15 February 2022
15 February 2022 - Written by Giuseppe Oliverio
Since 2012, our annual grant allows us to discover and promote the best contemporary photography. Here are the main reasons for which renowned artists and emerging authors trust our open call as a vehicle to grow their careers.
The PhMuseum Photography Grant is an annual initiative aimed at discovering, producing, and promoting the best in contemporary photography. Over the years it has grown into a leading prize and a reference for photo editors, curators, collectors, and those who are interested in visual art. What makes it so special and why is it worth the entry fee?
1. Reliability / There are many awards and opportunities out there, yet how many are serious and meaningful for your career? Our team works hard year after year to build a solid network, connect people and make things happen. Only 9 years after the first open call, we are proud to have recognised the work of photographers like Diana Markosian, Max Pinckers, Poulomi Basu, Tomas van Houtryve, Liza Ambrossio, Jacob Aue Sobol, Noelle Mason, Nikita Teryoshin and Rasmus Degnbol; to have worked with esteemed judges including Kathy Ryan (The New York Times), Martin Parr (Magnum Photos), Sarah Leen (National Geographic), and Roger Ballen; and to have collaborated with many international organisations and festivals among which World Press Photo, Fotografia Europea, and Lagos Photo.
2. Improve and reflect on your work / As a photographer, you might be keen to focus on shooting, while that's just part of the job. Every so often it's important - if not necessary - to stop making and look at your production. Our open call is a great way to do so and see where your work stands. Whether you are a photographer who has worked on a new project for months, or a recent graduate who has only presented your work in an academic environment, take this opportunity to reflect on your photographs, prepare a strong edit, and write a good project statement. Be self-critical, get feedback from friends and colleagues, and see where there's a margin for improvement. For further guidance, check out our list of Mistakes To Avoid when preparing your submission.
3. A direct channel to exhibit / Thanks to our partners our photography grant has become a straight channel to work with festivals. Every year we offer a series of exhibitions that often represent a milestone in a photographer’s career. A solo show allows you indeed to work side by side with important curators and explore new ways to present your project in a physical format. You will be also invited to attend the event, an exciting and rewarding experience and an effective way to reach a new audience, talk about your work in first person and see the public reaction. This year the solo shows will be held at PhEST (Monopoli, Itay) and Getxophoto (Getxo, Basque Country, Spain). Learn more about them, starting from this video interview.
4. Develop your practice / Getting funds for your practice can really make a difference, especially when you have clear ideas on how to use the money. From starting a new project to finalising it, the cash prizes are meant to support your work with no strings attached. This year, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and New Generation Prize winners will share cash awards totalling $12,000. You are invited to use the funds however you see fit. It could be buying new equipment, conducting research, experimenting with printing, or collaborating with other artists. Residencies are another wonderful way to develop your practice. You also have the chance to collaborate with Landskrona Foto, an esteemed Swedish organisation offering a grant of approximately €1,500 (plus travel expenses, an apartment and an office space) to an applicant that will commit to produce a unique body of work on the Swedish town surrounding area.
5. Validation / This year’s international jury is comprised of Alejandro Cartagena (Visual Artist), Joanna Milter (Photography Director, The New Yorker), Shoair Mavlian (Director, Photoworks), Thomas Sauvin (Collector and Artist). Being recognised by industry’s experts will not only shed a light on your practice but also represents a great boost of energy and enthusiasm to keep doing what you do. Many former finalists wrote and told us so after receiving the good news, and we hope it will be the same for you. That said, the PhMuseum Grant does not intend to state which is the best work this year or if a certain project is better than another. Our open call is indeed meant to be a vehicle to promote photographers and share meaningful works with our audience. No matter how it goes, you must keep believing in your work, learn from this experience and do better next time. Consistency, hard work and perseverance always pay-off in the long run.
6. International exposure and new connections / PhMuseum is an international hub where photo editors, curators, and gallerists land every week to discover new projects and talents. This grant is a great vehicle for us to discover new works and recommend them to those colleagues who might, for example, be searching for photographers with certain characteristics for an assignment; or for works best fitted to be published in magazines or showcased at a festival. Over the years we have seen many photographers benefiting from these "collateral" opportunities. At the same time, our panel of judges will keep their favourites in mind and suggest them to their respective organisations. The same goes for our partners that will encounter your work while reviewing all the applications. Moreover, thanks to 600,000 visitors annually and around 145,000 people who follow us on social media, we constantly support and give exposure to many photographers who are part of PhMuseum. Just check if you work is set in public mode on your profile, and we'll consider it for features and publications.
7. Learn and grow / Being directly involved in our open call means that you will follow the judging steps, see the shortlisted projects, learn about other photographers and their visual approach, read the judges’ motivations, and so on. This will help you better understand what other talented photographers are doing these days, what the judges consider relevant, and most importantly how you can improve your work or the way you present it. Furthermore, submitting an outstanding application is a skill you learn and perfect over time. It requires practice, attention to detail, and research. For this very reason, the most successful candidates are often those with a clear action plan in mind, and all the important opportunities and deadlines written down on a list. Create a system that works for you and plan ahead, giving priority to what could be most beneficial to your practice. Don’t wait to be discovered, take action to place your photography on the map. It’s not only about winning. It’s mostly about growing.
8. Support PhMuseum / We are an independent organisation that has been growing organically year after year, mostly thanks to those photographers who have trusted our grants and education programmes. We reinvest around 70% of the entry fees in developing our platform and grow our team. When you apply, you participate in the improvement of our free services, whilst granting us the opportunity to self-finance ourselves without turning to sponsors or investors. This is very important in order to preserve the integrity and independence of our voice and to keep enjoying all the free content including our Festivals, Exhibitions, News, and Stories sections.
The PhMuseum Photography Grant has established itself as a leading prize in the industry over the past eight years, renowned for celebrating the importance of contemporary photography and supporting the careers of emerging artists through monetary prizes and various opportunities across international festivals and online media. You are welcome to present your work before 17 February 2021 at 11.59 pm (GMT). Learn more and apply at phmuseum.com/g22
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