Photographer Offers Glimpse at Disturbing Incident of Domestic Violence
Sara Naomi Lewkowicz faced a myriad of challenges, both personally and professionally, while photographing the devastating toll of domestic violence on a family.
At the Sony World Photography Awards ceremony on April 30 in London, she was honored with the World Photography Organization’s most distinguished award, the L’iris d’Or, and also won best photo essay in the Contemporary Issues category for her controversial image series “Shane and Maggie.” The heartbreaking photo essay follows an intimate examination of domestic violence and revolves around the tumultuous relationship between Shane, an ex-convict, and his girlfriend, Maggie.
During Lewkowicz’s time with the family, Shane assaulted Maggie after spending a night out at a bar. Maggie had returned home earlier that night because she was jealous about another woman flirting with Shane. As Lewkowicz remembers the incident, “Upon arriving home, Shane flew into a rage, angry that Maggie had ‘abandoned him’ at the bar and driven home with his friend, whose house they were staying at for the week,” she writes on her website. Lewkowicz documented Shane flinging Maggie across the room, choking her and grabbing her face in front of her daughter, Memphis, before police arrived and arrested Shane.
Lewkowicz says she struggled deeply with interfering in the incident, but ultimately felt she had to call 911. She later cooperated with police as a witness of the incident.
Her photo essay beat out 139,554 images entered into the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards.