06 February 2020

February's Photography Grants and Awards

06 February 2020 - Written by Simon Hall

In our curated awards guide this month, we feature the Getxophoto International Image Festival Open Call, W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography, and our own 2020 Photography Grant. Learn how they can support the development of your work and career.

PHmuseum 2020 Photography Grant / Deadline: 20 February / Entry fee: £30

© Fernando Montiel Klint, from the series Dystopia. PHmuseum 2019 Photography Grant 3rd Prize winner

The PHmuseum Photography Grant is an annual initiative that recognises the importance of visual storytelling. Moving into its eight edition this year, the Grant is designed to support the production and promotion of compelling photographic projects through monetary prizes and various opportunities across international festivals and online media. This year, four winners will share cash awards totaling £12,000 and all the shortlisted works will be showcased in projections at Lagos Photo Festival (Nigeria), Verzasca FOTO (Switzerland), and Jakarta International Photo Festival (Indonesia). A separate projection of all the winners and honorable mention awardees will be presented at Cortona On The Move (Italy).

In other prizes, the curatorial teams at PHest (Italy) and Getxophoto (Spain) will each select one work to be granted solo shows at their respective festivals upcoming in 2020; our founder Giuseppe Oliverio and curator Rocco Venezia will select three series to be published on World Press Photo’s online publication Witness; and one photographer will be granted an exhibition at PHmuseum Lab in Bologna which is set to open later this year. The New Generation Prize, dedicated solely to photographers under 30 years of age, will also include a consultancy session with an expert from the PHmuseum educational program. All the winners, honorable mention awardees, and several selected submissions will also be promoted on the PHmuseum channels throughout the year.

The submissions will be reviewed by an independent jury comprised of Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger (Professor at University of Arts Helsinki), Azu Nwagbogu (Director, AAF and Lagos Photo), Roderick van der Lee (Fair Director Of Photo London), and Tanya Habjouqa (Photographer and Member of Noor). Photographers are invited to enter one, or multiple, series centred around a specific theme, narrative, or concept, and at least four images must have been shot after 1 January 2016. The entry fee is £35 per submission and the final deadline is set for 20 February. Learn more at

Getxophoto International Image Festival Open Call / Deadline: 16 February / No entry fee

© Federico Estol, from the series Shine Heroes. 2019 Open Call winner

Getxophoto, the thematic festival held in the Basque Country, Spain, is inviting visual artists from all over the world to share their vision about the proposed theme of the upcoming edition: To the Streets. “The street has taken on a fundamental role in the contemporary global society” write the curators. “The public space – both physical and online – lives in constant resistance to its privatisation and homogenisation by trying to maintain a place where to meet, play, propose, protest and debate ideas that respond to the multiple challenges and concerns we face today. Communities displaced by key issues such as the consequences of climate emergency, local and global political conflicts, economic crisis’ and identity struggles coincide in the public space. At the same time, the streets are claimed as the essential place to generate new relationships and provoke new cultural and social possibilities.”

The independent judging panel will be looking for applications that explore this online and physical public space as an updated place of protest, as an area to be reclaimed by marginalised people, as a place of encounter and mutual recognition, and as a field for experimentation, play and celebration. Mirjam Kooiman (Art Historian and curator at FOAM), Sarah Leen (Director of Photography at National Geographic Magazine), Emma Lewis (Assistant Curator at TATE), and Jon Uriarte (Artistic director of Getxophoto and digital curator at The Photographers’ Gallery) are the jury members. At least three winners will be granted a solo exhibition at Getxophoto 2020 (2 – 27 September), a €400 artist fee, and a spot in the festival’s official program and book. The application deadline is 16 February. Further information can be found at

W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography / Deadline: 30 April / Entry fee: US$50

© Yael Martinez, from the series The House That Bleeds. 2019 W. Eugene Smith Grant recipient

The W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography is presented annually to a photographer whose past work and proposed project, as judged by a panel of experts, follows the tradition of W. Eugene Smith’s concerned photography evidenced during his 45-year career as a photographic essayist. This Grant is designed to help a photographer either begin or complete a documentary-style visual story. The judges (soon to be appointed) will be looking for a photographer 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.

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. For 2020, the amount of the Grant will be US$40,000. 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 30 April. Go to to find out more.

Prix Virginia / Deadline: 7 May / No entry fee

© Cig Harvey, from the series You an Orchestra You a Bomb. 2018 Prix Virginia winner

Prix Virginia, awarded by the Sylvia S. Association, is open to all women photographers without regard to their nationality or the subject matter of their work. Applicants must enter a body of work which they consider complete as the prize is not intended to finance the completion or the exhibition of a body of photographic work. Projects produced for commercial advertising or as an editorial assignment for an article will not be accepted and photos submitted to Prix Virginia should not have been showcased in France.

