2008 — student runner-up
Justin Maxon (1983) was born in a small town in the woods of northern California.
While attending journalism school at San Francisco State, he began exploring projects that held greater social implications. His desire was to reveal different variables of truth in humanities conflicted existence. Of recent though, his work shifted towards exploring more private issues; where his imagery became an abstract representation of his own life.
Maxon has received numerous awards for his photography, from competitions like World Press Photo, UNICEF Images of the Year, POYi, and NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism. 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 Emerging Photographers to Watch. He was selected to participate in World Press Photo’s 2010 Joop Swart Masterclass. In addition, he recently received the 2010 FotoVisura Photography Grant and the 2011 Cliff Edom “New America Award” from NPPA.
He has worked on feature assignments for publications that include TIME, Newsweek, Mother Jones Magazine, Fader Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, AARP Bulletin, and NPR.
Documenting Kettleman City, California, a community of farm workers midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The city is a toxic environment with contaminated water, heavy air pollution, and exposure to dangerous pesticides. Between 2008 and 2010, at least 11 babies have been born with severe birth defects, reported Mother Jones, a dramatic increase from the average one a year prior to 2008.