The photography world is full of awards, grants and competitions. Many of these reward work already done.
But where do you go if you want funding for a new project? Who will fund a visual story you are planning but have not yet commenced?
I have collected here a range of funding opportunities that meet two basic criteria. The first is that they provide grants specifically for the production of new visual projects (this means grants like the OSI Audience Engagement Grant is not included because it excludes the shooting of new work). The second is that they have an open application process, meaning they do not depend upon prior selection (as in the case of the Magnum Emergency Fund, which uses a group of nominators to invite 100 applicants).
The text below is taken from the relevant sites. Click on the links to go to those sites for further information, including the deadlines for the next round of applications.
If you are aware of other funders, please contact me directly, and I will update this list.
The Aaron Siskind Foundation
The Aaron Siskind Foundation’s Individual Photographer’s Fellowship (IPF) grant program encourages and celebrates artistic achievement in contemporary photography by supporting the creative endeavors of artists working in still photography and photography-based media.
The Aftermath Project
The Aftermath Project is a non-profit organization committed to telling the other half of the story of conflict — the story of what it takes for individuals to learn to live again, to rebuild destroyed lives and homes, to restore civil societies, to address the lingering wounds of war while struggling to create new avenues for peace.
The Aftermath Project holds a yearly grant competition open to working photographers worldwide covering the aftermath of conflict. In addition, through partnerships with universities, photography institutions and non-profit organizations, the Project seeks to help broaden the public’s understanding of the true cost of war— and the real price of peace — through international traveling exhibitions and educational outreach in communities and schools.
Alicia Patterson Foundation
The Alicia Patterson Foundation’s mission is to foster, promote, sustain and improve the best traditions of American journalism. The Foundation will provide support for journalists engaged in rigorous, probing, spirited, independent and skeptical work that will benefit the public. The Foundation will support journalism and will foster a community of journalists engaged in truthfully informing the public.
Photographers who have previously been awarded grants by the Foundation include Jon Anderson, Stephen Ferry and Teru Kuwayama (2007), Brenda Ann Kenneally (2008) and Alessandra Sanguinitti (2010).
The professional Alexia Grant was not established with the single purpose of rewarding the best photographers — this is not a portfolio competition. The grant will be awarded to a photojournalist who can further cultural understanding and world peace by conceiving and writing a concise, focused, and meaningful story proposal, and who can demonstrate the ability to visually execute that story with compelling images. There is no mathematical formula for determining grantees, but the proposal and photography must both be considered of the highest quality.
The Foundation also provides cash grants to enable student photographers to have the financial ability to produce a picture story that furthers the Foundation’s goals of promoting world peace and cultural understanding.
Burn Magazine/Magnum Foundation
Canon Female Photojournalism Award
Organised annually by the French Association des Femmes Journalistes and Canon France, with the support of Le Figaro Magazine, the contest has run since 2000. The winning photographer receives €8000 to finish a photojournalistic project, which will then be shown the following year at the Visa pour l’Image festival. The competition is opened to women photojournalists of any age and nationality.
The Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Awardaims to support photojournalism since it demands courage, audacity, freedom and determination. (Enter this site and find ‘Le Prix du photojournalisme’).
Each year, a reportage subject that is directly linked to current events is suggested to international, professional photojournalists. An independent jury of experts made up of image and information specialists will select a reportage project to be achieved that will receive 50,000 Euros in support. This grant includes the execution of the reportage and the acquisition by Carmignac Gestion of four photographs chosen from the reportage.
Carmignac Gestion will also provide its full backing for the photojournalist to develop, promote and distribute the reportage. An exhibition will be organised within 12 months of the Prize being awarded and a monographic book presenting the award-winner’s work will be published.
The annual Project Development Grant was initiated to help a photographer complete a work in progress, and the Project Launch Award helps the completion and dissemination of a project. Open to all photographic fine-art and documentary projects or series.
Ernest Cole Award
The Ernest Cole Photographic Award has been established to stimulate creative work in photography in Southern Africa. The emphasis will be on creative responses to South African society. The award, worth R150,000 (c. £13,000 or $21,000) will be managed by the University of Cape Town library, and offers a unique opportunity for photographers to complete an existing project.
European Fund for Investigative Journalism
The aim of Journalismfund.eu, the European Fund for Investigative Journalism, is to promote quality journalism in Europe by giving journalists the chance to carry out journalistic research projects.
The project should be one that, in principle, could not be realised in this format within the remit of regular journalism – a project that can include cross-border research, networking between colleagues, established and innovative investigative methods and that is at the same time original, innovative and intensive.
Journalismfund.eu will support journalists, who have good ideas for cross-border research and for research on European affairs. Support for travels, translations and simply time for research can be granted.
Focus for Humanity
FFH offers a Fellowship of up to US$5,000 for a non full-time photographer keen to focus on photography as a career and probably within the humanitarian or cultural field, but who needs that final push or help to overcome that last barrier that is stopping them turning full-time. The fellowship is awarded by means of a competitive portfolio review and an assessment of an online application form.
Freedom to Create Prize
The Freedom to Create Prize celebrates the courage and creativity of artists who use their talents to promote social justice, build social foundations and inspire the human spirit. They are the voices of courage, unity, strength, reconciliation healing and hope.
The Prize gives artists local and global recognition, inspiring them to use their creativity to transform society. It is open to artists in all creative fields. Each year US$125,000 in prize money is awarded across three categories: the Main Prize, the Youth Prize and the Imprisoned Artist Prize.
Fund for Investigative Journalism
The FIJ’s Board of Directors meets periodically throughout the year to consider grant applications for investigative projects and books.
