Calle 4 Sur (South Street four) 

Nominated by Jerry Vezzuso

Featuring: Antonio Pulgarin

“Calle 4 Sur (South Street Four)” focuses on the individuals impacted by the civil war conflict in Colombia. At the age of three my mother and I left our home at Calle 4 Sur, an urban neighborhood located in Bogota, Colombia, in pursuit of a better life. Growing up in the United States I was unaware of the turmoil plaguing my country. At the age of 23 I began traveling to Colombia, at first as a means of reconnecting with my culture. As time went on I invested more time in learning about the political revolution that had gripped my country. Throughout my trips I explored various parts of Colombia including Ibague, Cali, Bogota, and Medellin. My home base was always Calle 4 Sur.

Colombia’s civil war began in the 1960s. In early 2015, Peace talks between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) took place. These peace talks ended in a standstill shortly after the abduction of General Rubén Darío Alzate Mora. The impact of war and political turmoil has affected multiple generations of Colombian men and women. I photograph students, civilians, religious leaders, and radical protesters to understand their perspectives and approach to ending the conflict. These photographs celebrate a resilient Colombia and it’s people. They address a contemporary Colombian narrative.

Originally from Bogota, Colombia, Antonio Pulgarin is a documentary fine art photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. Pulgarin received his BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts. Through his photographs, Pulgarin, examines the narratives of his subjects; subjects from communities often overlooked by mainstream media. In the end, his photographs are a celebration of his subjects and culture. Pulgarin and has been shown in the Brooklyn Museum, Daniel Cooney Fine Art Gallery, La Maison d’ Art Gallery, The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse, Powerhouse Arena and later this year at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. His work has received honors from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, Latin American Fotografia (2,3, & 4),American Photography (30), and PDN Photo Annual 2014. Pulgarin was nominated for PDN’s 30 Emerging Photographers to watch (2013 & 2014).

Laws of Silence

Nominated by Elizabeth Avedon

Featuring Jennifer McClure


“When something is festering in your memory or your imagination, laws of silence don’t work. It’s like shutting a door and locking it on a house on fire in hope of forgetting that the house is burning. ” – Tennessee Williams, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

I’ve been afraid of letting go of the life I was programmed to live. I was taught that having a family and a home and a church and a regular job, all good Southern values, meant that I was successful. My own family life was difficult and displaced, not something I wished to reproduce. I am distrustful of both people and the idea of the American Dream. I’ve avoided any of the rites and rituals that signify “success” but failed to replace a broken mythology with any other.

I began searching for signs of meaningful relationships and missed opportunities, trying to piece together a map of how to be. I needed to look at the past, see it clearly, and then see beyond it. Symbols of a damaged childhood, when contained within a frame, no longer carry the unbounded force of memory. Signs of connection, when taken out of context, reveal themselves to be fallacies. I have been afraid that I will drown in other people. I couldn’t see how water can soothe and sustain as well as destroy.

Thomas Roma likens the making of photographs to Robert Frost’s idea of making a poem: “A poem begins with a lump in the throat; a homesickness, a lovesickness.” These pictures come from that emotional space of longing, of wishing for things that never were and might never be. I can only see a feeling clearly when I disarm and immobilize it, pin it to the wall and examine it with the others. I’m learning how to be alone without being lonely, how to be carried without being overwhelmed, and to walk away from what I want to leave behind.

Jennifer McClure is a fine art and documentary photographer based in New York City. She uses the camera to ask and answer questions. Jennifer turned the camera on herself after a long illness limited her access to other people. She is interested in appearances and absences, short stories, poetry, and movies without happy endings.

Jennifer was born in Virginia and raised all over the Southeast. The child of a Marine, she moved frequently and traumatically. She decorated her walls with traces of her past; photographs became anchor points. After acquiring a B.A. in English Theory and Literature, Jennifer began a long career in restaurants. She returned to photography in 2001, taking classes at the School of Visual Arts and the International Center of Photography. She is currently a teaching assistant at ICP. She was named one of LensCulture’s Top 50 Emerging Talents of 2015 and awarded CENTER’s Editor’s Choice by Susan White of Vanity Fair in 2013. Her work has been exhibited in numerous shows across the country and featured in publications such as Lenscratch, Feature Shoot, L’Oeil de la Photographie, The Photo Review, Dwell, Adbusters, and PDN.

The People of South Ethiopia

Nominated by Elizabeth Avedon

Featuring Nigel Morris


In the Spring of 2014, I traveled to Ethiopia for the first time. I have always loved the history of Ethiopia, and viewed it more as a home going, then a vacation. Ethiopia is known as the cradle of mankind, and is extremely rich in culture, and I wanted to immerse myself in it. I never thought that by immersing myself so deeply in Ethiopian culture, that I would learn so much about myself. It was one of the most spiritual and emotionally satisfying experiences that I have ever had in my lifetime. The portraits you see here, were made out of pride, respect, and my desire to portray these beautiful people in a dignified fashion.

