Photocrati Fund

2014 – 2015 Photocrati Fund Winner:

Ed Kashi

Photocrati is excited to name esteemed photographer Ed Kashi as the 2014-2015 Photocrati Fund Fellow for his work documenting the epidemic of Chronic Kidney Disease (of unknown causes) among sugar cane workers in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua. End-stage renal failure impacts nearly one-third of the men in this town, frequently referred to as the “Island of Widows”. Called a “silent killer” the disease is often not identified until kidney failure is imminent. Expensive urgent medical care is often out of reach or unavailable for the sugar cane workers.

Second Place goes to documentary and travel photographer, Jacob Maentz for his ongoing work on The Forgotten Ten (Katutubong Filipino Project). With this project, Maentz seeks to raise awareness of the social and land rights challenges and pressures that the diverse, culturally-rich indigenous Filipino population presently faces.

Third Place goes to renowned photographer Paula Bronstein for her ongoing work The Forgotten Frontline: Women in Afghanistan. This powerful project endeavors to give voice to the complicated struggles and successes of Afghani women “between life and war”.

Fourth Place goest to humanitarian photographer Anna Boyaizis for her project, Second Wave, which covers the Jane Goodall Institute’s innovative peer education program in Uganda. This important program focuses on improving girls’ lives through education and support for HIV prevention, feminine hygiene, and reproductive health issues.

The 2014-2015 Honorable Mentions

Lianne Milton, La Vida No Vale Nada: Guatemala; Michelle Siu, Marlboro Boys, Indonesia; Cosmin Bumbutz, No Future for Roma Families in Romania; Alessandro Grassani, Environmental Migrants: The Last Illusion; Kenya, Nairobi; Alessio Romenzi, Aftermath of the Syrian Civil War: Refugees; Lebanon, Beirut; Allison Shelley, No Choice: Abortion and Imprisonment in Mexico; Mexico City and Guanajuato State; Dan Giannipoulos, The Rehabilitation of Syria’s Refugees; Jordan & Lebanon; Stefano Schirato, Toxicity; Russia, Dzerzhinsk; Daniele Volpe, Aftermath of Guatemala Genocide, Guatemala, and Fabio Bucciarelli, On the Brink of Abyss, South Sudan.

Special Thanks to the 2014 – 2015 Photocrati Fund Judges: Jim Brandenburg, Steve McCurry, and Steve Winter


2014 Top Finishers and Finalists

Adriane Ohanesian
Women Rebel Soldiers of the Nuba Mountains; South Kordofan, Sudan

Albertina d’Urso
Out of Tibet; Worldwide

Alejandro Chaskielberg
Otsuchi Future Memories; Otsuchi, Tohoku Prefecture, Japan

Alessandro Grassani
Environmental Migrants: The last illusion; Kenya, Nairobi

Alessio Romenzi
Aftermath of the Syrian Civil War: Refugees; Lebanon, Beirut

Allison Shelley
No Choice: Abortion and Imprisonment in Mexico; Mexico City and Guanajuato State

Andria Hautamaki
Patagonia: Ranching Between Ice and Sky; (Southern Chilean Patagonia)!patagonia-between-ice-and-sky/c1a2c

Andrea de Franciscis
Tsunami, Ten Years After; Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand

Anik Rahman
Puppet Show; Bangladesh

Anna Boyiazis
Second Wave; Uganda

Bernice Wong Shu Fen
Breath of Life; Cambodia

Brett Gundlock
El Pueblo (The Community); Michoacan, Mexico

Camilo Ramirez
Turbid Collective; US Gulf Coast

Cosmin Bumbutz
No Future for Roma Families in Romania

Dan Giannopoulos
The Rehabilitation of Syria’s Refugees; Jordan & Lebanon

Daniele Volpe
Aftermath of Guatemala Genocide

Edmond (Ed) Ezra Kashi
CKDu and Nicaragua’s Sugarcane Workers; Nicaragua (Nicaragua)

Eva Parey
East Winds; Across Europe

Fabio Bucciarelli
On the Brink of Abyss; South Sudan

Fausto Podavini
Climate Change Vulnerability and Resilience

Galen Stolee
A Tale of Two Models – Tourism development in the forests of Cambodia

