01 December 2016

December Awards Guide

01 December 2016 - Written by Simon Hall

The PHmuseum 2017 Grant, World Press Photo Contests, Viewbook Visual Storytelling Grant, Aperture Portfolio Prize, 2017 Voies Off Prize, and The Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward Awards are the most exciting competitions open this December. Read on to learn more about them.

PHM 2017 Grant

© Rasmus Degnbol, from the series Europe's New Borders (PHM 2016 Grant winner)

The PHmuseum Grant is an annual international photography contest designed to support photographers in the development of their careers.

In the 2017 edition Main Prize, a jury comprised of Emma Bowkett (Director of Photography at Financial Times Magazine), Alejandro Chaskielberg (Photographer), Ihiro Hayami (Director of Tokyo Institute of Photography), and Sarah Leen (Director of Photography at National Geographic) will award a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize worth £7,000, £3,000, and £1,000 respectively. The New Generation Prize, to be juried by Poulomi Basu (Photographer, Activist, and Co-Founder of JAPF), Kate Bubacz (Senior Photo Editor at Buzzfeed News), Alejandro Kirchuk (Curator at PHmuseum and Photographer), and Fiona Rogers (Global Business Development Manager at Magnum Photos), this year comes with a monetary endowment of £1000 and a mentorship program with Maggie Steber.

Each of the four winners will also have their work published on World Press Photo’s Witness, projected at Just Another Photo Festival, and promoted through the various PHmuseum channels. Additionally, Arianna Rinaldo – the Artistic Director of leading photo festival, Cortona On The Move – will select a project from among the finalists that will be granted a solo show at the festival in 2017. The prize includes travel expenses, accommodation, and promotion through Cortona OTM channels.

Submissions open on December 12th. Deadline: February 13th. Fee: £20-30. Apply at

World Press Photo Contest

© Warren Richardson. (World Press Photo of the Year 2015 winner)

The annual World Press Photo Contest rewards photographers for the best single image exposures that have contributed significantly to visual journalism over the past year. “Whether entered as singles or stories, these pictures are judged in terms of their accurate, fair, and visually compelling insights about our world” say the organizers.

The awards are divided into eight categories: Contemporary Issues, Daily Life, General News, Long-­Term Projects, Nature, People, Sports, and Spot News. The judging is done by four specialist juries, the chairs of which are Stuart Franklin (Magnum Photos photographer), Kelli Reed Grant (Photography Director at Yahoo News), Christian Ziegler (Photographer), and Wim van Sinderen (Senior Curator at The Hague Museum of Photography). Other jury members include Yumi Goto (Independent Photography Curator), Kira Pollack (Director of Photography and Visual Enterprise at Time), Helen Gilks (Managing Director at Nature Picture Library) and Susan White (Photography Director at Vanity Fair).

All the prize-winning photographers will take part in a travelling exhibition that takes in 45 countries and is seen by over 4 million people every year. Each of the winners will also be included in the collectible WPP yearbook and invited to Amsterdam in April 2017 for the World Press Photo Festival of Visual Journalism.

All entrants must register on the contest website by January 6th. The awards close for entries on January 11th. To apply, go to

World Press Photo Digital Storytelling Contest

© Paolo Pellegrin. (World Press Photo Immersive Storytelling First Prize 2016)

The World Press Photo Digital Storytelling Contest is open to digital storytellers, visual journalists, producers, and entry coordinators from around the world. “Digital technologies and the spread of the internet have transformed how we produce and consume stories” say the WPP Foundation. This competition is aimed at those producing compelling visual journalism that is made possible through these changes.

The contest is split into four categories: Short Form, Long Form, Immersive Storytelling, and Innovative Storytelling. DJ Clark (Multimedia Producer at China Daily), Liza Faktor (Producer and Co-founder of Screen), Katerina Cizek (Artistic Director at MIT Open Documentary Lab), and Alexandre Brachet (Producer at UPIAN) are the chairs of this year’s four juries.

Each of the category winners will be invited to the World Press Photo Festival of Visual Journalism this coming April and a representative from the winning productions will have their travel and accommodation paid for by the WPP Foundation.

Contest website closes for entries on January 6th. To apply, visit

Viewbook Visual Storytelling Grant

© Sarker Protick (Viewbook Visual Storytelling Grant jury member)

The Viewbook Visual Storytelling Grant is a new competition designed to help photographers explore compelling paths in visual storytelling and pursue innovative ways in which they can expose their work to a broader audience. “The goal is to support thoughtful photography/visual storytelling projects that make us reflect on our world, our ethics, beliefs and behavior.” PHmuseum founder, Giuseppe Oliverio will be on the judging panel, and he will be accompanied by Arianna Rinaldo (artistic director of Cortona On The Move); Donald Weber (photographer and educator); Sarker Protick (member at VII Photo); and Tanya Habjouqa (documentary photographer). The award is open to photographers, groups of photographers, and visual artist(s), and comes with a monetary prize of $5000 to cover a maximum of 50% of their proposed project costs. The jury members will be looking for work that demonstrates a unique inventiveness, involves community participation, and focuses on the theme of ‘transformations in photography.’ 