My name is Nigel Morris. I am a portrait and editorial photographer, based in Brooklyn, New York. The reason I choose to shoot people exclusively is quite simple; For every person that has ever been in front of my camera, I see some of myself in them, in some way. I get a kick out of the fact that, no matter our differences, physically, mentally, or whatever, we are still the same in many ways. It’s something I look forward to discovering, with every shoot.

Neither Here Nor There

Nominated by United Photo Industries

Curated by James Estrin

Featuring Mark Abramson

As Blanca looked out the car window at the garlic and almond fields whooshing by, a vaguely familiar feeling stirred up inside her, one she hadn’t felt since a January morning 14 years ago in Querétaro, Mexico, when she saw her father fade into the distance with nothing but knapsack on his back and the promise of returning in a year.  Now, she was the one leaving her family behind.  As a sign spelling “Berkeley” flashed before the windshield, she thought she could read the contents of her father’s lost gaze reflected in the rearview mirror, and it dawned on her that she was not just going to college: once more, she was crossing a border.

Neither Here Nor There is the story of Blanca, a young undocumented woman, who grew up picking grapes in the fields of the San Joaquin Valley, struggling to redefine herself as more than just an immigrant, a struggle brought about by legislation and geography. She’s just one individual amongst the estimated 1.7 million youth brought to this country by their parents before the age of 16. Blanca wants to be an American but the laws won’t let her or her family. This project is an intimate look into the life of this California DREAMer and her mixed status family as she navigates the divide between her life up north as a pre-med student at UC Berkeley and her undocumented family’s struggle living and working in Bakersfield, in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley.  It is a visual document following the life of one family, their challenges, small victories and fear as they live, without papers or power, in America.

Related Programming:
There’s No Place Like Home

Mark Abramson (b. 1988) is a Russian-American freelance photographer and cinematographer based in New York City.

He is drawn to telling stories that allow him to cross over into his subjects’ lives, and he sees photography as a gateway into the process of  producing visual documentation in an intimate fashion. Much of the pull towards covering issues concerning immigration, undocumented populations, and other social issues, stems from the fabric of his own family history and the migration from the former Soviet Union, which has catalyzed his desire to produce journalistic and documentary content with a camera.

He graduated with a degree in journalism and mass communications from the George Washington University in 2010, and has has been producing visual content since 2009, during which time he started his journey into photojournalism; subsequently working as a multimedia intern for the Washington Post, later as a photographer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and eventually basing himself in New York City as full time freelancer.

He has been a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal since 2011 and has published work with clients such as: The New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Education Week , Getty Images, GOOD Magazine, Newsweek, TIME, Arena Magazine, National Geographic (Food), El Nuevo Día, and others.

Fade Resistance

Nominated by Jamel Shabazz

Featuring Zun Lee

Fade Resistance is an archival project that seeks to restore the narrative impact of thousands of found African American vernacular Polaroid photographs. The images exhibit richness and complexity of life that fills a representational gap in the history of American snapshot photography.

The ability to make instant hard copy snapshots was alluring. Everyday life moments could be captured, viewed and shared without delay or interference. Even though there was often a performance aspect to making Polaroids, the daily life scenes reflect the way Black people saw themselves on their terms and in ways not intended to be seen, or judged, by others.

Fade Resistance is a reminder that there is a vivid recent history of Black visual self-representation. My hope is that this archive offers a contemporary counter-narrative to mainstream distortion and erasure. By showing how black families documented themselves throughout recent decades, I aim to spark meaningful conversation regarding issues of agency and empowerment in the depiction of African Americans.

Zun Lee is a Toronto-based visual storyteller. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Slate, TIME Lightbox, Huffington Post, MSNBC, Washington Post, and Hyperallergic.

Lee has made a name for himself as a visual storyteller of quotidian African American life. For his award-winning project Father Figure, Lee put the topic of black father absence stereotypes into the wider context of criminalization of black masculinity. Lee also worked in Ferguson in the fall of 2014, where he engaged the local community to provide a more nuanced narrative of resistance than is often depicted.

Lee has shown his work in solo and group exhibits in New York City, Washington DC, Toronto, Paris, Perpignan, Orlando and Los Angeles. He has spoken publicly at New York University, Nathan Cummings Foundation, University of Chicago, Photoville, CBC Radio One’s Q Show, Ryerson University, University of Toronto, Annenberg Space for Photography, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Recyclart Art Center Brussels.

Selected honors include: Photo District News Photo Annual Winner, Photo Books (2015), LOOK3 Educator (2015), Aperture Photo Book Awards Shortlist (2014), TD Then and Now Grantee (2014), LOOKbetween Participant (2014), Photo District News’ 30 New and Emerging Photographers to Watch (2014).


