Broadway star Sheryl Lee Ralph unveiled the winners of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s “Fight HIV Your Way” photography contest today at New York City’s Grand Central Station, while onlookers milled about, eating miniature bacon cheeseburgers and perusing the 51 photographs on display. A photo by Howard Grant of Oakland came in first, winning the artist a free trip to New York to attend today’s festivities.

“I love that this exhibit brings arts into the struggle against AIDS,” said Ralph, a National Minority AIDS Council spokesperson and creator of Sometimes I Cry, a one-woman show about black women and HIV, which was on tour in March. “When I was doing Dreamgirls [as part of the original cast in 1981], people started dropping dead [from AIDS] up and down Broadway. An ugly silence fell over their death. Twenty-five years later, people still aren’t talking about HIV.”

The competition’s 51 finalists—culled from a total of 650 entries—ranged from nature shots of baby birds and waterfalls to pictures of positive people and those affected by the virus, each accompanied by a brief explanation of what the shot meant for the photographer’s personal fight against HIV.

Grant’s winning photo shows a naked young man inside a stone niche, pushing against the walls. The caption reads: “I felt boxed in by concepts such as terminal illness, damaged goods, poz/neg. The bravery and compassion of friends liberated me to pursue new paths and passions. All I had to do was face a new direction and step out of the box.” Grant, 67, was diagnosed in 1989 and took the photo in 1982. He told onlookers today at Grand Central that he had three friends pose in the stone recess—and that the subject in the photo is the only one still living. “The niche has a very sacred tone,” he said.

Grant’s photograph and the 50 others will remain in the terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall for several days until moving on for short stints in Washington, DC, Miami Beach, Venice Beach and San Francisco. A book of the top 100 is in the works.