08 April 2021

April's Photography Awards and Opportunities

08 April 2021 - Written by Simon Hall

In our curated awards guide this month, we feature the CENTER Grants, Women Photograph Grants, W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography, and our own Criticae Masterclass and PHmuseum Days Photo Festival open calls. Learn how they can support the development of your work and career amidst these difficult times.

PHmuseum Days 2021 Open Call / Early Bird Deadline: 22 April / Entry fee: $20 - $30

© Anabela Pinto

Taking place in Bologna, Italy from 23 through 26 September, PHmuseum Days 2021 will be the beginning of a new era for our project, characterised by a stronger sense of community and sharing. Photography intended as a universal language can be a powerful medium to transmit important messages, and our goal is to give life to the right platforms to display it. For this reason, after nine years of online activities, we have decided to make the big step into the real world and offer our community a physical playground to meet up, learn, and exchange ideas.

The starting point of the festival is an open call centred around the theme A New Beginning, which represents both the dawn of a new adventure for PHmuseum and, most importantly, an occasion to rethink together the decade that lies ahead of us. A minimum of two works for solo shows, up to 40 images for a collective installation, and up to 15 projects to feature in a night of projections will be selected by a four-person jury comprising Lua Ribeira (Photographer and Magnum Photos Nominee), Laura El Tantawy (Documentary Photographer and Canon Ambassador), Rocco Venezia (Photographer and PHmuseum Curator), and Giuseppe Oliverio (PHmuseum Founder and Director).

All applicants will be granted a free full pass for the festival, which we hope will serve as an excuse to come over to Bologna and enjoy a long weekend of photography, talks, book fairs, and much more. The entry fee is $30 per submission, yet applicants can take advantage of the $20 Early Bird fee if they apply before 22 April. The final deadline is set for 6 May. Learn more and apply at

CENTER Grants / Deadlines: 20 April / Entry fee: US$30 - US$45

© Ada Luisa Trillo. 2020 ME&EVE Award winner

The not-for-profit cultural platform CENTER, based in New Mexico, United States, is currently accepting submissions for four of its annual initiatives that together aim to support photographers in furthering their careers through monetary awards and exhibition opportunities.

The first – the US$5,000 Project Development Grant – is an international competition open to photojournalists, fine art, or documentary photographers looking for funding to continue working on projects that are in progress. The applicants should be at a place in their work and career where they can benefit from the exposure, networks, and opportunities that CENTER offers. The juror is Arpad Kovacs (Assistant Curator, Department of Photographs, J. Paul Getty Museum). The second contest – the Excellence in Multimedia Award – is designed to strengthen a project that utilises photography, video, installation, or other elements that expand on traditional methods of displaying and experiencing photography. Cosima Amelang (Producer/Editor, Mobile Storytelling, National Geographic Partners) is the sole juror.

The third initiative – the US$2,500 Project Launch Grant – will be awarded to a photographer for a completed body of work or an ongoing project already considered a cohesive visual story, and Marisa Sage (Director and Curator, University Art Museum, New Mexico State University) is the judge. The US$5,000 Me&Eve Award – the fourth and final prize to be juried by Annick Shen (Adobe Stock’s Head of Editorial) - looks to recognise a female photographer over 40 years of age who uses their camera to address social justice. The awards package for each Grant includes complimentary participation in Review Santa Fe, a Lenscratch publication, and an online exhibition at The application fees range from US$30 to US$45 depending on the Grant and membership status. All deadlines are 20 April. Further information can be found at

CRITICAE / Online Photography Masterclass / Early Bird Deadline: 14 April / Free entry

© Max Pinckers, artist and doctoral researcher, lead tutor of Criticae

Documentary photography is both a significant reflection on photography itself and a way of dealing with reality in an attempt to understand and communicate it. How can a documentary express social concern while at the same time recognise its own shortcomings and blind spots? How can we define a shared sense of realism in a hyper-individual and confusing era of post-truth and fake news, in which there is no longer a consensus about what is real, half-truth, fiction, or entertainment?

Guided by photographer, artist, and doctoral researcher Max Pinckers, participants will be led toward expanding their projects and developing their own critical documentary strategies. The program will be conducted online over the course of six months and will comprise five studio visits with Laia Abril, Thomas Sauvin, Mathieu Asselin, Chao Tayiana Maina, and Jan Hoek, plus collective and individual sessions. At the end of the program, one or more participants will be granted an opportunity to exhibit their projects at PHmuseum Lab; a chance to gain international exposure and present work in a public venue. Go to for more details.

Women Photograph Grants / Deadline: 15 May / No entry fee

© Tami Aftab. 2020 Women Photograph + Getty Images Scholarship winner

First established back in 2017, the Women Photograph Grants aim to elevate the exposure of female, female-identifying, and non-binary visual journalists. The first offers five US$5,000 endowments to support the production of photography projects – either new or in-progress – from visual journalists working in a documentary capacity. Of the five available, one will be earmarked for a non-binary or transgender photographer. Applicants are encouraged to submit a story rather than singles as part of their submission, and images need not be related to the project proposal. Multimedia works are welcomed. The judging panel this year is comprised of Nina Berman (Photographer), John Edwin Mason (UVA + Women Photograph), Katherine Pomerantz (TIME), Miora Rajaonary (Photographer), and Sana Ullah (National Geographic Society).

