02 January 2019

January's Photography Grants and Awards

02 January 2019 - Written by Simon Hall

The seventh annual PHmuseum Photography Grant, Obscura Festival of Photography Open Call, and FotoEvidence W Award are all welcoming submissions this January. Learn all about them and how they can help support the production and dissemination of your work.

PHmuseum 2019 Photography Grant / Opens: 15 January / Early Bird Deadline: 31 January; Final Deadline: 21 February / Entry fee: £20 - £30

© Giulio Di Sturco, from the series, Aerotropolis, The Way We Will Live Next (2018 Main Prize Honorable Mention)

The PHmuseum Photography Grant is an annual initiative that recognises the importance of visual storytelling. Moving into its seventh 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 totalling £15,000, while all the shortlisted works will be showcased in projections at Just Another Photo Festival (India), Cortona On The Move (Italy), and OBSCURA Festival of Photography (Malaysia). In other prizes, the Cortona On The Move curatorial team will also select one photographer to be granted a space on a workshop during its 2019 edition in July; one project will be awarded a solo show at PhEST, the winner of which will be chosen by the festival’s Artistic Director, Giovanni Troilo, and Photography Director, Arianna Rinaldo; and PHmuseum Director, Giuseppe Oliverio and PHmuseum Curator, Rocco Venezia will select three works to be featured on World Press Photo’s online publication, Witness. The New Generation Prize, dedicated solely to photographers under 30 years of age, will also include a mentorship program 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 Louise Fedotov-Clements (Artistic Director QUAD & Director FORMAT International Photography Festival), Maryanne Golon (Director of Photography, Washington Post), Max Pinckers (Photographer), and Thyago Nogueira (Head of the Contemporary Photography Department at Instituto Moreira Salles, editor of ZUM Magazine). 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 £30 per submission, yet applicants can take advantage of the £20 Early Bird fee if they apply before 31 January. The Grant opens on 15 January and the final deadline is set for 21 February. Learn more at

OBSCURA Festival of Photography Open Call / Deadline: 28 February / No entry fee

© Ksenia Kuleshova, from the series, Abkhazia (2018 Obscura Festival exhibitor)

OBSCURA Festival of Photography (Penang, Malaysia) is inviting all photographers, editors, cultural practitioners, and academics to submit works to be exhibited at the seventh edition of the festival in August 2019. Entries must be centred around the concept of Subculture as the OBSCURA curatorial team looks to celebrate the important role the photographic medium has played in the understanding of human existence and the psyche. “As globalisation allows the cross-pollination of ideas, values and practices across the globe, so too have societies adapted and assimilated in return, creating new subcultures that can wildly diverge from its origin” they write. “This year, OBSCURA Festival celebrates the various subcultures around the world, and examines their impact, role and influence on society today.”

Through a series of photography exhibitions and public engagement initiatives, OBSCURA Festival aims to bring awareness to a number of contemporary issues happening worldwide in the hopes of fostering a mature, thoughtful and critical photographic community who will form the catalyst in creating a similarly robust society. A broad range of photographic submissions are welcomed including works made through the process of art, social-sciences, journalism, scientific inquiry, history, surveillance, and any other practice that uses the visual medium as an investigative and contemplative tool. Deadline: 28 February. More information can be found at

FotoEvidence W Award / Deadline: 15 February / Entry fee: free to submit with a suggested donation of US$20

© Danielle Villasana, from the series, A Light Inside (2018 FotoEvidence Book Award with World Press Photo finalist)

FotoEvidence Women is a new chapter of FotoEvidence Press; a space for free expression dedicated to engaged women photographers looking to publish and disseminate their stories in the form of a photobook. Through their lenses, women can shape the world differently, and this award gives them that chance. “During the past nine years, FotoEvidence has published 22 books to draw attention to human rights violations, oppression and assaults on human dignity wherever they may occur” says Svetlana Bachevanova, the publisher and co-founder of FotoEvidence. “At this moment, women around the world are seeking equal rights and equal opportunity. FotoEvidence Women will support this global movement” she adds.