It is Fund policy to pay the first half of approved grants to successful applicants, with the second half of the grant paid on evidence of publication of a finished project in accordance with the original proposal. Second half grants are not guaranteed if projects are not completed in a timely fashion or if the projects are published in a different form or in a different outlet than originally proposed.
In 2010 the Seattle photojournalist Tim Matsui received a grant to document human trafficking in Cambodia. He contributed to a multimedia series on trafficking published online by KUOW Radio (Seattle).
Getty Images offers two types of grant. The first, Grants for Editorial Photography, is available to both professionals and students. Since 2005, they have awarded five Grants for Editorial Photography annually to professional photojournalists. Each grant provides $20,000, plus editorial, logistical and promotional support. They also award four student grants of $5,000 per year to photojournalism students at accredited schools. The second, Grants for Good, consists of two grants of $15,000 annually, to cover photographer, filmmaker and agency costs as they create compelling new imagery for the nonprofit of their choice.
Humble Arts Foundation
Humble Arts Foundation established the New Photography Grant in 2007 to help support fine art photography projects in the U.S. and abroad. Given twice annually (fall and spring), the grant is a $1,000 cash award that recognizes the strongest new proposal in contemporary art photography as submitted to Humble Arts Foundation.
Ian Parry Scholarship
The Ian Parry Scholarship is designed to award young documentary photographers with a bursary that will enable them to undertake a chosen project and raise their profile in the international photographic community. It is for photographers 24 years old or younger, and is worth £3,000.
IdeasTap Photographic Award
The IdeasTap award – in association with Magnum – is open to UK-based photographers aged 16 to 30 (in two separate age groups), and is split into three categories: Photojournalism, Environmental photography and Conceptual art. There are two overall winners, one for each age group. They emerge from a long list of twelve, which is cut to a short list of six. The six finalists will each receive £1,500 to shoot their dream project, create a multimedia Magnum in Motion project and will receive a second mentoring session.
Inge Morath Foundation
The annual Inge Morath Award is given to a woman photographer under thirty years of age, to assist in the completion of a long-term documentary project. The winner and finalists are selected by the photographer members of Magnum Photos and a representative of the Morath Foundation at the Magnum annual meeting. The call for submissions and guidelines are announced annually by The Magnum Foundation and The Inge Morath Foundation on their web sites, usually in January/February. Winners of the Award are announced in July.
International Reporting Project
The IRP Fellowships in International Journalism are grants given to U.S. journalists to report overseas on key international issues, particularly stories that are neglected by the mainstream media. Since 1998, the IRP has awarded 174 journalists with these reporting grants. IRP Fellows must have at least five years of professional journalistic experience in any medium. The program is open to journalists and photojournalists from all media. Freelancers are also eligible. Journalists must be citizens of the United States, or else be working currently in the United States as full-time employees of U.S.-based news organizations.
Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation for International Photography
Inaugural grant competition and photo showcase 2011: we will award one outstanding social documentary photographer US$5000 to be utilized in the production or completion of one documentary project.
The National Geographic Grant
National Geographic awards one Grant for Photography annually to a professional photojournalist. The Grant monies go directly to funding the production of a photography project. The project may be considered for publication inNational Geographic magazine and/or the National Geographic magazine website or for possible exhibit at National Geographic headquarters or other venues.
National Media Museum Photography Awards
The Awards form part of the UK National Media Museum’s ongoing commitment to contemporary photography in promoting the work of emerging and mid-career photographers. They will assist talented photographers with the production of ongoing projects or a new body of work, and provide support for them to develop and enhance their practice and profile.
National Press Photographers Association (US)
The National Press Photographers Association has a Short Grants program, five grants of $3,000 each that will be awarded to support photojournalists who are creating compelling picture stories in their communities.
The Photocrati Fund
The Photocrati Fund offers $5000 grants to emerging photographers to undertake important humanitarian and environmental photography projects. Our goal is to identify outstanding, up-and-coming photographers and give them the resources necessary to pursue projects that will have a tangible and positive effect on the world.
PhotoPhilanthropy Activist Awards
The PhotoPhilanthropy Activist Awards identify outstanding work done by photographers in collaboration with nonprofit organizations worldwide, with prizes ranging from $2,000-$15,000. There are awards for mobile photography award – in addition to professional, amateur, and student category awards – for most compelling documentary photography essays completed on behalf of nonprofits.
The Pierre and Alexandra Boulat Association
Formed in the memory of Pierre and Alexandra Boulat by friends and family after the death of Alexandra Boulat in 2007 the Association seeks to keep the spirit of father and daughter alive through making their work available to the public and creating an annual grant to a photographer and sponsoring the education of young photographers.
The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting
The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting funds international travel costs associated with reporting projects on topics and regions of global importance, with an emphasis on issues that have gone unreported or under-reported in the mainstream American media. The amount of individual travel grants will depend on the specific project and detailed budget planning. Most awards fall in the range of $2,000 to $10,000 but depending on project specifics may be as much as $20,000.
Reminders Project Asian Photographers Grant
The Reminders Project Asian Photographers Grant offers financial support of up to US$3,000 for a in-depth photographic documentation in Asia. The awarded project will be shown at the 2012 Angkor Photo Festival. The grant is open to all Asian photographers with no age limit. Applicants who are ethnically Asian, but who were born or are currently residing outside of Asia are also eligible.
The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund
The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund (DFP) is is a resource for independent documentary filmmakers worldwide working on cinematic documentaries focused on human rights and contemporary-issue themes. Year-round support spans funding, creative support, and audience engagement support for individual films, as well as field-wide support in targeted regions globally.
W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund
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 and dedicated compassion exhibited during his 45-year career as a photographic essayist.
If you know of other sources that fund the production of new work, and have open application processes, please let me know and I will add them to this list.
List established: 5 January 2011
Latest update: 5 November 2013