Nominated by Jamel Shabazz

Curated by Kim Hubbard (National Geographic)

Featuring Sara Hylton

Nestled between the jungles of the Indian plains and the vast Himalayan mountains, the small country of Nepal is an oasis of beauty and tranquility. When a 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal on April 25th, 2015 followed by a powerful aftershock on May 12th, 2015, the world stood in shock. Though Nepal sits directly on the fault line and is one of the world’s most quake prone regions, it’s lack of preparedness and adequate infrastructure left
parts of the country widely devastated.

I visited Nepal one month after the earthquake and spent three weeks documenting the aftermath and the rebuilding process. In the Hindu faith, Goddess Durga is widely worshipped and is known as the mother Goddess, she is the root cause of creation, preservation, and annihilation. Durga was a consistent theme in the way the Nepalese hypothesized what happened to their land and their people. Though the devastation of the earthquake cannot be undermined, this series is a documentation of the conception of Durga and the resilience, faith, and beauty that was present amid the devastation.

Sara Hylton is a Canadian documentary and portrait photographer based between Brooklyn, New York and New Delhi, India.  Sara completed a post-graduate certificate in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography from the International Center of Photography and also holds a Master of Arts in International Conflict Studies from Kings College London. When Sara is not working with international organizations, she can be found in a quaint corner of the world pursuing personal projects.

Sara’s principal medium is the portrait. She believes that through this documentation she is able to share an exchange with her varied subjects and capture them in their most natural state of being. Resilience, humanity, and the quiet beauty in everyday life guides her work. Sara has been featured by the New York Times, the Financial Times, Reuters, Smithsonian Magazine, the Guardian, American Photo, and Ricochet News among others. Sara was also nominated for PDN’s 30 Emerging Photographers to watch (2014).

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For Tropical Girls Who Have Considered Ethnogenesis When the Native Sun is Remote

Nominated by Jerry Vezzuso

Featuring Tiffany Smith

Using 19th century ethnographic photographs as a point of departure, “For Tropical Girls Who Have Considered Ethnogenesis When the Native Sun is Remote” presents fantastical self portraits that question identity constructs and the psychological implications of iconography. The artist casts herself, a self-proclaimed “home grown immigrant,” as the subject of an ethnographic survey of invented personas who author their own representations of a blended cultural heritage. Smith masquerades in costumes and throughout sets crafted to mine the personal and collective memory of cultural signifiers of the Caribbean and produce microcosmic explorations of the formation of cultural identity in multinational America.

Smith, who was raised between Nassau, Bahamas and Miami, Florida by parents of similar multinational upbringing, is the first generation in her family to be raised outside of the Caribbean. From an early age, she has navigated the path between assimilation and preservation of cultural identity, ultimately creating a hybrid identity that embodies the apex of her experiences.

Drawing inspiration from the choreopoem “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf” by Ntozake Shange, Smith’s vignettes use her own experiences and recalled memories to create performative studies that empower reclamation of representation.

Tiffany Smith is a cross disciplinary artist who employs primarily lens based media to create conceptually based work that explores notions of identity, individuality, community, and cultural ambiguity. Smith’s work aims to create new perspectives on dominant historical narratives and provide insight into issues surrounding communities and how they are formed and defined.

Smith received a BA in photography and graphic design from S.C.A.D. and an MFA in Photo, Video and Related Media from SVA. Smith’s work has been exhibited and published throughout the United States and in the Caribbean during the 2014 Jamaica Biennial. She currently resides and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Welcome to Dilley

Nominated by United Photo Industries

Supported by Black Box

Featuring Chris Gregory, Natalie Keyssar, Jake Naughton, and Alejandro Torres Viera

Dilley, Texas, best known at one point as the unofficial watermelon capital of the country —“come get a slice of the good life,” the slogan went — is a town of 4,000, an hour south of San Antonio. A sprawling, rural community in Southern Texas, its residents are currently enjoying the second oil boom in as many decades.

Fearing the inevitable downturn, last year administrators announced Dilley would be home to the South Texas Family Residential Center — or as its detractors call it, “baby jail,” — the largest immigrant detention center in the country. Built on a former man camp for oil workers, it houses 2,400 women and children, many of whom fled violence and persecution in Central America.

In addition to the thousands of asylum seekers, the center brought 600 jobs to Dilley. All over town low-paid workers in dead-end jobs eye the positions posted each Wednesday. In the Days Inn just off the highway, every week a new batch of lawyers and volunteers take up residence and head to the detention center to help gain release for the women and children housed inside.

Though the reality is wreathed in euphemism (guards are “resident supervisors,” and detainees live in neighborhoods named after cute animals), former detainees are quick to call the place a prison. And so, the town has gained notoriety across the country for an honor not quite as pleasantly banal as “a slice of the good life.”  Welcome to Dilley.

