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12 February 2021

February's Photography Awards and Opportunities

12 February 2021 - Written by Simon Hall

In our curated awards guide this month, we feature the Photo Is:rael International Photomarathon, Images Vevey Awards, BUP Book Award, and our own 2021 Photography Grant. Learn how they can support the development of your work and career.

PHmuseum 2021 Photography Grant / Deadline: 18 February / Entry fee: $40

© Jordan Putt

The PHmuseum Photography Grant is an annual initiative that recognises the importance of visual storytelling. Celebrating its ninth 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. Four winners will share cash awards totaling $14,000 and their winning series will be showcased in projections at Lagos Photo Festival (Nigeria), Verzasca Photo (Switzerland), and Jakarta International Photo Festival (Indonesia), together with the works of the honourable mention awardees and shortlisted artists.

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 2021 and our own curatorial team will choose one photographer to be awarded a solo show at PHmuseum Lab in Bologna (Italy). A further six applicants will also be granted portfolio review sessions with a mentor of their choice from the PHmuseum Education program, and, for the first time, the director of Landskrona Foto (Sweden) Jenny Nordquist will handpick one artist to receive a bursary for participation in the Landskrona Foto Residency program. The winners, honorable mention awardees, and several selected submissions will be promoted on the PHmuseum channels throughout the year.

All entries will be reviewed by an independent jury comprised of Michael Famighetti (Editor of Aperture Magazine), Renée Mussai (Senior Curator and Head of Curatorial & Collections at Autograph, London), Trent Parke (Photographer and Member of Magnum Photos), and Julieta Escardó (Photographer, Editor, and Educator). Photographers are invited to enter one, or multiple, cohesive series featuring between five and 20 images. The theme is open, and all photographic approaches are welcomed. The entry fee is $40 per submission. The final deadline is set for 18 February. Apply now at phmuseum.com/grant.


Photo Is:rael International Photomarathon / Deadline: 15 February / Entry fee: $15

© Maria Oliveira

Photo Is:rael is calling all photographers, designers, artists, and creators from all fields who use the language of photography as their tool to engage in a creative and inspiring 24-hour exploration of various aspects related to the theme, Chaos. “Chaos represents opportunity, a way of contending with the uncertainty and ambiguity of a time and a world that is constantly changing”, writes juror Inbal Arieli, a serial entrepreneur and tech influencer. “We invite you to embrace the chaos of our times and think of it as an engine for innovative, independent creation, a path to the re-examination of our basic assumptions and an avenue for creating work which embodies flexibility, inventiveness, ingenuity, and personal and professional development.”

Over the course of 24 hours, registered participants will receive six secret photography challenges based on the principles of Embrace Uncertainty, Dare to Fail, Challenge the Obvious, Ask Questions, Collaborate, and Make It Happen. Once a submission for one challenge has been uploaded, the next one will appear. Participants can decide how much time they allocate to each challenge, yet all six challenges must be completed within the designated time period.

A panel of experts in the field of photography and innovation will review the submissions and select 20 winners whose work will be featured in a travelling exhibition that will launch at London Street Photography Festival, before moving on to Barcu Photography Festival in Bogotá, Colombia, with a final stop at the ninth International Photography Festival in Tel-Aviv. Other prizes include online courses with world-class instructors from Magnum Photos, a mentoring program with Canon Ambassador Guia Besana, a feature in Daylight digital magazine, a private portfolio review session with our own Rocco Venezia, and one-on-one sessions with photographer Michael Itkoff and Lodz Fotofestiwal curator Krzysztof Candrowicz.

The marathon will launch online on 16 February, at 5:00 pm (GMT+2) and each participant will be charged a US$15 registration fee. Further information can be found at photoisrael.org/international_marathon.


Spring 2021 Magnum Foundation Fellowship / Deadline: 25 February / No entry fee

© Rola Khayyat, 2020 Magnum Foundation Fellow

The Magnum Foundation is currently accepting applications for the spring 2021 session of the Magnum Foundation Fellowship that offers mentorship and financial support to early-career practitioners at a point in their development that is critical to their evolution as photographers and storytellers. While the majority of fellows are recent graduations, submissions are welcomed from self-taught photographers and those of any age who are both producing impactful projects in New York City and have a genuine interest in nonprofit arts administration.

During the fellowship program, which runs for 12 weeks from the beginning of March through the end of May, fellows must produce an in-depth project grounded in New York City that demonstrates a commitment to social issues and community-based work. “Fellows will be encouraged to build relationships with their subjects in the field, build partnerships with relevant organisations, and experiment with new narrative forms and storytelling techniques” say the Foundation. “They will receive mentorship and project development support from Magnum staff and extended network throughout the duration of the fellowship.”

