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Current winners 2008 - New winners
  David Gillanders, September
Eugene Richards, September
Lynsey Addario, September
Lorena Ros, February
Ian Martin, February
Past winners 2007
  Jonathan Lowenstein, September
Leo Maguire, September
Jonathan Torgovnik, September
Ziyah Gafic, February
Christopher Anderson, February
Past winners 2006
  Sarah Caron, September
Rena Effendi, September
Simon Roberts, September
Kristen Ashburn, February
Andrew Testa, February
Past winners 2005  
  Balazs Gardi, September
Scott Lewis, September
Kai Wiedenhöefer, September
David S. Holloway, February
Dario Mitidieri, February
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Grant documentary work courtesy of Scott Lewis
Grant Use Summary (by Scott Lewis):
Since the 1960s, a new wave of immigrants, largely from Latin America and Asia, has brought new faith traditions and practices. Before the 1960s, most Eastern faiths hardly existed in the U.S. whereas today Muslim mosques and Hindu temples are commonplace in suburbs and cities across the country. Today, those communities and others are now a commonplace part of American life. No where can the intense diversification of American faith be better seen and understood than in Flushing, Queens in New York City.

There are nearly 200 houses of worship in this densely packed central district, and religion is literally on display on the streets of this chaotic urban community. Economically devastated in the 1970s, Flushing was reborn by Asian businesses and residents leaving the overflowing Chinatown of Manhattan; new immigrants found friendly faces and cheap housing on the outskirts of the city. Unique zoning laws allowed for the proliferation of houses of worship and as immigration grew and the population became more diverse.

I’ve spent time documenting a selection of religious communities from the oldest, Quakers, to the newest at the China Buddhist Association whose temples serves mostly new Chinese immigrants to the active and flourishing Hindu Temple Society of North America (the first Hindu Temple in the U.S.). As new groups settle into the fabric of the community, established churches have evolved to incorporate new languages and traditions such as St. George’s Episcopal Church and Bowne Street Community Church which both incorporate Taiwanese and Latin American traditions along with their more commonplace English language and American traditions. While the Eastern faiths and faces are flourishing, some of the older established communities struggle to maintain their place in the evolving landscape. Most of the Jewish synagogues’ memberships are in rapid decline as Jews move farther out in the suburbs. Temple Gates of Prayer is the most active and vibrant synagogues in this part of Flushing due in large part to the leadership of charismatic Rabbi Albert Thaler.

I have documented rituals and everyday moments that bind followers of various faith traditions.  Deep connections to a faith’s spiritual roots as well as the strong bonds of fellowship are the core of these communities regardless of faith doctrines. I have tried to steer clear of what I feel is previously known or understood as well as trying to dispel some stereotypes, all the while tapping into the intense beliefs and joyous celebration of believers. A man who is praying silently during the Lunar New Year blends in perfectly well on the streets of the city, his red fleece vest providing no hint of his Buddhist faith. Faith is so much more than doctrine, didacticism and costume, although seeing Rabbi Thaler dressed as a nun in his annual outlandish Purim actions was an fantastic moment of levity and life.

The relative peace and calm of such a diverse and densely populated community as Flushing is a testament to a multicultural society. It is profound to see what’s possible when the profound but paralyzing battles between faiths are supplanted by the equal space for mundane everyday practices of life, work and prayer.
Scott Lewis was born in New York City in 1968. Raised in Dallas, Texas, Lewis received his Bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Missouri. In 1996, he was the founding photographer for Copley's Sun Publications and in 1999 he became a staff photographer for The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina. During the last six years, Lewis has covered daily life at home and abroad including two NCAA Final Four basketball tournaments, four hurricanes and events in Israel and the West Bank. His work was part of two Pulitzer Prize nominations - one for his staff coverage of Hurricane Floyd and another last year for his work on faith with two other photographers. Lewis has also worked on assignment and had work published in prestigious publications such as National Geographic, Newsweek, The Economist, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Stern, and L'Express.

Lewis has been the recipient of more than 40 photojournalism awards for photography and editing. In 1997, he was honored as the National Press Photographers Association Region 5 Photographer of the Year. The following year, Lewis received the Community Awareness Award in the 55th NPPA/University of Missouri Pictures of the Year competition and later received First Place in the People in the News category of the 2003 World Press Photo contest for his image of Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat, emerging from his besieged compound after a tense standoff with Israeli solders.

Lewis has spoken at and judged several state photojournalism conferences including the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar, and has taught documentary photography as an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina.

See more photography by Scott Lewis.
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