We’re thrilled to announce the winners of the inaugural Feature Shoot Street Photography Awards! This year’s ten winners–Melissa Breyer, Dimpy Bhalotia, Alexandre Silberman, Joaquín Luna, Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet, Shevaun Williams, Claude R. Beller, Sebastian Steveniers, Eric Davidove, and Lia Forslund and Franek Wardynski–will be part of a week-long poster run across six locations in New York, reaching an audience of hundreds of thousands. As the Grand Prize winner, Breyer will also receive $500.
Together, the selected winners span the globe, hailing from the United States, India, Thailand, Spain, the United Kingdom, France, and Belgium.
At a time when so many of us feel isolated at home, their work serves as a powerful reminder of the resilience and grit of the human spirit, the lyricism of daily life, the many mysteries of the psyche, and our ability to find humor in the ordinary. Street photography is about the “decisive moment,” but these images feel timeless and enduring, perhaps especially right now. Sure, they were captured in one ephemeral instant, but they beg to be looked at again and again.
“The work here comprises an ongoing project of photography on the sly,” Grand Prize winner Melissa Breyer writes. “I’m endlessly intrigued by the beautiful mash-up of nonfiction and fiction that candid photography has to offer; the non-fiction in the fraction of a second that the photo was taken, the fiction that follows as each viewer sees the photo and creates their own story.
“Photography allows me to pluck out fleeting moments amongst the mad whorl of urban life and put them in my pocket. The images become a document of the city and a way to share how I see things, but also personal souvenirs of my journey through the world.”
Now based in London, the fine art street photographer Dimpy Bhalotia was born and raised in Bombay, though she travels around the world seeking poetic moments and gestures, frozen forever in black and white. Driven by an innate sense of curiosity and spontaneity, she often photographs children and birds, subjects who–like herself–rarely stand still.
In the series ‘The Great Beauty’, the Paris-based photographer Alexandre Silberman turns his gaze to art museums–singular locations where life and space its revolves around the appreciation of manmade beauty. “Like temples, museums are sacred places, determined by transcendental rules, (relatively) independent from the social and political reality of the city where they are established,” he writes.
“With almost 120 of them, Paris has one of the biggest concentrations of museums in the world. I wanted to show the coercive power of this ideology of Beauty, which absorbs, digests and regurgitates according to its principles.”
Drawn to the “intangible relationship between the human being and the universe,” the Spanish photographer Joaquín Luna inhabits a world of glowing light and shadow in his series ‘Incorporeal’. Often featuring solitary figures, he touches on the almost musical compositions of everyday happenings that unfold within the city streets, as unnamed people silently make their way from Point A to Point B.
Also known by the moniker Poupay, the Bangkok-born, New York City-based street photographer Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet’s work could be described as a lifelong treasure hunt for the extraordinary within the mundane corners of our routine lives. “There are little surprises hidden everywhere—often they escape our notice,” she writes. “[This is] one street photographer’s search for tiny, peculiar traces of humanity in reality.”
In her series ‘Peru Infrared’, the Oklahoma-based photographer Shevaun Williams weaves together a tale of local legends, sweeping landscapes, and extraordinary women. “These infrared images from Peru continue a personal project and study of working women of the world,” she writes. “The women are so genuine and their hospitality expansive. Their beauty is evident.”
Drawing inspiration from the likes of Helen Levitt, Bruce Davidson, Kazuo Sumida, and Richard Sandler, the photographer Claude R. Beller has spent years documenting the rich tapestry of life in New York City. “The subjects I shoot have a special quality that sets them apart. It could be the face itself, the style of clothes, a tattoo,” he writes.
“It can be a private, magical or romantic moment for example a kiss, a glance, a conversation or putting on make-up. I try and get out each day even for an hour or so to observe what is around me and look for those moments that capture the soul of New York.”
Sebastian Steveniers mixes elements of street photography, documentary, and portraiture in his unexpected series ‘Bosfights/ Live Free’. “Three years ago I decided to make an attempt to gain access to a hermetically sealed world,” he writes.
“Hooliganism has disappeared from the European football stadiums, but the fight has never stopped. Fighters who volunteered to fight for the colors of their club recently found a new home: remote forests. Teams compete with each other in a very organized way, with rules – and strict secrecy.
“The doors opened increasingly hesitantly for me. But the search swallowed me up more than I could ever have imagined. In April 2018, I was arrested and I ended up in jail for three weeks. Police and justice do not believe that I am investigating this subculture, but believe that I am involved. All my images were confiscated. Until today, I received nothing in return – the police and the public prosecutor point each other’s fingers.
“Still, I worked on. By searching for the material that I had already sent, I was able to recover a small part of years of labor. Of the thousands of images I have saved forty, sometimes of poor quality.
“In addition, I have bundled newspaper articles, my interrogations, police statements, testimonies, screen shots, the diary of my captivity and screenshots of smartphone films, on which I can be seen as a photographer among the fighting parties. My goal was once to document forest fights. Against my will, I have become part of my work myself.”
Based in the San Francisco Bay area, the street, documentary, and travel photographer Eric Davidove captures the offbeat moments of coincidences, absurdity, and juxtaposition frequently found–but seldom recognized–in everyday life. This particular image is part of a series about County Fairs, of which he writes, “I hope to bring attention to some quirky and more subtle moments that people often overlook.”
In their series ‘Gold Stop’, the Swedish-Polish artists Franek Wardynski and Lia Forslund highlight the eerie, ever-illuminated power structures that line the streets of a sparsely-populated Lubbock, Texas at night. Though people are absent, the presence of these spaces–both banal and haunting–speaks to the rhythms, movements, and rituals of the modern American West.