11 March 2021

March's Photography Awards and Opportunities

11 March 2021 - Written by Simon Hall

Award season is hotting up in the photography industry with many exciting opportunities open for entry this month, including the Yannis Behrakis International Photojournalism Award, #ReunionCalling: A PhEST2021 Open Call, and the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize. Learn how they can support your work and career.

#ReunionCalling: A PhEST2021 Open Call / Deadline: 31 March / No entry fee

#ReunionCalling. The latest open call from PhEST

With outdoor festivals and events still challenging to organise, PhEST – the international festival of photography in Monopoli, Italy – is attempting to bring the photography community together virtually with this social open call that looks to uncover assorted stories of reunions during times of Covid-19. “Throughout this pandemic, the various forms of lockdown and social distancing that governments have imposed upon their citizens all around the world has stopped any movement and has separated families, couples, friends, groups, schoolmates, teams, acting companies, and music groups,” write the contest organisers. “The final result is separation, the annulment of physical contact, the suspension of sociality, the disappearance of the body,” they continue.

With no limits on language, allowing all disparate techniques from traditional collage to digital post-production, this project invites participants to post images of reunions and a short text detailing the story of the separation on Instagram or Facebook accompanied by the hashtag #ReunionCalling. These images and texts will then act as a modern postcard travelling the web that can be universally shared and used to remind us of this unprecedented moment. An international jury will assign numerous prizes, including four vouchers each valued at €290 for the Leica Akademie workshops, a publication on PHmuseum News, an exhibition at PhEST 2021, and €1,000 worth of rental equipment offered by Camera Service Group to be used to produce a personal project at the end of the pandemic. The deadline to upload work is 31 March. To learn more about the initiative and the entry requirements, go to

CRITICAE / Online Documentary Photography Masterclass / Scholarship Deadline: 31 March / No entry fee

© Max Pinckers, artist and doctoral researcher, lead tutor of CRITICAE.

Documentary photography is both a significant reflection on photography itself and a way of dealing with reality in an attempt to understand and communicate it. How can a documentary express social concern while at the same time recognise its own shortcomings and blind spots? How can we define a shared sense of realism in a hyper-individual and confusing era of post-truth and fake news, in which there is no longer a consensus about what is real, half-truth, fiction, or entertainment?

Guided by photographer, artist, and doctoral researcher Max Pinckers, participants will be led toward expanding their projects and developing their own critical documentary strategies. The program will be conducted online over the course of six months and will comprise five studio visits with Laia Abril, Thomas Sauvin, Mathieu Asselin, Chao Tayiana Maina, and Jan Hoek, plus collective and individual sessions. At the end of the program, one or more participants will be granted an opportunity to exhibit their projects at PHmuseum Lab. Applications must include a portfolio of images and a motivational paragraph that addresses why you would benefit from attending the program and have the chance of obtaining a full scholarship. Learn more and send in your request before 31 March.

Yannis Behrakis Photojournalism Award (by APW) / Deadline: 18 April / No entry fee

© Dar Yasin. 2019 Yannis Behrakis Photojournalism Award winner.

Athens Photo World, following the expressed wishes of Yannis Behrakis and with the donation of Stavros Niarchos Foundation, contributes to the promotion, support, and encouragement of the work of photographers and photojournalists so that they can fulfil their vision and continue to produce their work. For the third consecutive year, the festival has launched the €15,000 Yannis Behrakis International Photojournalism Award that will be granted to a full-length photojournalism or documentary body of work created after January 2018. The winning photographic project will be showcased in a solo show during the 2022 edition of Athens Photo World.

All submissions will be judged by a panel featuring Steve Crisp (Photographer), Kelli Reed Grant (Lead Photo Editor, Yahoo News), and Jerome Delay (Associated Press Chief Photographer, Africa). Interested parties are requested to submit a portfolio of up to 24 photographs, an explanatory text, and a brief resume. The deadline for submissions is set for 18 April at 20:59 GMT and participation is free. More information is available at

Cortona On The Move New Visions / Deadline: 31 March / No entry fee

© Natela Grigalashvili, from the series The Final Days of Georgian Nomads

Cortona On The Move, moving into its eleventh edition this year, has continued its creative partnership with LensCulture to create a free open call that seeks strong and original documentary work from all over the world. The festival has adopted We Are Humans as its central theme for 2021, a broad vision in which we are all protagonists, a collective story of us being human: between intimacy and public dimension, between the ordinary and the extraordinary. “For this choral tale, a single alphabet is not enough,” write the curatorial team. “We are interested in new languages, new grammars, original narratives that can surprise, provoke, inform, and excite. We are looking for stories that challenge the viewer’s eyes, innovative in form and content, providing a different view of contemporary humanity and its facets. We want to see projects that narrate the curiosity of human beings and their ability, our ability, to look at the world with different eyes, with new perspectives and new visions. Humans Are New Visions.”

