SIXTH WINNER OF RPS GRANT – JUSTIN MAXON
After much consideration, we are pleased to announce that a proposal submitted by Justin Maxon has been selected as a grantee of Reminders Photography Stronghold Grant (2014 March deadline proposals reviewed by Enricoo Bossan, Hannamari Shakya, Peggy Sue Amison, Marie Lelievre, Manik Katyal and Eliseo Barbàra). We are now scheduling his exhibition. We will keep you updated with more details soon.
The Sun Village is a place where families shut themselves into their homes; where people sleep in their basement because gunshots are like birds screeching in the night. But on this morning, the neighborhood awoke to a new air: a Sun Village alive and breathing. Mothers, fathers, sons and daughters; sweeping together, picking up trash together. A loud speaker blasts from of a moving car. A beloved pastor coaxes people from the walls of their homes. “We are all working together to clean up Sun Village. Join us, as we take back our neighborhood.”
Chester, PA has a rich history dating back to the mid-1600s. Then in the mid 1960’s the city experienced an industrial collapse and subsequent economic meltdown. Many residing in Chester (pop 37,000) now live in an environment of hardship. A food desert spans the length of the city: there hasn’t been a single grocery store in the last decade. The city’s public schools rank last among the state’s districts. The murder rate is one of the highest per capita in the United States. The chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime in Pennsylvania is 1 in 273; in Chester it’s 1 in 37.
Chester is a city where a domino effect of socio-economic issues and a long history of government corruption, have revealed the community to be a microcosm of the wounds of racism that stain this country today.
With this work, I want people to understand the true complexities of living in a community like Chester. How everything is interlocked: a patchwork of trauma and courage. A woven legacy deeply rooted in the foundation of American society. In an endeavor to capture this, I chose to experiment with multiple exposures. The past, present and future are intertwined, creating each moment. Time is sandwiched together, stacked on top, brick by brick, moment by moment. The heavier these moments become, the greater the strain on this linkage of time.
I’ve witnessed tragedy here, but I have seen equal moments of strength and beauty. The moments of light and progress are not forgotten under the overwhelming weight of violence and oppression. In fact they weigh heavier on the pendulum of life and death. The scales will tip ultimately in favor of dawn. It’s only a matter of focusing our attention towards the morning sun.
Justin Maxon (1983) was born in a small town in the woods of northern California. An artist and long-form documentarian, he is committed to working on projects that reveal different variables of truth in humanities conflicted existence, and incorporate various artistic forms and expressions.
He has received numerous awards for his photography, from competitions like World Press Photo, UNICEF Images of the Year, and POYi. He won the Deeper Perspective Photographer of the Year at the 2008 Lucie Awards; the same year he was named one of PDN’s 30 Photographers to Watch. He was selected to participate in World Press Photo’s 2010 Joop Swart Masterclass. He received the 2011 Cliff Edom “New America Award” from NPPA. He was also selected as one of Magenta’s 2012 Flash Forward Emerging Photographers. In addition, he has received grants from the Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund, FotoVisura, the Alexia Foundation for World Peace, and the Aaron Siskind Foundation.
Maxon’s work has been exhibited widely: at the Musuem de Arte Acarigua-Araure in Venezeula, OneArts Space in New York, Second Floor Gallery in London, 25CPW Gallery in New York, the Bermuda National Gallery, the Rayko Gallery in San Francisco, Photoville Festival in New York, the Project Room in Chicago, the Exposure Gallery in San Francisco, the Singapore International Photography Festival, the LOOK3 Festival in Charlottesville, the Chobi Mela Festival in Bangladesh, the Lodz Fotofestiwal in Poland, the New York Photo Festival in Dumbo, and the Fotopub Festival in Slovenia. His work has been screened at the LookBetween Festival in Charlottesville, the Ankor Photo festival in Cambodia, and the Photography Days in Istanbul, and the Bursa Photo Festival in Turkey.