In addition to producing a body of work, fellows are expected to make significant contributions to the everyday work done at Magnum Foundation, including research on social issues, exploring emerging technologies and platforms, and multimedia and event production. Candidates should have expertise in at least one of the following areas: arts administration, research, writing, video production, or graphic design. Successful candidates will receive a stipend of US$500 per week (US$6,000 total). Entry is free. Applications are due 23 January. For more details, visit magnumfoundation.org.


Images Vevey Awards / Deadline: 28 February / Entry fee: €35 - €60

© Gloria Oyarzabal, 2019 Images Vevey Book Award winner

Visual arts platform Images Vevey invites visual artists from around the world to apply to their two annual open calls. The first – Grand Prix Images Vevey – is a CHF40,000 (approximately €35,000) creation-support Grant designed to empower one artist with the funding necessary to develop an original project over a year that will be presented at the next Festival Images Vevey. The competition represents unique support for contemporary creation, with complete freedom of choice over subject and genre.

The second contest – Images Vevey Book Award – supports the creation of a photobook project that showcases an optimal and original balance between publication format and photographic content. It comes with a monetary prize of CHF10,000 (approximately €9,000) that aims to encourage artists to take risks and to innovate in order for them to develop a suitable sophisticated publication format for their project.

The final juries for both competitions will each be composed of five international personalities from the institutional, artistic, curatorial media, and editorial industries. The final deadline for the two awards is 28 February. Go to images.ch to submit your applications.


BUP Book Award 2021 / Deadline: 28 February / Entry fee: €30

© Betty Bogaert, BUP Book Award 2020 shortlisted artist

Organised by the team at boutique publishing house BLOW UP PRESS, the BUP Book Award is a competition for all photographers around the world – regardless of age, gender, or nationality – the goal of which is to promote the photobook medium as an artistic expression. The contest is specifically looking to award unique photo/visual art projects – not dummy books – that are intended to be published in book format. The main prize includes book design by award-winning Polish book designer Aneta Kowalczyk; publication of the book by BLOW UP PRESS in a print run between 400 and 600; book distribution by BLOW UP PRESS and cooperating bookstores; book exhibition during the key photo book shows; and book submission to the most important competitions in the world.

The selection process will happen in two stages. First, a shortlist of 20 submissions will be drawn up by a judging panel featuring Andrea Copetti (founder and owner of the Tipi Bookshop), Gloria Oyarzabal (independent photographer), Danaé Panchaud (director and curator of the Photoforum Pasquart), Giuseppe Oliverio (director of PHmuseum), Hubert Humka (lecturer at the Łódź Film School’s Photography faculty), Daria Tuminas (independent researcher and curator), and Sebastian Hau (co-creator of the photobook fairs Cosmos and Polycopies). Thereafter, the winner will be chosen by BLOW UP PRESS editors and announced in mid-April. Applications should be comprised of 30 to 40 images and an accompanying written description in English no longer than 1,500 words. The deadline to apply is 28 February and there is a €30 entry fee. Find out more by visiting blowuppress.eu.


PhotoIreland Festival 2021 Call for Proposals / Deadline: 1 March / No entry fee

© Theo Ellison, 2020 PhotoIreland Festival exhibitor

PhotoIreland Festival invites national and international artists and practitioners, including writers, researchers, curators, emerging and established, to propose works to be part of PhotoIreland Festival 2021, joining invited practitioners. The 12th edition will take place in Dublin in July 2021, with exhibitions and events running throughout the month.

Submissions and proposals are invited on the general topic of Food and the Politics of Food. The points of investigation may include but are not limited to food and its industries: research, production, distribution, advertising, and consumption; the environmental impact of food; food histories and traditions; and the colonisation and decolonisation of food. Artistic and curatorial projects are welcomed from lens-based practitioners working within mixed media, moving image, as well as other experimental practices, as much as those with a formal and traditional approach. Performative pieces, those requiring screenings, event-based pieces, or other non-conventional exhibition presentations are also encouraged to be submitted. The festival curators are further interested in works created specifically for digital environments such as websites, social media, games, and other variations that propose experimental crossovers of methodologies and technologies.

PhotoIreland Festival will pay all appropriate artist fees and cover production costs and will work with their cultural partners and grant aiders to contribute to personal costs relating to travel, accommodation, and subsistence, whenever required. The deadline for submissions is midnight GMT, 1 March. No entry fees apply. Find out more at festival.photoireland.org.