Giorgio Savona
IronBound; Newark, NJ, USA

Greg Kahn
3 Millimeters; Eastern Shore of Maryland, USA!/portfolio/G00007zCTwj19qzM

Jacob Maentz
The Forgotten Ten (Katutubong Filipino Project); Philippines

Juan Carlos
C’est la Vie (Asi es la Vida)

Jordi Pizarro
The Disappearing Lands of Bangladesh and India

Joyce Nicholls
Black, Gay, Female and Paperless: a story about Ugandan lesbian asylum seekers in the UK

J.T. Blatty
Fish Town; Coastal Louisiana (Breton Sound & Ponchartrain Basins, East of Mississippi)

Ksenia Diodorova
21 Hours; Tajikistan (GBAO), Russia (Moscow, St. Petersburg)

Laura El-Tantawy
I’ll Die For You; Egypt

Lianne Milton
La Vida No Vale Nada; Guatemala

Lorenzo Masi
Struggle for a Normal Life: Somali refugees in Italy

Marco Casino
Staff Riding (temporary title); Johannesburg townships, SA
(See multi-media presentation)

Markel Redondo
The Good Father

Mariusz Janiszewski
Life Reloaded; Philippines

Marion Belanger
Oil and Ice; Alaska

Massimo Branca
Under the Surface

Mathieu Asselin
Monsanto: A Photographic Investigation; USA

Matthew David Eich
Sin & Salvation in Baptist Town; Greenwood, Mississippi

Matteo Bastianelli
MaldiMare (Seasickness); Taranto, Italy, PLEASE SEE FILM REEL

Michael JP Hall

Michelle Siu
Marlboro Boys, Indonesia

Paula Bronstein
The Forgotten Frontline: Afghan Women; Afghanistan

Stefano Schirato
Toxicity; Russia, Dzerzhinsk

Steven DeWitt
The Lodgepole Project

Thomas Dryden Kelsey
Turquoise Hill “Minegolia”

Tommaso Rada
The Bill of Progress, Mozambique

Turjoy Chowdhury
Second Life; Bangladesh

What is the Photocrati Fund?

The Photocrati Fund offers a $5000 grant to a photographer to undertake an important humanitarian or environmental photography project. Our goal is to identify outstanding photographers and to provide support towards projects that will have a tangible and positive effect on the world.

Applications are judged by our panel of distinguished reviewers. The grantee becomes a Photocrati Fellow for the calendar year from the announcement of his/her award until the announcement of the following year’s award.

Award decisions will be made by the Photocrati Fund Board, a prestigious panel that includes some of the world’s best-known environmental and cultural photographers.

2014 Photocrati Fund Board and judges for the competition included:

Steve McCurry
Steve Winter
Jim Brandenburg

The 2013 Photocrati Fund Board and judges for the competition included:

Steve McCurry
Michael “Nick” Nichols
Jim Brandenburg

Please review the guidelines below to learn about the requirements for the Photocrati Fund. Projects that do not meet requirements will not be eligible for consideration of the award. We look forward to receiving your application. Thanks for your interest in the 2014 Photocrati Fund.

Application Submission Guidelines
Selection Criteria
Notification of Award
Disbursement of Funds, Project Report, Photo Essay and Deadline for Completion of Project
Copyright and Use of Images
Other Important Notes
Photocrati Fund Board Member Bios
Past Winners and Top Finalists


This grant is intended for both pro and emerging photographers. The grant is open to photographers over 21 years of age from any country worldwide, but applicants should have a proven ability to produce outstanding imagery and coherent photo essays, as well as the background necessary to carry out the proposed project. This means that for photographers planning to complete a project in a country other than their own country of origin, there should be a clear demonstration of preparation for work in that country (i.e. proper visas, contacts, language training, etc.), and preferably some experience in the country or a good deal of experience and understanding of the culture and language/customs.

Application Submission Guidelines

There are no application fees for this grant. The 2015 grant is NOT yet open.

Each submission may contain only one project proposal. Each applicant may apply only once per submission cycle. Applications are not carried over to the following year. All applications must be submitted in English, online to the following email address: Please include the words 2014 PHOTOCRATI FUND in the subject of the email.