Deadline to apply: December 31st. Free entry. For further information, visit


© Paolo Marchetti, from the series The Price of Vanity. Winner of the 2016 POYi Photographer of the Year award

Pictures of the Year International is the oldest and one of the most illustrious photography competitions in the world. It is a contest that “recognizes excellence in photojournalism, multimedia, and visual editing” say the organizers. “POY believes it is critical for citizens to experience your documentation of the news events and social issues facing our world. When you enter Pictures of the Year International, your work reaches out to citizens worldwide and becomes a part of visual history” they add.

There are 40 categories in which photographers can enter their work, the premier of which include Photographer of the Year, Newspaper Photographer of the Year, Sports Photographer of the Year, Multimedia Photographer of the Year, Environmental Vision Award, Community Awareness Award, World Understanding Award, Documentary Project of the Year, Best Photography Book, and the Angus McDougall Overall Excellence in Editing Award.

Each registration is $50. Photographers may enter a maximum of 15 submissions in any combination of categories. Deadline for entries: January 12th. Go to to learn more.

Sony World Photography Awards

© Asghar Khamseh, from the series Fire of Hatred. 2016 L’Iris d’Or Winner, Sony World Photography Awards

Celebrating their 10th anniversary this year, the Sony World Photography Awards are dedicated to showcasing the best photography from around the world over the past 12 months. “Free to enter and open to all photographers, the awards’ are an authoritative voice in the photographic industry, with the power to shape the careers of its winning, shortlisted and commended photographers” declare the World Photography Organisation.

The awards are comprised of four contests:  Professional, Open, Youth, and Student Focus. The Professional competition is much revered and every year it draws a variety of inspiring and engaging photography from around the globe. The pinnacle of these awards is the title Photographer of the Year, selected from among all the first place winners of the individual categories, and it comes with a monetary endowment of $25,000. The 2017 jury features Zelda Cheatle (Photography Consultant and Curator); Allegra Cordero di Montezemolo (Curator and Head of Exhibitions, Centro de la Imagen); Russ O'Connell (Picture Editor, The Sunday Times Magazine); Aida Muluneh (Founder/Director, Addis Foto Fest); Denis Curti (Creative Director, Tre Oci Foundation) and Francoise Callier (Program Director at Angkor Photo Festival & Workshops).

The Youth and Open contests close on January 5th while submissions for the Professional award are open until January 10th. Entry is free. Visit for further information.

Aperture Portfolio Prize

© Eli Durst, from the series In Asmara (2016 Aperture Portfolio Prize winner)

The Aperture Portfolio Prize is an international competition that aims to identify high-quality work by new voices in contemporary photography. A jury composed of Aperture’s editorial and curatorial staff will be looking for “innovative bodies of work that haven’t been widely seen in major publications or exhibition venues.”

The winner will receive a $3,000 cash prize together with an exhibition at the Aperture Gallery and Bookstore in New York. Submissions are open until January 25 th at 12 noon EST. Learn more at

2017 Voies Off Prize

© Daesung Lee, from the series Futuristic Archaeology (2016 Voies Off Prize winner)

Running in conjunction with Rencontres d’Arles every year, Voies Off Festival presents a series of exhibitions, projections, and panel discussions designed to promote and disseminate the work of emerging talents. The Voies Off competitions, now in their 22nd year, are an important part of this program, offering a new generation of image-makers an opportunity to gain exposure to curators, gallery owners, fine art photography dealers, press, and editors.

60 photographers will be chosen by an international committee to show their work during the festival’s nightly screening sessions. From this selection, a jury comprised of industry professionals will choose the winners of The Voies Off Award, which comes with a €5,000 monetary endowment; The SAIF Discovery Award, a prize worth €2,500; and the Award, the recipient of which will be granted the publication of a portfolio on the website. 

Deadline: December 20th. Free entry. Apply at

Flash Forward 2017

© Jake Naughton, from the series Dual Shadows (2016 Flash Forward Emerging Photographers Grant winner)

The Flash Forward competition, organized by The Magenta Foundation, is committed to supporting young artists. A monetary prize of $8,000 will be given to the 2017 ‘Bright Spark’, an emerging photographer “whose submitted body of work is identified by the jury as being extraordinarily accomplished.” The second place winner will receive $2000. Additionally, a Flash Forward Emerging Photographer Project Grant worth $10,000 will be awarded to a photographer who needs funding to continue working on a long-term project in progress.

Genevieve Fussell (Senior Photo Editor, The New Yorker), Amy K Pereira (Director of Photography, MSNBC), Kerri MacDonald (Social Photo Editor, The New York Times), Dan Gaba (Photo Editor, The Wall Street Journal), and Azu Nwagbogu (Director, Lagos Photo Festival) are among the list of international jurors. The contest is open to all photographers working in Canada, the UK, and the US, and applicants must be 34 years-of-age or younger as of December 31st, 2016. All types of photography – documentary, photojournalism, fine art, digital, and mixed media, are welcome.

Deadline: December 31st. Entry fees - Canada: CAD$50, UK: £30, US: US$50. To apply, go to The Magenta Foundation website.


Every month we curate a list of what is coming up in the world of photography awards. Aimed at early, mid-career, and professional photographers, this list offers details of the most exciting opportunities. To stay up to date, subscribe to our newsletter by registering your email address in the space at the bottom of this page.

Written by

Simon Hall

Reading time

12 minutes

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