07 March 2019

March's Photography Grants and Awards

07 March 2019 - Written by Simon Hall

The photography award season is in full swing with many leading contests accepting submissions this month, including the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography, Leica Oskar Barnack Awards, and Luma Rencontres Dummy Book Award. Find out how they can help develop your work and career.

W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography / Deadline: 20 April / Entry fee: US$50

© Mark Peterson, from the series The Past is Never Dead. 2018 W. Eugene Smith Grant winner

The W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography is presented annually to a photographer whose past work and proposed project, as judged by a panel of experts, follows the tradition of W. Eugene Smith’s concerned photography evidenced during his 45-year career as a photographic essayist. This Grant is designed to help a photographer either begin or complete a documentary-style visual story. The Judges (soon to be appointed) will be looking for a photographer whose proposed project seems most likely to use exemplary and compelling photojournalism (possibly supplemented by or incorporating multi-media) to address an issue of importance and impact related to the human condition.

Applicants should submit provisional or ongoing work from an as-yet-to-be completed project that would likely benefit from (and likely be concluded if) they were to receive the Grant. Applicants are also invited to present a limited selection of supplementary past work on a related subject as a way of demonstrating their ability to execute the new project. For 2019, the amount of the Grant will be US$40,000. An additional US$5,000 Grant will be dispersed as a Fellowship, and two finalists deemed worthy of special recognition will each be awarded US$2,500. All awards will be presented in a ceremony held in New York City on 16 October. There is an entry fee of US$50 and the deadline is 20 April. Go to to find out more.

Leica Oskar Barnack Awards / Deadline: 1 April / No entry fee

© Mary Gelman, from the series Svetlana. 2018 Leica Oskar Barnack Award Newcomer winner

The Leica Oskar Barnack Awards are designed to support photographers using their camera to capture and express the interaction between man and the environment in the most graphic form. Submissions must be a self-contained sequence of a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 12 images in which this complex relationship is documented with acute vision and a contemporary visual style - creative, ground-breaking and innovative. Only one submission per photographer is accepted.

All entries this year will be reviewed by Karin Rehn-Kaufmann (Art Director and Chief Representative, Leica Galleries International), Max Pinckers (Photographer, PHmuseum Mentor, and 2018 LOBA winner), Francois Hebel (Director, Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson), and Steve McCurry (Photographer and Founder, ImagineAsia). The two winners of the Main Category Prize and the Newcomer Award (to be granted to a photographer aged 28 years or younger) will receive cash prizes of €25,000 and €10,000 respectively. Both winners will also be awarded a Leica M camera and lens worth €10,000, and a further 10 finalists will each be given €2,500 endowments to help fund their projects. Applications must be made via the online application form before 1 April. To find out more, go to

Luma Rencontres Dummy Book Award Arles 2019 / Deadline: 13 April / No entry fee

© Marina Gadonneix, from the book Phénomènes. 2018 Luma Rencontres Dummy Book Award winner.

The Luma Rencontres Dummy Book Award provides professional photographers and visual storytellers with an opportunity to fund the production, publication, and promotion of a dummy photobook. The prize is endowed with a €25,000 production budget - including €3,000 for the author or authors - to cover all expenses incurred by the book’s creation (adjustment work, layout, printing, and binding). Les Rencontres d’Arles will shortlist 25 nominees, from which an independent judging panel (currently being selected) will select one overall winner. The 2019 winner’s dummy book, as well as those of the finalists, will be exhibited this summer during Les Rencontres d’Arles, from 1 July to 22 September.

All artists using photography, of any age or nationality, are eligible to participate, yet their work must have been featured in group and/or solo shows or in publications, giving them previous national or international recognition. The submitted project must be as close as possible to the final version, both in its form and the materials used, and technically feasible using traditional book production methods. The deadline is 13 April and no application fees apply. For further information, go to

Happiness ONTHEMOVE Prize. By Cortona On The Move / Opens: 11 March; Deadline: 14 April / Entry fee: €10

© Diana Markosian, from the series Santa Barbara. 2018 Happiness ONTHEMOVE winner.

As in all seven previous editions, Cortona's eighth annual Happiness ONTHEMOVE Award invites photographers to submit work with happiness as the central theme. "Happiness is suspension, surprise, a story that resonates inside you, often for no reason whatsoever. Happiness is action, it is stillness, it can be just a look, or maybe an entire lifetime" write the festival’s curatorial team. "We’re not looking for easy smiles or stereotyped images. We want to see true happiness in your stories" they add.