Please proofread to avoid typos and grammatical errors.

Only applications that meet ALL SUBMISSION CRITERIA will be judged. Once the application and proposal has been submitted, content changes are not allowed. Please double check all of your materials before submitting your application. The Photocrati Fund is not responsible for misdirected submissions. Applicants should save copies of their application for their own records.

Only applications submitted according to grant application specifications will be considered. Applicants should not send any hard copies or printed materials (no prints, books, CDs/DVDs or transparencies). The Photocrati Fund Panel will not review any of these materials, and they cannot be returned to applicants.

The application consists of just two items: a one-page project statement and bio, and a link to your online portfolio submitted via email to: Please include the words 2014 PHOTOCRATI FUND in the subject of your email.

A big change from previous years: In general, we do not accept links to password protected galleries, or to Flickr, Picasa, or other photo sharing sites. You should have a professional-style website.
(There are many wonderful free professional-style websites available, — such as WordPress — that are easy to set up. If you want to keep your gallery separate from your other work, you can create a specific, non-public link and send that to us with your application. We occasionally make exceptions to this rule for embargoed or very sensitive projects).

Project Statement and Bio

The project statement should be 1-page, preferably as a PDF– but MSWord is acceptable, too. Please follow these formatting guidelines. It helps our judges to quickly evaluate the hundreds of applications in a systematic manner. Please label/save/title your submission using your name and/or project title (i.e. Smith2014_Rocks). This makes it easier for the staff and judges to sort and find your project.

Please include the following information, in this order, in the HEADING:

  • Applicant’s Full Name:
  • Project Title:
  • Project Location:
  • Applicant’s Email:
  • Applicant’s Phone (including country code):
  • Applicant’s Home Country:
  • Web Address of Online Portfolio:

The personal statement should describe the proposed project in detail, including:

  • Who or what will be photographed?
  • Why is this project important? Include historical, environmental, or cultural background to the project as appropriate. You should display good substantive knowledge of your subject matter.
  • What positive consequences might result from this project? We are interested in projects that will have a tangible impact or contribution.
  • What background and preparation do you have that will enable you to carry out the project? This should include a description of your photographic training or background as well as your knowledge or training related to the subject matter of your project (i.e., language or cultural study, previous experience in the specified country or location, environmental or biological background, and contacts with a specific local organization or experts with whom you wish to work, etc).
  • If the proposed project will take place in a country other than your own, please describe your preparations for working in the proposed project location (i.e. visa preparations, local contacts, health vaccinations, language training, etc.).
  • How do you plan to spend the grant funds? Please include a rough budget

Note: In our experience, many applicants underestimate the amount of time and preparation that is required to prepare a good one-page project statement. The fact that this statement is only one page means you must work even harder to make sure that all the relevant information is included in a concise and still-readable way.

The most successful statements are those that have received a great deal of work and editing. This single page is all we have to evaluate you, your preparation, and your project, so please give it special care and attention.

Link to Online Portfolio

Each applicant should include on their Project Statement and Bio a URL (web address) to an online gallery of a coherent set of 15-30 images based around a theme or project (preferably related to the project or theme/concept proposed in your application or something related, though not necessary).

Carrying out an effective photography project requires not just creative and technical mastery of photography, but also the ability to focus on a single project over time. You need to take time to develop knowledge about your subject matter, build any necessary relationships, and to invest the time to be present when the best photo opportunities present themselves. Your portfolio should display these qualities. We are not looking for a hodge-podge of individual photographs of sunsets, flowers, or travel scenes.

Images displayed in the online portfolio or website MUST BE TAKEN BY THE APPLICANT. Any applicant receiving a grant on the basis of images taken by someone else will be liable to repay the grant’s full amount to the Photocrati Fund, and will of course, forfeit the Photocrati Fund Fellow title.

As with the personal statement, please recognize that the images on this site are the sole basis on which we will evaluate your photographic talent. You should display your best work.

Selection Criteria

Following the application deadline, Photocrati Fund staff will compile all completed applications that adhere to all submission guidelines.