Open to all adult women photographers and photographer collectives, entries must be based on long-term projects and should reflect upon the personal experience of the photographer. One winner will be selected by a judging committee that includes Maral Deghati (Photo Editor and Educator), Yumi Goto (Independent Photography Curator), Maggie Steber (Documentary photographer and Educator), Shamila N. Chaudhary (Foreign Policy Analyst and Writer), Daniella Zalcman (Founder of Women Photograph), and PHmuseum contributing writer, Veronica Sanchis. Applicants are invited to submit 15 photographs with captions and a statement of up to 250 words detailing the project and the vision for the book. Entry is free but FotoEvidence suggest a donation of US$20. Deadline: 15 February. For more information, visit

Pictures of the Year International / Deadline: 14 January / Entry fee: US$50

© Adam Ferguson, from the series, Through the Outback (2017 Poyi Photographer of the Year)

Celebrating its 76th edition this year, Pictures of the Year International is the oldest and one of the most renowned photography competitions in the world, building its reputation on recognising excellence in documentary photography and photojournalism, within still photography, motion photojournalism (videography) and visual editing in both print and online formats. “POY believes it is critical for people to experience coverage of news events and social issues facing our world” write the contest organisers at the Missouri School of Journalism. “When you enter Pictures of the Year, your work is recognised worldwide and becomes part of our collective visual history.”

Photographers can enter their work into 40 different categories, some of the most important of which include: Photographer of the Year (open to independent, freelance, self-employed, agency, wire service, or newspaper photographers); Photography Book of the Year (for book entries produced in a documentary vein published within the last three years); Angus McDougall Overall Excellence in Editing Award (recognising a publication's team of visual editors in both print and online presentations), Documentary Project of the Year (dedicated to teams or individuals that best utilise online multimedia components to investigate or explore social, economic, or political issues), and the World Understanding Award (rewarding a photographer’s long-term story, project, or essay that focuses on the human condition and portrays a sense of justice or insight into difficult problems).

All of the photographs entered must have been taken or published for the first time, either in print or online, between 1 January and 31 December 2018. Each registration is US$50. Deadline: 14 January. Go to to learn more.

Head On Photo Awards / Deadline: 3 February / Entry fee: AUD$1 - AUD$30

© Javier Arcenillas, from the series, Citizens of Despair (2018 Head On Photo Awards shortlistee)

Head On Photo Festival (Sydney, Australia), one of the world’s leading events on the photography calendar, is calling photographers worldwide to submit their work to the 2019 Head On Photo Awards. The contest, established back in 2004, aims to represent a global selection of the best work from both emerging and established photographers across four categories, namely Portrait, Landscape, Mobile and Student. Judging is done anonymously to ensure each work is awarded solely on its merit rather than the celebrity of the photographer.

The judging panel this year is comprised of leaders in the Australian and international photography communities and features Genevieve Fussell (Picture Editor, The New Yorker), Lucy Pike (Picture Editor, WeTransfer), Enrico Stefanelli (Festival Director, PhotoLux Festival), Lydia Dorner (Assistant Curator, Musée de l’Elysée), Arianna Rinaldo (Artistic Director, Cortona On The Move), David Alan Harvey (Magnum Photos Photographer), and Moshe Rosenzveig (Creative Director, Head On Photo Festival). Three winners per category will win prizes from a total pool worth over AUD$60,000 including $22,500 in cash and a selection of digital imaging equipment from Fujifilm, Sony, and Adobe. All finalists will be showcased in a fully produced exhibition – with all costs covered – and tour in a travelling show to other international festivals around the world. The entry fee is AUD$30 for the Portrait, Landscape and Mobile categories, and AUD$1 for the Student prize. Member discounts apply. The submission deadline is 3 February. For more information, go to

CENTER Grants / Deadline: 20 February / Entry fee: US$30 - US$45

© Tamara Reynolds, from the series, The Drake (2018 Project Launch winner)

The not-for-profit cultural platform, CENTER (based in New Mexico, United States) is currently accepting submissions for three of its annual initiatives that together aim to support photographers in furthering their careers through monetary awards and exhibition opportunities.

