Postcards from Ferguson



Jon Lowenstein’s Postcards from Ferguson are a set of photographs which provide a way to directly connect one another to our personal stories about the complex, often painful issue of race. Addressing racial inequality, Jon asks that we write down messages of hope for racial justice and send them to our families, friends, colleagues, or representatives. This work was launched at the main TED conference, and has since been triggering engagement in several US Schools.

“For me, the Postcards from Ferguson project is a way to continue the ongoing conversation about race and inequality in the United States with a wider audience. I love the idea of postcards because it’s something that most people can relate to in one way or another. Most people, at one point in their lives, have sent a postcard to someone they love or care for with a simple and direct message. Usually, it’s about a trip or a destination, but with Postcards from Ferguson I’m playing on this idea and forcing people to confront our own difficult and ongoing collective history. Ferguson was an important moment and it’s vital that we find ways to create avenues for dialogue and change.

In particular, with TED my goal was to have influential people who perhaps don’t normally interact with these types of issues to engage physically, psychologically and emotionally with them and then share with friends and loved ones. I love the idea of creating a physical analog vehicle for people to share their thoughts with others.”



Jon Lowenstein has been a professional photographer for more than ten years. He specializes in long-term, in-depth projects that confront the realms of power, poverty, and violence. As a documentary photographer, he strives for unsparing clarity, and believes images make a critical contribution by revealing the subjects of history that lack voice. At the core of the work, and by his own admission, is a lighted love of people. An equally intractable believer in the art, he asks those who consider photography unessential to picture a world with no pictures.

For more than a decade Jon 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. He has also spent the past decade documenting and working with folks in his community on the South Side of Chicago. This project asks important questions like what does South Side mean? Told by the community with fewer filters, more raw, real, honest and still with an aesthetic that’s a personal collaboration between himself and the community where he lives and works South Side becomes a true integrative expression of a uniquely American time and place. This participatory media project seeks to open a new dialogic space in a place that Jon has been documenting for more than a decade.

Lowenstein was named a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow in Photography. He is also a 2011 TED Global Fellow and a 2014 TED Senior Fellow. 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 began a project about the impact of cerebral Malaria in Children in Uganda.

He is member and owner of the NOOR Images cooperative and photo agency.

Lowenstein’s work can be seen at and