the corner, and from the lineup of happenings, it looks like once again there is something for everyone.

Feature Shoot will be presenting the Flora & Fauna exhibition featuring 25 works chosen by our Instagram followers, and I’m moderating a panel presented by PhotoShelter entitled PR For Your Photography: The Secret To Getting Featured. We’ll also be going on a photo walk with @thenytimes.

Here are some of the other exhibitions, events and panels on our radar. We’ll be Instagramming from the event over the next few weeks so make sure you’re following us on @featureshoot!

‘Read This If You Want To Take Great Photographs of People’

ReadThis - People_ High Res COVER

Photographer and writer Henry Carroll has a great little book coming out simply titled “Read This If You Want To Take Great Photographs of People,” which promises to help you figure out “how and why you want to photograph people.” It’s perfect for aspiring photographers and anyone looking to learn more about taking portraits without being weighed down with too much technical information. I particularly enjoyed his curation of images to go along with the tips and have included a few of my favorites below. The book features work by 50 photographers ranging from August Sander to Mike Brodie and is published by Laurence King.

South Africa-Based Photojournalist Corinna Kern on Her Most Important Photo Project


© Corinna Kern

Corinna Kern: At this point in time, I would not be able to class one particular photograph as a most important one. Nevertheless, the most important body of work I produced is probably my project Mama Africa, documenting the life of transgender women in South Africa’s townships and rural areas. Due to the strong social stigma that is attached to transgender people in African culture, it is a topic that is highly relevant and in need of awareness in order to provoke social change. Despite the harsh realities that transgender women in South Africa face, my project Mama Africa resulted in a colourful and celebratory series. It documents four African transgender women in their confident endeavors to integrate themselves into a hetero-patriarchal society, while experiencing a surprisingly high level of acceptance. By conveying the ambiguity and fluidity of gender, my project challenges the stereotypical notions on African gender identity. Mama Africa was selected as one of the five finalists for the Alexia Foundation Professional Grant. Even though it did not win, it is a strong affirmation for me that this story is of high interest and needs to be told. I am still planning to continue my project with a stronger focus on the issues surrounding individuals’ lives. So I think my most important photo is still to come.