Feature Shoot and 500px are delighted to announce the winners of the latest edition of the Global Billboard Project, our ongoing initiative to bring great photography to city skylines across the world. Sarah Wouters, Julia Wimmerlin, and Felicia Simion will each take over our current billboard on Manhattan’s 9th Avenue, just across from the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel, for a week. During that time, their photos are expected to draw more than 600,000 views a piece.
Each winning photographer, selected for their eye-catching images, will also receive $500 from 500px, plus a prize package worth well over $1000, including a 500px Pro Membership, the Tilopa 50L Adventure and Travel Camera Backpack from F-Stop Gear, the award-winning Peak Design Everyday Messenger, the Luminar AI Max Bundle, and the Logickeyboard ASTRA 2 Backlit Keyboard for PC or Mac.
The theme for this edition of the Global Billboard Project was Stand Out Shots, with the three winners grabbing our judges’ attention with bold colors, graphic lines, and vivid contrast. Our panel included Alison Zavos of Feature Shoot; Stephanie Newell of 500px; Bill Shapiro, formerly the Editor-in-Chief of LIFE; and the photographer and photo editor Yodith Dammlash, whose CV includes positions at National Geographic and AARP. They chose photos by Wouters, Wimmerlin, Simion for their ability to stop people in their tracks and leave an indelible impression, even amid the rush of New York foot traffic.
Sarah Wouters, a travel photographer, made her winning photo while visiting Inle Lake, Myanmar, where she spotted these villagers drying their colorful fabrics. “These Inle handcrafted lotus fabrics are made using natural dyes and dried under sunlight,” she says. A masterclass in color theory and the rules of composition, her picture transforms an everyday moment into a scene from a painting.
Julia Wimmerlin‘s picture stood out for its bold use of primary colors, its sense of motion, and the element of surprise. Inspired by fields of rapeseed, the image feels nostalgic and modern at the same time. “I wanted to push it from pastoral to arty and abstract,” she says. “When you look at a photo with the blue flowy skirt what do you see—a butterfly, a flower, a statue? Colors are simultaneously natural and surreal; shapes are perfect but unrecognizable.”
Felicia Simion’s winning photo, from the series Not from here, evokes memories of Magritte and Escher, transporting us to a realm both surreal and graphic. For this project, the artist was inspired by her arrival at the seaside resort of Deauville, which felt strange and unfamiliar. She dressed in three costumes that covered her entire body, while exploring various locations in the area, from the beaches to the baths. As we emerge from a global pandemic, Simion’s sense of all things strange and surreal feels particularly resonant.
You can see the photos in person on 9th Avenue at the corner of 37th Street in New York this September. The billboard is just a few blocks from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, so be sure to visit it if you’re in the city. Stay tuned for updates from The Global Billboard Project by heading over to our website.