Jon Lowenstein Wins $10,000 2014 Lange-Taylor Prize for "South Side"

By Holly Stuart Hughes

Jon Lowenstein South Side Chicago
© Jon Lowenstein
A young man floats in the air while jumping on a trampoline at a summer block club party, Auburn-Gresham, 2009.  From Jon Lowenstein's "South Side."

Photographer and filmmaker Jon Lowenstein has been awarded the twenty-second Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize for "South Side," his ongoing project about life in the Chicago neighborhood where he has lived and worked for over a decade. The $10,000 prize, awarded by The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, is given to encourage documentary work in the tradition of photographer Dorothea Lange and writer Paul Taylor, and supports documentary artists – working alone or in teams – whose projects in the field rely on the interplay of words and images.

Lowenstein proposes to use the award to create "a lasting testimony" to his Chicago neighborhood, continuing to shoot photos, geo-tagging and mapping his photos on Instagram, and eventually publishing a book featuring both his images and writing.  He wrote in his proposal, "When I first started the project I believed strongly that photographic images alone could portray what I wanted to show." In time, and with more research into the community's history, he has gathered both still and moving images, "personal narrative writing and poetry, oral histories and found ephemera in an effort to stitch this story together and trace the space between post-industrial meltdown and repackaged, 'gentrified' city."

The members of the Lange-Taylor Prize Committee also awarded a special recognition to Dragana Jurisic, a photographer and researcher born in the former Yugoslavia and now based in Dublin, for her project "Yu: The Lost Country," about her former country. The project retraced the route that novelist and journalist Rebecca West followed to produce her 1941 book Black Lamb Grey Falcon.

The other finalists for the 2014 Lange-Taylor Prize were Chloe Borkett; Lolita Bourdet and Mélodie Le Bihan; Maja Daniels and Jill Mueller; Matt Eich and Kate Linthicum; Matthew Klingle and Michael Kolster; Eva Leitolf; Liam Maloney; Justin Maxon; Freya Najade; Zed Nelson; Carlos Javier Ortiz; April Saul; and Ekaterina Tolkacheva and the Invisible Cities Collective.

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