Photo: Rob Stephenson

The 2011 Photo Urbanism fellowship was awarded to Rob Stephenson for his project "From Roof to Table," where he documented over 100 urban farms and gardens in NYC. 

A fine art photographer based in Brooklyn, Rob's interest in the presence of wilderness in cities, and the tension between natural and built environments, is what drives much of his work. For his Photo Urbanism fellowship, Rob spent a year visiting over one hundred urban farms and gardens throughout the five boroughs of New York City. His resulting photographs informed and supported our Five Borough Farm project and were prominently featured in the project publication and website.

In November 2012, the Design Trust published "From Roof to Table: Photographs by Rob Stephenson" as the final presentation of his project. Featuring 35 full-color photographs, along with short essays from the Design Trust and Rob, this print publication – the first book to be dedicated to a Photo Urbanism project – serves as a beautiful representation of urban agriculture in New York City and underscores the power of photography to illuminate New York City's diverse public realm.

about Photo Urbanism

In 2011, the Design Trust adopted a new curatorial approach to the Photo Urbanism program, linking the fellowship more directly to active Design Trust projects. By focusing the fellowship on a particular public space issue, we give the photographer access to communities and sites they would be unable to enter alone. In turn, the photographer’s artistic vision brings a new perspective, informing and illuminating the potential of our city’s undiscovered and under-used public spaces.


Program Support

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs

I was amazed by the amount and diversity of food that people are able to grow in such a seemingly inhospitable environment. From stalks of corn in a Bed-Stuy lot and rooftop bee hives in the shadow of the Chrysler building to watermelons and tanks of tilapia in Far Rockaway, Queens, everything that can be grown in the city is being grown.