This award aims to reveal those everyday moments that seem ordinary on the surface, yet nevertheless make us smile and offer a window into a joyous reality. Cortona encourages applicants to reflect upon the theme, avoiding a purely literal interpretation, and develop ideas related to the multifaceted nature of the concept using their own personal vision, creativity, and sensitivity. The award winner will receive a monetary prize of €3,000 plus exhibition space at the next edition of COTM in 2020, while the winning project will be screened during the inauguration period of this year's festival in July. The deadline is 14 April. Entry fee: €10. Visit to learn more.

2019 Voies Off Awards / Deadline: March 12 / Entry fee: €30 - €90

© Liza Ambrossio, from the series The Rage of Devotion. 2018 Voies Off Award winner

Running in conjunction with Rencontres d’Arles every year, Voies Off Festival presents an alternative program of exhibitions and supporting events focused on the promotion of work from the emerging generation of artists and photographers. The Voies Off competitions, now in their 24th year, are an important part of this programming, aiming to give support to new creation and to offer the best conditions for photographers to enjoy the festival’s very large network of expert professionals.

This year, 50 photographers will be chosen to participate in six screenings by a jury featuring Aline Phanariotis (Co-founder and Co-director, Voies Off Festival), Mariko Takeuchi (Associate Professor, University of Art and Design, Kyoto), Charlotte Boudon (Co-artistic director, Les Filles du Calvaire Gallery), Patrick Le Bescont (Director, Filigranes éditions), and Yuko Yamaji (Curator, Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts, Yamanashi). From this selection, three winners will be granted the Voies Off Award (€5,000 cash prize), the SAIF Discovery Award (€2,500 cash prize), and the Award (publication on the website). Entry fees vary depending on the submission. The deadline is 12 March. Learn more at

Portrait of Britain / Deadline: 18 April / No entry fee

© Sue Williamson. 2018 Portrait of Britain exhibitor

Run by British Journal of Photography and digital media company JCDecaux, Portrait of Britain is an award-winning photography exhibition that celebrates the rich tapestry of people that make up Great Britain, by turning their stories into public art. Revolutionary in its scale and mission, Portrait of Britain is one of the world’s largest shows dedicated to photography, and with the nation currently at such a crucial point in its history, it is more relevant now than ever.

The award invites photographers of any level and of any age to submit portraits that reveal the many faces of modern Britain. 100 winning entries will be showcased across JCDecaux’s network of digital Out-of-Home screens throughout the country, from rail stations and airports, to shopping malls and high streets, for one month in September 2019. 200 shortlisted entries will also be featured in the Portrait of Britain book, published by Hoxton Mini Press and distributed worldwide. The application deadline is 18 April. Find out more at



Verzasca FOTO Festival Award / Deadline: 17 March / Entry fee: CHF20

The Verzasca FOTO Festival Awards is an open-themed contest aimed at both amateur and professional photographers alike. 10 finalists will feature in a projection at the next edition of the festival and one overall winner will be granted a solo show and receive CHF2,000. The jury this year features Alfredo De Stefano, Federica Chiocchetti, Sara Cuono, Samuel Wolf, Patricia Karallis, and Verónica Fieiras.


Foam Talent Call / Deadline: 17 March / Entry fee: €35

The Foam Talent Call is an international competition for photographers between the ages of 18 and 35, acting as a platform that helps emerging talents earn global recognition and exposure to industry leaders. Selected photographers will receive a number of career-building opportunities, including publication in Foam Magazine, participation in a travelling group exhibition that has previously toured Amsterdam, London, New York, and Paris, and a place in the prestigious art collection of Deutsche Börse.


PhotoBoox Award 2019 / Deadline: 31 March / No entry fee

Photolux Festival has teamed up with Ceiba Editions and Grafiche dell’Artiere to present an award that aims to recognise the best unpublished editorial works, giving them broad visibility and an opportunity to made into a publication. One winning project will be published by Ceiba Editions and granted an exhibition and book launch at both the upcoming edition of Photolux and the Miami Photo Fest in 2020.


PhotoEspaña Photography Book Awards 2019 / Deadline: 1 April / No entry fee

Open to all artists, publishers, and publishing houses, the PHotoEspaña Photography Book Awards look to recognise the most outstanding photobooks of the year. An independent judging panel comprised of industry professionals will evaluate the concept, design, and graphic quality of the submitted publications and choose one winner in each of the four categories, namely Best National Photography Book of the Year, Best International Photography Book of the Year, Best Self-Published Photography Book, and Outstanding Publisher of the Year. A selection of finalists will feature in an exhibition at the National Library in Madrid.


W. Eugene Smith Grant for Student Photographers / Deadline: 20 April / Entry fee: US$1

The W. Eugene Smith Grant for Student Photographers is designed to encourage and support students whose visual stories echo W. Eugene Smith’s compassionate photography. Special consideration will be given to work that promotes social change and that embraces new technologies and image distribution, and that seeks to integrate the tradition of photography and social change with contemporary practice. The Grant amount this year is US$4,000.


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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