07 December 2017

December's Grants and Awards

07 December 2017 - Written by Simon Hall

The 2018 World Press Photo Contest, IWMF’s Anja Niedringhaus Courage In Photojournalism Award, and Pictures of the Year International all feature in our curated selection of the most important awards open for submissions this December.

World Press Photo Contest // Deadline: 9 January

© Hossein Fatemi (2nd prize stores, Long-Term Projects, 2017 World Press Photo Contest)

The annual World Press Photo Contest rewards photographers for the best images 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 WPPh Foundation.

The awards are divided into eight categories, namely Contemporary Issues, General News, Long­Term Projects, Nature, People, Sports, Spot News, and Environment, which is new to the contest this year. The Daily Life category has been discontinued. The judging is done by four specialist juries, the chairs of which are Magdalena Herrera (Director of Photography, Geo France), Thomas Borberg (Photo-Editor-in-Chief, Politiken), Whitney C. Johnson (Deputy Director of Photography, National Geographic), and Jérôme Huffer (Head of Photo Department, Paris Match). Other jury members include Zohra Bensemra (Chief Photographer, NW Africa, Reuters), Laurence Tan (Assignment Editor, Getty Images), Britta Jaschinski (photographer and Co-Founder, Photographers Against Wildlife Crime), and Jon Jones (independent photography editor and curator).

The World Press Photo of the Year award carries a cash prize of €10,000, as well as return airfare and hotel accommodation for travel to Amsterdam during the World Press Photo Festival of Visual Journalism. All of the prize-winning photographs are also assembled into a year-long exhibition that opens in De Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam on 14 April, before travelling to 45 countries and 100 cities. All entrants must register on the contest website by 4 January (12 midday CET). The awards close for entries on 9 January (12 midday CET). To apply, go to

World Press Photo Digital Storytelling Contest // Deadline: 4 January

© Zackary Canepari, from the film, Claressa (1st prize Short Form, 2017 World Press Photo Digital Storytelling Contest)

Open to digital storytellers, visual journalists, producers, and entry coordinators from around the world, the World Press Photo Digital Storytelling Contest rewards those producing the best forms of visual journalism enabled by digital technologies and the spread of the internet.

The jury will award productions based on four defined categories: Immersive Storytelling, a visual story or project produced for the web in a form other than video that creates an immersive visual experience for the user; Innovative Storytelling, a visual story or project produced for the web, or as an app for a mobile device, which creates an innovative visual experience for the user; Long Form, a single linear narrative, or series of linear narratives, on a single topic, produced as a video for the web lasting no longer than 30 minutes; and Short Form, a single linear narrative, produced as a video for the web lasting no longer than 10 minutes. Nancy Donaldson Gauss (Executive Director for Video, The New York Times), Madi Ju (Head of Content, VICE China), Jonathan D. Woods (Executive Producer, TIME), Julie Winokur (Executive Director, Talking Eyes Media), Opeyemi Olukemi (Executive Producer, POV Digital), and Michael Tabb (video journalist, Quartz) are among the judges this year.

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 WPPh Foundation. Contest website closes for entries on 4 January (12 midday CET). To apply, go to

Pictures of the Year International // Deadline: 12 January

© Hashem Shakeri (World Understanding Award, 74th POYi)

Pictures of the Year International is the oldest and one of the most illustrious photography competitions in the world, recognising excellence in photojournalism, multimedia, and visual editing. “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” say the Missouri School of Journalism, the contest organisers.

This year there are 36 categories in which photographers and news organisations can enter their work, the most important of which include: Photographer of the Year, open to independent, freelance, self-employed, agency, wire service, or newspaper photographers; Newspaper Photographer of the Year, open only to photographers employed as staff members for a regularly published newspaper, either in print or online; Documentary Project of the Year, open to teams or individuals that best utilise online multimedia components to investigate or explore social, economic, or political issues; and the Angus McDougall Overall Excellence in Editing Award, which recognises a publication's team of visual editors in both print and online presentations.

Publication is not a requirement for entering photographs in any category. Photographs entered must have been taken or published for the first time between 1 January and 31 December, 2017. Each registration is $50. Deadline for entries: 12 January. Go to to learn more. 

IWMF's Anja Niedringhaus Courage In Photojournalism Award // Deadline: 19 January

© Stephanie Sinclair (2017 IWMF Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award winner)

The IWMF’s Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award was created to honour Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus, who was killed whilst on assignment in Afghanistan in 2014. It celebrates women photojournalists whose work inspires action and helps audiences better understand the world. “We believe that courage is reflected in everyday life, beyond the frontlines of conflict, and we seek candidates whose work reflects the values of Anja Niedringhaus through compassion, humanity, and a commitment to capturing the whole picture” say the IWMF. Entrants must be full-time female photojournalists of any nationality.

