“I just want someone to know,” one of Andrea Reese’s subjects told her. Reese’s project ‘Urban Cave,’ captures the lives of New Yorkers who live in the margins of the city’s society, who dwell underground, or on the streets. ‘Urban Cave’ is one of the five photography series featured at the 3rd annual FotoEvidence Book Awards.

This year’s winner, Robin Hammond, was also in attendance signing copies of his book, ‘Condemned,’ a striking account of mental illness in East Africa. “Robin’s work is giving voice to some of the most powerless on the planet,” FotoEvidence Editorial Director, David Stuart, stated. Hammond himself later said ‘Condemned’ should be used as a protest, to give a voice to the people who are denied one.

Whether it be the image Hammond captured of a mentally ill boy, chained at the ankle for over six years and beaten by his mother, or the reflection of the Syrian rebel fighter captured in the mirror he uses as a lookout, photographed by Fabio Bucciarelli, the images selected at this year’s awards remind us of “the suffering many are enduring while we live our lives,” as Stuart so eloquently put it.

The FotoEvidence Book Awards celebrate the people who show us what we miss while living these lives of ours. Rushing from home to work, faces down, phone screens up, ear buds in, ignoring the uncomfortable details. Or for New Yorkers, quite literally the subjects of Reese’s project.

“Sometimes I wished I did more,” Hammond confessed, reflecting on his time with the patients, who most often are treated as inmates. His work, though, acts as the first step on the road to do more. ‘Condemned’ is the protest he’s leading, and FotoEvidence the first to join him.

Written by Claire Matern. Images courtesy of FotoEvidence with special thanks to Svetlana Bachevanova.


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