For the second Grant, Women Photograph has partnered with Getty Images to award a US$10,000 scholarship to an undergraduate or graduate student focused on photojournalism. The funds can be used for tuition, camera equipment, or other educational costs during the 2020-2021 school year. Applicants should submit a portfolio of 15-20 images, an essay (300 words maximum) outlining their relationship to photojournalism and how this scholarship would advance their photographic education, and proof of enrollment in a university, college, workshop, or other educational institution. Sandy Ciric (Getty Images), Magdalena Herrera (GEO France), Lekgetho Makola (Javett Art Center), Vi Nguyen (Women Photograph), and Leslie Ureña (National Portrait Gallery) make up the jury.

Submissions for both Grants must be in English and there is no entry fee for either. The deadline to apply is 15 May. Learn more at

W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography / Deadline: 31 May / Entry fee: US$50

© Mariceu Erthal García. 2020 W. Eugene Smith Fund Grant Recipient

Recognising the widespread financial need caused by the worldwide pandemic, the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography will break from tradition this year. Rather than awarding US$40,000 to a single photographer, the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund will grant US$10,000 to five photographers who's work follows the tradition of compassionate photojournalism exhibited by W. Eugene Smith during his 45-year career. These Grants are designed to help photographers either begin or complete a documentary-style visual story. The judges (soon to be appointed) will be looking for photographers whose proposed project seems most likely to use exemplary and compelling photojournalism (possibly supplemented by or incorporating multi-media) to address an issue of importance and impact related to the human condition: social change, humanitarian concern, armed conflict or interpersonal, psychological, cultural, social environmental, scientific, medical and/or political significance, ideally expressing an underlying acknowledgment of our common humanity.

Applicants should submit provisional or ongoing work from an as-yet-to-be completed project that would likely benefit from (and likely be concluded if) they were to receive the Grant. Applicants are also invited to present a limited selection of supplementary past work on a related subject as a way of demonstrating their ability to execute the new project. An additional US$5,000 Grant will be dispersed as a Fellowship, and two finalists deemed worthy of special recognition will each be awarded US$2,500. All awards will be presented in a ceremony held in New York City on 14 October. There is an entry fee of US$50 and the deadline is 31 May. Go to to find out more.



Fabrica & The Living Coast Residency 2021 / Deadline: 12 April / Free entry

Fabrica is seeking proposals for an artist residency to take place between 17 May and 17 June this year. This process-orientated commission provides the opportunity for an artist to work with experienced commissioners during Brighton Festival 2021 on a project that seeks to engage audiences about perceptions of, and our relationships to, nature and the countryside.


Yannis Behrakis Photojournalism Award (by APW) / Deadline: 18 April / Free entry

Athens Photo World, following the expressed wishes of Yannis Behrakis and with the donation of Stavros Niarchos Foundation, contributes to the promotion, support, and encouragement of the work of photographers and photojournalists so that they can fulfil their vision and continue to produce their work. For the third consecutive year, the festival has launched the €15,000 Yannis Behrakis International Photojournalism Award that will be granted to a full-length photojournalism or documentary body of work created after January 2018. The winning photographic project will be showcased in a solo show during the 2022 edition of Athens Photo World.


2021 The Fineman New Photography Award / Deadline: 23 April / Free entry

Run by the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, the Fineman New Photography Award places a focus on photographic artists working throughout the Asia Pacific region; seeking to find those whose work is beginning to receive critical attention and deserves to be seen by international audiences. A selection of up to six artists will receive an exhibition within the 2021 Biennale Core Program alongside other finalists, and receive support from BIFB curators in the realisation of their exhibition. All applicants will have their submissions reviewed by an international jury of leading curators and gallery directors. Judges will award one cash prize of AUD$10,000 to an overall winner, with an extra AUD$1,000 being awarded the People’s Choice Award, as voted by the public.


The vfg Young Talent Award / Deadline: 30 April / Free entry

Organized by the Association of Photographic Designers, the vfg Young Talent Award for Photography aims to stimulate discussion about the photographic image and promote professional photography in all areas. An international jury will select 10 photographers to be presented in a catalogue and shown at several exhibitions in Switzerland and abroad throughout this year, one of whom will receive a cash prize of CHF 5,000.


Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize / Deadline: 15 May / US$70

First launched back in 1990, the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize was created by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and is intended to support artists, working alone or in teams, who are engaged in extended, ongoing fieldwork projects that fully exploit the relationship of words and images in the powerful, persuasive representation of a subject. The winner will receive US$10,000, features in Center for Documentary Studies’ digital publications, and inclusion in the Archive of Documentary Arts at Rubenstein Library, Duke University.


Visit our awards page to get a complete view of the best photography opportunities that are currently open for entry.

Written by

Simon Hall

Reading time

11 minutes

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