10 finalists will have their work showcased during a projection at the 2021 edition of Cortona On The Move, set to take place from 15 July through 26 September. Among these, two winners will further be granted a solo exhibition at the festival and an additional two projects will be featured on LensCulture’s website and network. The selection committee once again features four industry experts in the form of Jim Casper (Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of LensCulture), Arianna Rinaldo (Artistic Director of Cortona On The Move), Laura Sackett (Creative Director of LensCulture), and Antonio Carloni (Director of Cortona On The Move). The deadline for entries is 31 March. Further information can be found at

Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize / Deadline: 15 May / US$70

© Patrick Wack and Julien Syrac. 2020 Honorable Mention awardees.

First launched back in 1990, the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize was created by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University to encourage collaboration between documentary writers and photographers in the tradition of the acclaimed photographer Dorothea Lange and writer and social scientist Paul Taylor. In 1941 Lange and Taylor published An American Exodus, a book that renders human experience eloquently in text and images and remains a seminal work in documentary studies.

The award is intended to support artists, working alone or in teams, who are engaged in extended, ongoing fieldwork projects that fully exploit the relationship of words and images in the powerful, persuasive representation of a subject. The winner will receive US$10,000, features in Center for Documentary Studies’ digital publications, and inclusion in the Archive of Documentary Arts at Rubenstein Library, Duke University. Applicants must submit up to 19 images (photographs/graphics + text) in digital format from an ongoing project, a one-page project description, a one-page statement that addresses the use and relationship of words and images in the work, and a one-page biography. Entries must be sent before midnight EST on 15 May. Learn more at

Belfast Photo Festival Open Call / Deadline: 19 March / Entry fee: €22 - €29

© Trish Morrissey, from the series Fallen Tree. 2020 exhibitor.

Belfast Photo Festival is offering all visual storytellers the opportunity to present their work in the main Festival gallery this year, alongside some of the biggest names in photography, and in a travelling exhibition that will be showcased at the 2022 Photo Schwiez in Zurich, Switzerland. The submission theme has been left open to remove any restrictions, yet applications must be photographic or lens-based but can include incorporations of other art forms with the photographic medium, namely performance, painting, sculpture, music, and literature. In addition to the exhibitions, other prizes include a £2,000 Spotlight Award, free membership for one year to the prestigious Royal Photographic Society, a full editorial presentation in an upcoming printed/digital issue of GUP photographic magazine, and a feature in a special Festival issue of Abridged Magazine.

A panel of experts in the field of photography has been invited to assist in the shortlisting and selection of artists alongside the Festival team, including such influential names as Corey Keller (Curator of Photography, SFMoMA), Sarah Allen (Assistant Curator, Tate Modern), Izabela Radwanska Zhang (Managing Editor, British Journal of Photography), Elizabeth Renstrom (Photo Editor, The New Yorker), Dilys Ng (Photo Editor, TIME), Emily Graham (Cultural Commissions, Magnum Photos), Alexa Becker (Acquisitions Editor, Kehrer Verlag), Azu Nwagbogu (Director, LagosPhoto), and Gwen Lee (Director, Singapore International Photography Festival). Individuals and collectives are welcome to apply; individuals should select and enter between one and 15 photographs from a particular series or body of work and/or submit their photobook for exhibition by providing a link to a single PDF. The deadline is 19 March. Further information can be found at



Verzasca FOTO Festival Award / Deadline: 15 March / Entry fee: CHF25

Verzasca FOTO Festival is calling all visual storytellers to submit their projects for exhibitions and screenings at this year’s festival, set to take place from 2 to 5 September in Sonogno, Switzerland. 10 photographers will be granted space in a special projection during the festival’s Photo Night and one overall winner will receive a cash prize of CHF2,000 and a dedicated solo show. The choice of theme is free for applicants, but all entries must feature between three and 10 images from a personal photo story.


Pictures of the Year Asia / Deadline: 16 March / No entry fee

Pictures of the Year Asia is aimed at promoting Asia-based photographers guided by the principle of “Show truth with a camera.” POY Asia is committed to seeing the world from an Asian perspective and celebrating excellence in journalistic and documentary photography throughout the continent. Photographers can enter their work into nine different categories, the most notable of which include Covid-19 (rewarding a single photograph that reflects the news or human experience of the impact of Covid-19); Cultural Practices (dedicated to a set of photographs that increases the understanding and appreciation of a cultural practice); and Nature & Environment (recognising a single photograph that increases the understanding and appreciation of nature and our environment). All images must have been taken in Asia between January 2019 and December 2020.


Helsinki Photo Festival Open Call / Deadline: 23 March / No entry fee

Helsinki Photo Festival is inviting everyone from all over the world to submit work(s) related to the festival theme of 2021, Fearless. The artistic directors are looking to challenge photographers and artists of all ages to share the connections they see with the theme in imaginative, creative, and expressive ways. As part of the submission process, applicants must write an explanation of how their work fits with the theme. Up to 50 artists will be selected for a series of solo and group exhibitions during the festival later this year, which will run from 7 July through 30 September.


Visit our awards page to get a complete view of the best photography opportunities that are currently open for entry.

Written by

Simon Hall

Reading time

11 minutes

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