Photocrati Fund staff will screen applications and remove any that do not meet the application criteria or which are unlikely to be competitive. The remaining applications will be submitted to the Photocrati Fund Board for consideration.

Selection of the grantee will be based on the Board’s determination, in its sole discretion, of the following:

  • Photographic skill, background and promise of the applicant (in terms of photographic vision and technique) based on the applicant’s images in his/her web portfolio.
  • The degree to which the applicant’s non-photographic background and training has prepared him/her to undertake the project.
  • The environmental or humanitarian significance of the project and its potential positive contributions.
  • The feasibility and viability of the completion of the proposed project within the projected time frame and with the grant funding.
  • The quality of the overall application packet.

Notification of Award

Winners of the grant will be notified after the judging, which should be completed in late June. The grant winners may share the news with others involved with the project, but we ask to keep news of the award confidential until the public announcement in late June.

Disbursement of Funds, Project Report, Photo Essay and Deadline for Completion of Project

Photocrati Fund Grants are in the amount of $5,000. The funds are intended to help cover the costs of travel, lodging, and related expenses for roughly one-month of full time photography. The funds do not need to be spent on travel and lodging, and we certainly fund portions of on-going projects. The most important thing is that we need for you to outline how you intend to spend the funding. In general, we are interested in supporting the expenses related to the completion of the project — rather than the purchase of a large item of photographic gear.

The funds will be disbursed in two portions. Photocrati Fellows will receive $4000 up-front prior to the project. The remaining $1000 will be disbursed to the Grantee upon completion of the project and upon receipt of a Project Report/ photo essay (for the Photocrati website) from the project.

The Grantee is expected to provide a brief follow-up report/blog post/photo essay upon completion of the project that describes how the project progressed, and which provides a detailed explanation of how funds were used. Grant recipients are advised to keep conscientious records of expenses.

Along with the project report, the Fellow should submit a final photo essay of 15-30 images. These can be presented in an online gallery or sent to Photocrati Fund staff via email or FTP. These images should be 800 pixels in the longest dimension and they should be accompanied by detailed captions. The resulting photo essay will be displayed on following the project completion.

The Grantee will have 12 months from the announcement of the award to complete his or her project and to provide Photocrati Fund staff with a Project Report and captioned Photo Essay.

Copyright and Use of Images

The Grantee (i.e. the award winner/photographer) retains all copyright and ownership of images resulting from the project, including the right to sell, print, or distribute images as he or she sees fit. (This means that if you win, you keep the rights to your images.)

By accepting the grant, the Grantee (the award winner) agrees, however, to give Photocrati a worldwide, non-exclusive right to display images included in the Grantee’s photo essay on the website. The Grantee also gives Photocrati the right to use the images from the photo essay on its website, in printed materials, or in galleries for the purpose of promoting the Photocrati Fund. (This means that if you win, you allow us to use a small, select set of your images in our publications and on our website to promote the grant.)

The imagery produced by the grantee (the award winner) may be licensed (and sold) to others by Grantee (the award winner), with the understanding and explicit agreement that the images may also be used by Photocrati in the manner mentioned above. (This means that if you win, you can sell your images however you like, but that you allow us to use a set of them — which you pick — to promote the grant. People often ask us if we plan to sell the winner’s images — NO! We are not in the business of selling other photographer’s images! The purpose of this grant is to support great photography related to environmental and humanitarian causes).

People have asked —  what would we do if a Photocrati Fund Fellow’s project were to get picked up by a major publishing outlet that requires first rights or exclusive rights. Answer: We would be thrilled for our Photocrati Fellow. In fact, this did happen with our wonderful 2011 Photocrati Fund winner, Paul Colangelo. His project work is still embargoed, and we are excitedly awaiting our chance to share it soon. Our goal is to support great photographers, and it is very exciting for us to see great photographers succeed!

Other Important Notes

Taxable Compensation

The Photocrati Grant is considered compensation. As such, the amount of funding that the grant recipient claims for their expenses may be subject to withholding tax. American citizens or residents should be prepared to provide a US Taxpayer Identification Number shortly after their grant is awarded, before the Awardee can receive the grant.

