03 January 2017

January Awards Guide

03 January 2017 - Written by Simon Hall

January 2017 is packed full of exciting competitions – The PHmuseum 2017 Grant, World Press Photo Contests, Pictures of the Year International, Sony World Photography Awards, Aperture Portfolio Prize, Alexia Foundation Grants, and the DAYS JAPAN International Photojournalism Awards are all currently accepting submissions. Learn all about them here.

PHmuseum 2017 Grant

© Pietro Paolini, from the series Balance on the zero

The PHmuseum Grant is an annual international initiative designed to support photographers, promote their projects and further their careers.

In the 2017 edition Main Prize, a jury comprised of Sarah Leen (Director of Photography National Geographic Magazine and Partners), Emma Bowkett (Director of Photography at the Financial Times FT Weekend Magazine), Alejandro Chaskielberg (Photographer) and Ihiro Hayami (Director of Tokyo Institute of Photography) will award a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize worth £7,000, £3,000, and £1,000 and up to six honourable mentions. 

The New Generation Prize, for photographers under 25 years of age, to be juried by Poulomi Basu (Photographer and Director of Just Another Photo Festival), Kate Bubacz (Senior Photo Editor for BuzzFeed News), Alejandro Kirchuk (Visual Journalist and Senior Photo Editor at PHmuseum), and Fiona Rogers (Global Business Development Manager at Magnum Photos International), this year comes with £1000 in cash prizes and a mentorship program with Maggie Steber.

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

Less than two weeks to catch the Early Bird deadline: January 12th (Fee: £20). Final deadline: February 13th (Fee: £30). Apply at

World Press Photo 2017 Contest

© Daniel Berehulak (2016 World Press Photo winner; Daily Life, First Prize Stories)

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 2017 Digital Storytelling Contest

© Lynsey Addario (World Press Photo Innovative 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


© 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

© Kevin Frayer (2016 Sony World Photography Awards, Environment Category winner)

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. “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 10 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 today 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 25th at 12 noon EST. Learn more at

Alexia Foundation Grants

© Aaron Vincent Elkaim (2016 Alexia Foundation Professional Grant winner)

The Alexia Foundation Grants aim to support the work of professional still photographers and visual journalists who share the Foundation’s goal of promoting world peace and cultural understanding.

Professional Grant. Recipients are expected to produce “a substantial body of work on the project they’ve proposed – in the realm of one to three months of field time, depending on the project – within one year of signing the grant agreement.” Application material should include a proposal of maximum 3,500 characters, a resume, three references, and up to 20 still photographs. Submissions will be judged in two rounds – first by members of the Alexia Board and its Advisory Council, and then by a three member panel. The winner will pick up $20,000 for the production of the proposed project. $50 application fee. Deadline: January 31st.

Student Grant. This award is designed to enable current college student photographers the opportunity to produce a compelling body of work. “The Grant will go to those who clearly and concisely propose significant projects that share in the Foundation’s mission and who demonstrate the ability to accomplish their proposals by showing photographs of the highest caliber.” First place Undergraduate and Graduate winners will each receive a semester’s tuition at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a $1,000 cash endowment. Deadline: February 14th.

For further information, go to

DAYS JAPAN International Photojournalism Awards

© Yannis Behrakis (2016 DAYS JAPAN International Photojournalism Awards winner)

The DAYS JAPAN International Photojournalism Awards were launched back in 2004 in response to the demand for innovative reporting from conflicts around the world. The judging panel is particularly interesting in photographs and projects “asserting that the dignity of human beings and nature are being trampled upon, and advocating the dignity of humans and nature.”

All images must have been taken in the two-year period between January 2015 and December 2016. The first prize carries a monetary award of 1 million Japanese Yen (US$8,500). Entry is free. Deadline: January 15th. More information can be found at


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

11 minutes

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