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Main Reasons to Apply to the PhMuseum Photography Grant
Published12 Feb 2024
Since 2012, the Grant has allowed us to discover and promote contemporary visual projects. Here are the main motivations leading both renowned artists and emerging authors to trust our open call as a vehicle to grow their careers.
Over the years the PhMuseum Photography Grant has grown into a leading prize and a reference for photo editors, curators, collectors, and visual arts enthusiasts. Our team works hard to build a solid network, connect people and make things happen. Twelve years after the first open call, we are proud to have recognised the work of photographers like Max Pinckers, Poulomi Basu, Salvatore Vitale, Jacob Aue Sobol, Noelle Mason, Nikita Teryoshin, Tara Laure Claire, Rodrigo Pinheiro and Gal Cipreste Marinelli; to have worked with esteemed judges including Martin Parr, Renée Mussai, Roger Ballen, Cristopher Anderson, Shoair Mavlian, Azu Nwagbogu, Joanna Milter, Alejandro Cartagena, and Alec Soth; and to have collaborated with many international organisations and festivals among which Lagos Photo. Getxophoto, World Press Photo, Verzasca Foto, PhEST, Landskrona Foto, and Fotografia Europea.
2. Improve and reflect on your work
As a photographer, you might be keen to focus on shooting, while that is just a 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 practiced within 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 you have margins for improvement. For further guidance, check out our list of Tips and Mistakes to Avoid when preparing a submission.
3. A direct channel to exhibit
Thanks to growing partnerships, the PhMuseum Photography Grant has become a straight channel to work with festivals and exhibition venues. Every year we offer exhibitions that can represent a crucial step in a photographer’s career. A solo show allows you to work side by side with important curators and explore new ways to present your project in a physical format. It is an effective way to reach a new audience, talk about your work in first person and connect with the public directly. This year the solo shows will be held at PhEST (Monopoli, Itay), Getxophoto (Getxo, Basque Country, Spain) and PhMuseum Lab (Bologna, Italy) during Art City and Arte Fiera, the oldest art fair in Italy. You can learn more on the collaboration with Getxophoto, gaining insights on the selection process and behind-the-scenes in this Q&A with curator Maria Ptqk.
4. Fund your practice
Funds can really make a difference, especially when you have a clear idea on how to invest them. Finalising a body of work, starting a new one, producing a book, collaborating with other professionals: 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 summing up to €10,000. You are invited to use the funds however you see fit.
This year’s international jury is comprised of David Campany (Curator and Writer), Lebohang Kganye (Visual Artist and Photographer), Penelope Umbrico (Visual Artist) and Kensuke Koike (Visual Artist). Being recognised by industry experts will not only shed a light on your practice but also represent a great boost of energy and enthusiasm to keep doing what you do. Many former prize recepients and finalists expressed how motivating this experience has been to them, and we hope it will be the same for you. That said, the PhMuseum Phtography Grant does not intend to find a "best work of the year" or to state if a certain project is better than another. Our open call is instead 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 keep trying. Consistency, hard work and perseverance always pay-off in the long run.
6. Exposure and new connections
PhMuseum is an international hub where photo editors, curators, enthusiasts and professionals land to discover new projects and talents. The grant is a great vehicle for us, our partners and the jury to discover new work which hardly goes forgotten. Interesting projects stick to the mind and come back when searching for photographers with certain characteristics, be it for an assignment, a publication, or a nomination to other prizes. Over the years we have seen many photographers benefiting from these "collateral" opportunities. Moreover, every week we feature works mostly discovered through the grants on our homepage, newsletter, and social media, making them reach a wide and diverse audience. Just check if your project 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 the photographers who have trusted our grants and education programs. 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 activities such as the Festivals, Awards, News and Stories sections, as well as exhibitions at PhMuseum Lab and PhMuseum Days, our International Photography Festival in Bologna.
9. You have to try
It's only with hard work and a continue effort that you can grow as a professional. Getting your work recognised by an important panel of judges is a great motivation to keep developing your practice. We know how much hard work there is behind your projects, and how many talented photographers there are today. Even if sometimes you feel you have tried enough or that you are not ready yet, we recommend you to not give up, accepting that failure is part of the career of all of us and a great motivation to keep improving and obtain success in the future. As the hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky once said, you miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take.
The PhMuseum Photography Grant has established itself as a leading prize in the industry over the last 12 years, renowned for recognising the importance of contemporary photography and for supporting emergent artists through cash prizes, exhibitions at international festivals, educational activities and exposure on online media. You are welcome to present your work before 15 February 2024 at 11.59 pm (GMT). Learn more and apply at phmuseum.com/g24