Photocrati will provide grant recipients outside the US with information and assistance in securing this number if they do not already have such identification. Grant recipients living in the US will be supplied with appropriate reporting information in the form of a 1099. Grant recipients living in other countries will receive 1042 income reporting forms.


Photocrati and Photocrati Fund staff along with the Photocrati Fund Panel will make every possible effort to keep applications confidential and private. Applicant names and contact information will never be shared with individuals outside of the Photocrati Fund, without expressed written permission from the grant recipients.

Materials and ideas contained within the application will NOT be used by Photocrati, the Photocrati Fund, or by the Photocrati Fund Panel for any purpose other than the grant review and selection process, without expressed written permission from the grant recipients. Grant recipient images may, however, be used for publicity (as outlined in this document).

Communication with Applicant

The Photocrati Fund staff and/or Photocrati Fund Panel may contact grant applicants for further communication regarding their submitted application.

Updates and Changes to the Grant

As this is only the fifth year for offering the grant, some small changes in procedures may be necessary. Photocrati reserves the right to amend grant rules and submission guidelines for the Photocrati Fund.


All entrants by their participation, agree to be bound by these Official Rules. Photocrati reserves the right to disqualify any entrant who violates these rules, and any subsequent entries of the disqualified entrant. The laws of the United States apply to and govern this grant award and any claims must be raised and resolved in the United States. Additionally, entrants and the grant recipient agree to release, discharge, and hold harmless Photocrati, Photocrati Fund, and Photocrati Fund Panel, their affiliates, officers, directors and employees from any liability, claims, or damages arising out of their participation in the promotion and the acceptance, use, misuse, or possession of any grant. All grant recipients, by accepting the grant, agree to the use of their name or likeness for advertising or publicity purposes without compensation, and upon request, to provide consent to such use in writing.

Photocrati is not responsible for printing or typographical errors in any contest-related materials; for stolen, lost, late, misdirected, damaged, incomplete, illegible, or postage-due mail or entries; or for transactions that are processed late or incorrectly; or are lost due to computer or electronic malfunction. Photocrati reserves the right to cancel or modify the competition if fraud or technical failures compromise the integrity of the offer as determined by Photocrati in its sole discretion.



Q: The project that I’m interested in working on is going to be carried out in the country where I live. I would like to inquire if the fund can be used for the purchase of photographic equipment.

A: You are free to undertake projects without travel. You do need, however, to make a very compelling case for how you’ll use the funds. We’ll be happy to support the purchase of very specific equipment that is absolutely necessary for your project (i.e. underwater housing for camera for a project on endangered sharks) — but we’re not planning on buying your new Nikon D-3. 

Q: Can I apply for this grant if I am a pro photographer?

A: Yes. The Photocrati Fund is open to both emerging and pro photographers.

Q: Can two photographers (or a team) apply for the grant working on the same project getting the same amount of money ($5,000)?

A: We would consider that if you can make a case for it, and if you can provide a good explanation of how the funding will be spent. The maximum award would still be $5,000.

Q: I am planning to undertake a photographic project in a foreign country prior to the announcement of the grant winner. Would it be legitimate for me to apply for the Photocrati Fund for this particular project, considering that if I am awarded the grant, I would be applying the funds to expenses that have already been incurred?

A: We can fund a project that is underway, if we are paying for a part of it that will take place after the award (i.e. someone has been working for six months on photographing, and they want funding to work on it for two more months in the fall – that we can fund). We just can’t fund projects in which the photographer has completed a project and wants to use funds to reimburse for funds already spent.

Q: Your site mentioned that the grant is intended to fund one month of full time photography work in the field. I imagine this means that the grant committee will want the information in a budget to reflect that as well. If I propose a project that I believe, from my previous experience working on the project, will merit three months of work, and I propose that, will that hurt or disqualify my proposal, even if my project fits within the $5,000?

A: Absolutely no problem if a project extends longer than three months. We would like to see details on how you plan to spend the money. Also, if a proposed project will last longer (i.e. a year or so) a photographer can make a case for using the Photocrati Fund for a segment or portion of the project.