We are Black Box, a creative agency for visual documentary projects.

Borrowing from the experimental ethos of the laboratory, we merge the creative processes of photography and design to build immersive stories.

We operate at the intersection of design and content, but at our core we believe content always dictates form. With each of our projects, we aim to create the ideal object for sharing the story, whether it’s digital, analogue or something in between.

Black Box is Chris Gregory, Natalie Keyssar, Jake Naughton and Alejandro Torres Viera. Based in New York City we’re open to collaborating with all types of partners, so give us a shout.


Hey Sailor! New in Town?

Nominated by Stella Kramer

Featuring Kathryn Mussallem

I turned a lifelong fetish into an immersive documentary project; spending the last four years traveling around America chasing sailors. I reverse the male gaze and photograph at an intimate distance as I make these full-grown men and heroes nervous. I went from judgmental outsider full of prejudice to a friend, lover and insider. In the tradition of street photography I am on the hunt for salty tales and shenanigans as nostalgia, cliché, and humour guide the viewer through my adventures.

I put on my bright red lipstick, slip on my bright red high heels, I hit the street, I see these boys in white and with giddy excitement I approach… “Hey Sailor! New in town?”

Kathryn Mussallem An exhibiting photographer, printmaker and illustrator with work published and exhibited in Canada, the US, the UK and France. Recent group exhibitions include New York NY, Minneapolis MN, Saint Remy de Provence France and Vancouver BC.

Recent solo exhibition, Tattoos & Scrimshaw: the Art of the Sailor at the Vancouver Maritime Museum (2013), the Maritime Museum San Diego (2014), currently at the Los Angeles Maritime Museum (2015) and opening at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum in January 2016.

Receiving her BFA (Photo) and a Master of Applied Arts in Visual Arts from Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver BC and a Master of Professional Studies in Digital Photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York NY.

Kathryn is currently an instructor of photography, digital media and visual arts at Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver BC, Canada.


The Disturbing Beauty of Sphynx Cats


Nominated by Stella Kramer

Featuring Alicia Rius

Hairless cats are odd, rare and definitely not known for being ‘beautiful’. I am drawn to their alien looks.  There’s something disturbing yet eerie that astonishes me every time I look at one of them. In this body of work I explore the beauty of the Sphinx within that oddity.

With their piercing eyes, wrinkled bodies and knack for placing themselves in jarring positions; without fluffy and fancy coats, the Sphinx shows what a true cat is in every fold and movement. They are raw, exposed, vulnerable.  When you let your eyes linger on these alien forms, framed in shadows to reveal every curve and expression, it’s easier to see the beauty hiding in their tiny, naked frames.

Alicia Rius
Animals and photography have always been part of my life since I was a kid. My dad and aunt were avid photographers; and me, I was the crazy kid bringing home all sorts of animals. My passion for animals has pushed me to explore their beauty and uniqueness. I want to capture the elusive mood of the animal’s personality and expressions, allowing them to be themselves with no promptings. There is still a lot to be explored with my animal photography. I look to create vibrant and unique images in a classical way to evoke emotions in the viewer. Being outdoors, and cloudy days make me happiest.


Terrestrial Interjections

Nominated by Jerry Vezzuso

Featuring May Lin Le Goff

‘Terrestrial Interjections’ is work in progress examining how human beings project themselves along their own personal journeys. In our contemporary culture, people tend to portray themselves in a one-dimensional exhibitionistic manner; an alternate reality is created through a series of filters put in place by the subject. As the viewer, we live vicariously through these vignettes. We see ourselves as a highly evolved sentient entities, yet there is a prevailing herd mentality that is highlighted through our behavior, especially easily observed through social media avenues.

In this body of work, the interjections come in the form of staged unnatural occurrences. By using the familiar language of commercial and stock photography, no detail is obscured and everything is laid out for the viewer to scrutinize. However these seemingly optimistic images reach for an unseen sublime, and are to be viewed literarily like short stories. Each image contributes to a non-linear ironic narrative that points to the mundane day-to-day- the photographs aren’t necessarily about the subjects or objects themselves, they are more of a reflection about the world in which they exist in. The viewer is invited to piece together these scenes of imagined cause and effect into a single narrative.

May Lin Le Goff is a photographer based in New York City. Born in France and raised in Singapore, Le Goff creates surreal renderings of high fashion overlaid with her own personal brand of disorder and irreverence. In 2010, Le Goff moved to New York to complete her BFA in Fine Art at the School of Visual Arts, and graduated with top honors as well as the prized Tierney Award, a fellowship grant given to a single graduating student of that year.

As a child of two worlds, the discovery of fashion images in Le Goff’s later teenage years played significant part in establishing her creative identity. This was an avenue of self-expression that was completely autonomous- that sense of independence remains evident in Le Goff’s work.