The first – the Project Development Grant – is an international competition open to photojournalists, fine art, or documentary photographers looking for funding to continue working on projects that are in progress. The applicants should be at a place in their work and career where they can benefit from the exposure, networks, and opportunities that CENTER offers. The juror is Lucy Gallun (Associate Curator, Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art, New York).

The second contest – the Project Launch Grant – is awarded to a photographer for a completed body of work, or an ongoing project already considered a cohesive visual story. Virginia Heckert (Curator, Department of Photographs, The J. Paul Getty Museum) will select the winner. The third – the newly launched Me&Eve Award – looks to recognise a female, transgender, or non-binary photographer who is using their camera to address issues relating to social justice. The sole judge is Kathy Ryan (Director of Photography, The New York Times Magazine)

The awards package for each Grant includes a US$5,000 cash endowment, complimentary participation in Review Santa Fe, a special invitation to participate in the Art Photo Index, a Lenscratch feature, and an online exhibition at The application fees range from US$30 to US$45 depending on the Grant and membership status (the prices will go up from 29 January to 20 February). Learn more at



World Press Photo Contest / Deadline: 8 January / No entry fee

The annual World Press Photo Contest rewards photographers for the best images that have contributed significantly to visual journalism over the past 12 months. Whether entered as singles or stories, the pictures are judged in terms of their accurate, fair, and visually compelling insights about our world. Photographers are invited to submit work into eight different categories, namely Contemporary Issues, General News, Long-Term Projects, Nature, Portraits, Sports, Spot News, and the Environment. All the contest winners will share a prize pot totalling more than €130,000 in value.


World Press Photo Digital Storytelling Contest / Deadline: 8 January / No entry fee

The World Press Photo Foundation launched its Multimedia Contest in 2011, renamed the Digital Storytelling Contest in 2016, as a way to recognise the best forms of visual journalism enabled by the transformations of digital technologies and the changing media economy. The competition is open to digital image-makers, photojournalists, producers, and entry coordinators with submissions that include the work of a professional visual journalist. The WPPh Foundation will award a World Press Photo Interactive of the Year and a World Press Photo Online Video of the Year prize, both of which carry a cash prize of €10,000.


Portrait of Humanity Exhibition / Deadline: 8 January / Entry fee: $15 - $35

Portrait of Humanity is a new global initiative by 1854 Media, publisher of the British Journal of Photography, in partnership with Magnum Photos. Photographers of any level and nationality are invited to submit work that showcases the world through their eyes; capturing the many faces of humanity, and documenting the universal expressions of life; laughter, courage, moments of reflection, journeys to work, first hellos, last goodbyes, and everything in between. One overall winner will be granted a monetary endowment of $5,000


Sony World Photography Awards / Deadline: 11 January / No entry fee

Free to enter and open to all photographers, the Sony World Photography Awards are an influential voice in the photographic industry, offering its winning, shortlisted, and commended photographers exposure to many of the leading names and institutions in the field. A total prize fund of US$30,000 plus the latest Sony digital imaging equipment will be shared between the winners.


Aperture Portfolio Prize / Deadline: 23 January / No entry fee

The Aperture Portfolio Prize is an international competition that aims to identify trends in contemporary photography and highlight artists whose work deserves greater recognition. The jury this year – comprised of Aperture’s editorial and curatorial staff – will be specifically looking for bodies of work that have yet to be seen in major publications or exhibition venues. The first prize winner will be published in Aperture magazine, receive a $3,000 cash prize, and be granted an exhibition in New York.


Magnum Photos Submission / Deadline: 31 January / 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 photographic projects (maximum three) before 31 January for consideration.


Istanbul Photo Awards / Deadline: 31 January / No entry fee

Organised by Anadolu Photo Agency, the Istanbul Photo Awards aim to contribute to the sphere of news photography and offer a perspective on the world shaped by Turkey’s unique position at the centre of diverse cultures. Award winning photographs will be published in a photobook and will be displayed in numerous galleries in cities including Istanbul, Shanghai, New York, Vienna and Moscow.


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

15 minutes

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