The jury line-up this year features Corinne Dufka (Associate Director, Human Rights Watch), Carol Guzy (Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer), Eman Mohammed (award-winning photojournalist and TED fellow), Robert Nickelsberg (award-winning photographer), Denis Paquin (Director of Photography, Associated Press), Bryan Monroe (independent editor), and Jenny Smets (Director of Photography, Vrij Nederland). The award includes a cash prize of US$20,000, and as part of the IWMF’s partnership with World Press Photo Foundation, the winner will be announced publicly and have her work showcased at the World Press Photo Festival of Visual Journalism in April 2018. To apply yourself or submit a nomination for someone else, visit the IWMF’s application page. The deadline for submissions is 19 January.

Flash Forward 2018 // Deadline: 15 January

© Charlie Shoemaker (Flash Forward 2015 winner)

A competition that was previously designed to support emerging photographers solely from Canada, the U.S. and the U.K., Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward book award is now open to all photographers around the world, 34 years-of-age or under.

As part of this new look, all-inclusive contest, the prizes include one large compendium of the 100 winners from the year with a special section on Indigenous Photographers, and four artist catalogues; one for each of the special interests relating to Racial Issues, Climate and the Environment, LGBTQ Issues, and Female-identifying Photographers. “With these book awards we hope to start conversations that promote awareness, engagement, education and acceptance worldwide. We want to create an expansive visual language base, supporting the work of artists who are doing all they can to make the world a better place while making sure we celebrate and showcase, emerging talent, in all forms” say the Magenta Foundation.

Sam Barzilay (Co-Founder, United Photo Industries and Photoville), Chloe Coleman (Photo Editor, The Washington Post), Dan Gaba (Photo Editor, The Wall Street Journal), Oliver Laurent (Photo Editor, The Washington Post), Arianna Rinaldo (Independent Photo Editor and Curator), Daniella Zalcman (Founder, Women Photograph), and Nicolas Janowski (Curator, PHmuseum) are among the international judging panel this year. All types of photography – documentary, photojournalism, fine art, digital, and mixed media, are eligible. The submission fee is US$25. Deadline: 15 January. For further information, visit

Aperture Portfolio Prize // 31 January

© Drew Nikonowicz (2015 Aperture Portfolio Prize winner)

The Aperture Portfolio Prize is an international competition that aims to identify trends in contemporary photography and highlight artists whose work deserves greater recognition. When choosing the first-prize winner and runners up, a jury comprised 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.” Chris Boot (Executive Director), Charlotte Chudy (Assistant Editor, Books), Michael Famighetti (Editor, Aperture Magazine), Amelia Lang (Associate Publisher, Books), Samantha Marlow (Associate Editor, Books), Lesley A. Martin (Creative Director), Brendan Wattenberg (Managing Editor, Aperture Magazine), and Denise Wolff (Senior Editor, Books) are among the judges.

The first-prize winner will be featured in Aperture Magazine and will receive a US$3,000 cash prize and an exhibition in New York. The winner and up to four runners-up will be featured in an online gallery on No entry fees. The submission deadline is 31 January. Learn more at



British Journal of Photography International Photography Award

Now in its 12th year, the British Journal of Photography International Photography Award has established itself as an important gateway into the photographic community. This year, one grand prize winner will be selected by a panel of industry experts to receive a solo showcase at TJ Boulting, an innovative gallery in the heart of London, plus a £5,000 production grant from the UK’s leading pro-lab, Metro Imaging. Deadline: 12 December.


Sony World Photography Awards

Free to enter and open to all photographers, the Sony World Photography Awards are an authoritative voice in the photographic industry, offering its winning, shortlisted, and commended photographers exposure to many of the industry’s leading names and institutions. A total prize fund of US$30,000 plus the latest Sony digital imaging equipment is shared between the winners. The contest deadlines are: Open and Youth, 4 JanuaryStudent Focus, 4 December; and Professional, 11 January.


MedPhoto Award

As part of the MedPhoto Festival, Greece, the MedPhoto Award aims to promote the work of emerging photographers. The €3,000 prize will be granted to one photography project, either completed or in-progress, by a jury comprised of David Campany (Photographer), Laura Serani (Curator), Julian Baron (Photographer), Aliki Tsirgialou (Director of Photography Archives, Benaki Museum), Yorgos Karailias (Photographer), and Marina Paulenka (Founder of Organ Vida Festival). Deadline: 10 December.


International Photographer of the Year

The International Photographer of the Year award supports artists in the development and dissemination of their work. All overall winners, category winners, and those who are commended will have their work showcased to a global audience by the IPOTY media partners. Two winners of the Professional Grand Prize and Amateur Grand Prize will receive US$2,500 and US$1,500 respectively. Deadline: 10 December.


FotoEvidence Book Award with World Press Photo

The annual FotoEvidence Book Award recognises one photographer demonstrating determination and bravery in the pursuit of social justice. The selected project is published as part of a FotoEvidence series of photobooks dedicated to the work of photographers, whose commitment and courage deliver painful truths, creating awareness of unacceptable violations of human dignity. Deadline: 15 December.


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

13 minutes

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