Jon Lowenstein

Jon Lowenstein specializes in long-term, in-depth documentary explorations that confront the realms of power, poverty, and violence.

Through the combination of photography, moving images, experiential writing and personal testimonials, Lowenstein strives for unsparing clarity by revealing the subjects of history that lack voice. His commitment to social justice through community engagement runs both deep and long. As a son of a holocaust survivor he’s particularly interested in Diaspora communities and the struggle for autonomy and personal security. 

During this time Lowenstein has traveled, studied, and documented the experiences of undocumented Latin Americans living throughout the United States. Shadow Lives USA follows the migrant trail from Central America, through Mexico and throughout the United States in an effort to the real stories of the men and women who make up the largest transnational migration in world history. This project, unique in its breadth and intimate scope forces the viewer to engage with the impact of America’s punitive immigration and economic policies on some of the United States’ most vulnerable populations. 

He has spent the past two decades engaging his adopted community on Chicago’s South Side where he taught photography in the Chicago Public Schools, ran a community newspaper and is currently creating the South Side Imagination Center in conjunction with fellow community members. This effort will create a unique documentary and athletic dream space out of the ruins of an abandoned building. This extensive and powerful body of work challenges accepted notions about community, poverty, segregation, and ultimately, what is the real space between hope and power. Told by the community with fewer filters, and still with an aesthetic that’s a unique personal collaboration between himself and his community, South Side is a true integrative expression of a uniquely American time and place. This participatory media project seeks to open new dialogic and physical spaces in which to engage both the immediate community and the global community at large. 

Recently, Lowenstein was named one of 30 photographers in the world to be honored by the Eddie Adams Workshop for their 30th anniversary. Lowenstein won the Center for Documentary Studies 2014 Dorothea Lange/Paul Taylor Prize. He is a TED speaker and Senior Fellow and a 2011John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellow in Photography. He is also currently a 2014 TED Senior Fellow. Recently, he was named a 2012 Hasselblad Master. In 2008 he was named the Joseph P. Albright Fellow by the Alicia Patterson Foundation and also won a 2007 Getty Images Grants for Editorial Photography. He also won a 2007 World Press Award and was named as a USC Annenberg Institute for Justice and Journalism Racial Justice Fellowship. He won the 2005 NPPA New America Award, a 2004 World Press photo prize, 2003 Nikon Sabbatical Grant, the 58th National Press Photographer’s Pictures of the Year Magazine Photographer of the Year Award and Fuji Community Awareness Award.

His international assignments include covering elections in Afghanistan to the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti to social violence in Guatemala. Most recently, he completed a project about the impact of inhaled Nitric Oxide on cerebral Malaria in Ugandan Children. 

He is member and owner of the NOOR Images cooperative based in Amsterdam.

Lowenstein’s work can be seen at and