Verzasca FOTO Festival Award / Deadline: 15 March / Entry fee: CHF25

© Uygar Onder Simsek, 2020 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 2 to 5 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 Natasha Christia (independent curator and educator), Melody Gygax (Swiss Agent of Magnum Photos), Federico Estol (Artistic Director of San José Foto Festival), Ann Griffin (independent graphic designer), and Alessia Locatelli (Artistic Director of Women Photography Biennial in Mantua). The choice of theme is free for applicants, but all entries must feature between three and 10 images from a personal photo story. The deadline is 15 March and the participation fee is CHF25. To find out more about the submission conditions and the judges, visit verzascafoto.com.

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OTHER DEADLINES:

MACK First Book Award / Deadline: 15 February / No entry fee

Established back in 2012, the MACK First Book Award is a publishing prize that aims to support emerging artists of all ages and nationalities looking to find a voice through book form. A shortlist of 10 submissions will be created by an independent jury, from which one winner will be selected and afforded the opportunity to collaborate with MACK in publishing their project. The members of the judging panel this year include Mariama Attah (Curator of Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool), Polly Fleury (Director of Special Projects at the Wilson Centre for Photography), Renée Mussai (Senior Curator and Head of Curatorial & Collections at Autograph, London), Eugenie Shinkle (Independent Photographer and Writer), and Clare Strand (Independent Artist).

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BarTur Photo Award / Deadline: 22 February / Entry fee: US$20

The BarTur Photo Award was established back in 2011 based on the goal of celebrating the immense power photography has on influencing the way that we understand and engage with the world around us. The contest this year will look to support visual storytellers whose work illuminates the three themes of Unity in Diversity, Climate Change, and Human Love. Winners across each category will receive a share of US$10,000 in cash awards and a whole host of other prizes including residency opportunities across four European cities, exhibitions in Copenhagen, Łódź, and Berlin (as part of Berlin Photo Week), portfolio reviews, and international press exposure.

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The Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest / Deadline: 28 February / No entry fee

Open solely to image-makers between the ages of 18 and 33, The Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest is dedicated to promoting young photographers and supporting them in their strive for professional perfection. This year’s competition will be divided into four categories for which young photographers can vie for awards, namely Top News (important events in the life of individuals and nations as a whole), Sports (victories of athletes and dramatic losses; daily sports training; the beauty of sports competitions), My Planet (reflecting the entire multicolored palette of topics and images from all over the world), and Portrait. A Hero of Our Time (individual or group portraits of people, either posed or documentary-based). Entries can contain a single photograph or a series of no more than 12 images. A host of cash prizes are on offer.

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Ampersand/Photoworks Fellowship Open Call / Deadline: 28 February / No entry fee

Photoworks has teamed up with The Ampersand Foundation to provide a transformative opportunity for a mid-career photographer living in the United Kingdom. This new fellowship aims to enable and nurture the creation of new work through a combination of support including a £15,000 award, mentoring and curatorial support, a dedicated public program, and digital content with international reach, production budget, and touring exhibition. The organisers are looking for projects that are already in the development phase and will benefit from financial resources and curatorial guidance. The awardee will be given approximately 12 months throughout 2021 to produce the project ready to be exhibited by Photoworks in 2022.

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Julia Margaret Cameron Award / Deadline: 28 February / Entry fee: US$60+

Moving into its 16th edition this year, the Julia Margaret Cameron Award is only open to women photographers worldwide, working in all mediums, styles, and schools of thought. The contest is divided into Professional and Non-Professional categories, which themselves are further split into 23 sub-categories. The two judges – Elisabeth Biondi (independent curator and a former editor at New Yorker) and Barbara Davidson (three-time Pulitzer Prize and Emmy award-winning photographer) – will together assign the main prizes, the highlight of which is a fully-paid solo show at FotoNostrum Gallery in Barcelona in late 2021.

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Magnum Photos Submission / Deadline: 28 February / No entry fee

Magnum Photos is a co-operative owned and run by its members/photographers. They meet once a year during the last weekend of June to discuss the organisation’s affairs and one day of the meeting is set aside for looking at and voting on potential new members' portfolios. Successful applicants will be invited to become a "Nominee Member", a category of membership that presents an opportunity for Magnum and the individual to “get to know each other”. Photographers are invited to submit at least two separate photographic projects (maximum three) with up to 50 images per project for consideration.

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

Written by

Simon Hall

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