July 2020, Stolipinovo, Plovdiv, Bulgaria. After an engagement party on the day before, a young bride to be is being prepared for her wedding. Weddings and most social celebrations take place on the streets of the ghetto, and are shared within the whole community. © Selene Magnolia

We are thrilled to announce that the winner of the latest edition of Feature Shoot’s Global Billboard Project is the photojournalist Selene Magnolia. Selected by our guest judge Vaughn Wallace, program director at Blink and former Senior Photo Editor at National Geographic, her portrait of a bride-to-be in Stolipinovo, Plovdiv, Bulgaria will be exhibited on a billboard in Manhattan for three weeks.

Magnolia’s winning photograph is part of her long-term documentary project ZOR, an exploration of Stolipinovo, home to a diverse Roma community that has, throughout history, experienced systematic discrimination. Currently, the neighborhood is facing housing, healthcare, and human rights emergencies, but amid growing challenges, their traditions and celebrations, including weddings, continue to be passed down from generation to generation. “Cultural traditions are a core part of the system of values,” the photojournalist says. “Life events are celebrated openly, mostly on the streets, and shared within the whole community.”

“ZOR [is] a project that means so much to me, politically and personally,” she continues. “In contemporary Europe challenged by unprecedented migratory flows, a growing urgency to preserve national identity burns not only along borders but also inside, forcing minorities into ghettos. Like wounds, these need to be healed, prevented from infecting what is around them, closed […] Surrounded by hostility and in an atmosphere of generalised awakening of nationalist sentiments, Stolipinovo is a portrait of systematic discrimination in Europe in our century.”

You can see the billboard in person this month, located just across from the only entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel on 9th Avenue and three blocks from the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

For the fourth edition of the Global Billboard Project, we’ll be returning to the same billboard, which is estimated to attract 600,000 views each week. Submit up to five images today for just $25. Every submitting photographer will also receive a downloadable PDF Feature Shoot photography guide, 52 Photography Grants You Should Know About, for free.

You can follow Magnolia’s work on Instagram at @selenemagnolia.photo. For more opportunities from The Global Billboard Project, check out our website and stay tuned via Instagram at @featureshoot and @globalbillboardproject.

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