Justin Maxon (1983) was born and raised in a number of small towns in the woods of northern California, where he grew up part-time on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation. He is an award winning visual storyteller, arts educator, and journalist influenced by social practice: an interdisciplinary approach that acknowledges the socio-historical context from which issues are born and the inclusion of multiple voices that texture stories. His praxis rests in the relentless pursuit of the many unfolding variables of truth and how they build inclusivity, community participation and the value of person and place.
He has received numerous awards for his photography, from competitions UNICEF Images of the Year, and American Photo. He has won two 1st place awards from World Press Photo. He won the Deeper Perspective Photographer of the Year at the Lucie Awards. He was named one of PDN’s 30 Photographers to Watch. He was selected to participate in World Press Photo’s Joop Swart Masterclass. He received the Cliff Edom “New America Award” from NPPA. He was also selected as one of Magenta’s Flash Forward Emerging Photographers.
His 8-year transmedia project in Chester PA, examines the physical, psychological, and spiritual repercussions of unresolved trauma from unsolved murder. The project, titled, Heaven’s Gain, materialized into many different visual forms: hand made mock murder case files which incorporated photography, archival material, and historical narratives; a trans-media installation, a short documentary, and a published investigative story in the Mother Jones Magazine. The different components of the project have been award the Aaron Siskind Foundation Fellowship, a Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund Grant, the Alexia Foundation for World Peace Professional Grant, the Visura Grant for Outstanding Personal Project, the Reminders Stronghold Photography Grant, the Cliff Edom “New America Award” from NPPA, and a Salute to Excellence Award from the National Association of Black Journalists.
He has worked on feature and cover stories for publications such as TIME, Rolling Stone, Newsweek, MSNBC, Mother Jones Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, Fast Company, Fader Magazine, The New York Times, and NPR.