A jury comprised of eight recognised specialists in the field of visual arts will deliberate and select the winner who will receive a €10,000 monetary prize. The Sylvia S. Association will also grant a Carte blanche for a Portrait de Ville edited by Be-Pôles editions for the winner or one of the 10 shortlisted photographers, and Filigranes editions will publish a book of the winner’s photographs and the 10 shortlisted photographers. To enter, applicants should send a complete curriculum vitae, a cohesive body of work featuring 12 to 18 images, and a short letter outlining the artistic and creative dimensions of the work submitted. The deadline to apply is 7 May. Go to to find out more.

Verzasca FOTO Festival Award / Deadline: 29 February / Entry fee: CHF25

© Ana Zibelnik, from the series We are the Ones Turning. 2019 Verzasca FOTO Festival Award winner

Verzasca FOTO Festival is calling all visual storytellers to submit their projects for exhibitions and screenings at this year’s festival, set to take place from 3 to 6 September in Sonogno, Switzerland. 10 photographers will be granted space in a special projection during the festival’s Photo Night and one overall winner will receive a cash prize of CHF2,000 and a dedicated solo show.

All the submissions will be reviewed by an independent jury comprised of Michael Hiltbrunner (Curator, lecturer, and researcher), Evelien Kunst (Freelance professional photography and media consultant), Nuno Ricou Salgado (Parallel Artistic Director), Alessia Locatelli (Independent curator and art director), and Rocco Venezia (our very own curator and independent photographer). The choice of theme is free for applicants, but all entries must feature between 3 and 10 images from a personal photo story. The deadline is 29 February and the participation fee is CHF25. To find out more about the submission conditions and the judges, visit



Head On Photo Awards / Deadline: 16 February / Entry fee: AUD$1 - AUD$30

Head On Photo Festival (Sydney, Australia) is calling photographers worldwide to submit their work to the 2020 Head On Photo Awards. The contest seeks to represent a global selection of the best work from both emerging and established photographers. Three winners in each of the three categories - namely Portrait, Landscape, and Student - will win a share of the AUD$30,500 cash prize pool and selection of digital imaging equipment from Fujifilm, Sony, and Adobe.


CENTER Grants / Deadlines: 25 February / Entry fee: US$30 - US$45

The not-for-profit cultural platform CENTER (based in New Mexico, United States) is currently accepting submissions for six of its annual initiatives that together aim to support photographers in furthering their careers through monetary awards and exhibition opportunities. The highlights include a $5,000 Project Development Grant designed to support a fine art or documentary work in progress and the $5,000 me&EVE Award for a female photographer addressing social justice.


The CDS Documentary Essay Prize / Deadline: 1 March / Entry fee: US$40

The CDS Documentary Essay Prize honors the best in short-form documentary photography with a focus on current or recently completed work. One winner will receive a US$3,000 monetary prize, features in the Center for Documentary Studies digital publications, and a place in the Archive of Documentary Arts at the Rubenstein Library, Duke University.


Prix Elysée / Deadline: 9 March / No entry fee

Organised by Musée de l’Elysée, the Prix Elysée is open to promising photographers or artists using photography who have already enjoyed their first exhibitions and publications. Photographers must be recommended by a reputed professional in the fields of photography, contemporary art, cinema, fashion, journalism, or publishing. There is no imposed theme or preference for any particular photographic genre or technique. The winner will receive CHF80,000 to be divided between the completion of the proposed project and the publication of an accompanying book within one year.


Foam Talent Call / Deadline: 24 March / Entry fee: €35

The Foam Talent Call is an international competition for photographers between the ages of 18 and 35, acting as a platform that helps emerging talents earn global recognition and exposure to industry leaders. Selected photographers will receive a number of career-building opportunities, including publication in Foam Magazine, participation in a travelling group exhibition that has previously toured Amsterdam, London, New York, and Paris, and a place in the prestigious art collection of Deutsche Börse.


Landskrona Foto & Breadfield Dummy Award 2020 / Deadline: 15 April / €30

The Landskrona Foto Dummy Award will grant one winner the opportunity to have their project published by Breadfield Press and Landskrona Foto during 2021. The prize includes all expenses for book production such as design, printing and distribution, and the photographer will also receive a large number of books to distribute and sell. The winner will be invited to Landskrona Foto Festival 2020 to receive the award. Simply by entering for the contest, photographers will also be part of a slide show that will be screened during the Photobook days section of the festival.


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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