Q: Could you please clarify whether the personal statement and project statement and Bio are all supposed to be on one page? Is it one page for everything … and then the photos? Or is the bio a separate page and the project statement a separate page?

A: Your application should consist of just two items: a one-page project statement and bio (and budget), and a link to your online portfolio submitted via email to: Your entire application should fit onto one page. We want to get an overview of who you are, what you do, what your skills are, and what your project is all about — ALL IN ONE PAGE! It’s tough to whittle down such important information to one page — but it helps keep things fair and consistent for our judges.

Q: Can I send my statement, bio, and images through postal mail?

A: No. We only accept applications via email. For details, be sure to check the application guidelines on the Photocrati Fund page (listed above).

Q: Can I just send you my bio in an email message?

A: No. We have specific requirements for the application. Below are the instructions for submitting your Project Statement and Bio. It is important that all submissions follow this formatting to keep applications fair and consistent for the judges.

The project statement should be a maximum of 1-page in Microsoft Word (or compatible) format or in a PDF. PLEASE SAVE YOUR PROJECT USING YOUR NAME AND/OR YOUR PROJECT TITLE. Please include the following information, in this order, in the heading:

  • Applicant’s Full Name:
  • Project Title:
  • Project Location:
  • Applicant’s Email:
  • Applicant’s Phone (including country code):
  • Applicant’s Home Country:
  • Web Address of Online Portfolio:

The personal statement should describe the proposed project in detail, including:

  • Who or what will be photographed?
  • Why is this project important? Include historical, environmental, or cultural background to the project as appropriate. You should display good substantive knowledge of your subject matter.
  • What positive consequences might result from this project? We are interested in projects that will have a tangible impact or contribution.
  • What background and preparation do you have that will enable you to carry out the project? This should include a description of your photographic training or background as well as your knowledge or training related to the subject matter of your project (i.e., language or cultural study, previous experience in the specified country or location, environmental or biological background, and contacts with a specific local organization or experts with whom you wish to work, etc).
  • If the proposed project will take place in a country other than your own, please describe your preparations for working in the proposed project location (i.e. visa preparations, local contacts, health vaccinations, language training, etc.).
  • How do you plan to spend the grant funds? You MUST include a rough budget.

Q: How many photos can I submit? What size?

A: You do not need to submit photos. All you need to do is provide a link to your online portfolio when you submit your one-page project statement and bio. We’d like to see cohesive photo essays or galleries (preferably related in some way to the topic of your project). We’re looking for between 15-30 images (roughly). We no longer accept password protected galleries. Please provide a specific link to your gallery.

Q: I do not see a procedure outlined to send pictures. Should I send some of the pictures I have so far?

A: There is not a requirement to send pictures. Your application should consist of just two items (all ONE page): a one-page project statement and bio, and a link to your online portfolio submitted via email to: Please include “2015 Photocrati Fund” in the subject of the email.

Q: Are you accepting applications this far ahead of the deadline?

A: The 2015 grant process is not yet open.

Q: I’m interested in applying for the grant, but I don’t have my own website. Can I just use my Flickr site?

A: We expect every applicant to have a pro-style website with galleries. There are many FREE website templates that are very easy to use. We recommend checking out the FREE WordPress templates if you’re just starting to build your own site.

Further Questions Regarding the Photocrati Fund?

If you have further questions regarding the Photocrati Fund or application process, please contact us at

Do not contact judges for any reason whatsoever in relation to the Photocrati Fund or the application process. The judges are very busy and generously make time in their schedules for this grant. (Photocrati reserves the right to disqualify applicants who disregard this mandate.)

All questions should be directed to the email address above.

Photocrati Fund Board Member Bios

Steve Winter specializes in wildlife photography, particularly on big cats. He’s been named BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year and BBC Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year. He was a two-time winner of  Picture of the Year International’s Global Vision Award and won 1st prize in the nature story category from World Press Photo in 2008 and 2014. Steve lectures globally on photography and conservation issues and has been interviewed on CBS Nightly News, 60 Minutes, NPR, BBC, and CNN. In November 2013, National Geographic published Steve’s photography book Tigers Forever: Saving the World’s Most Endangered Cat, with text written by environmental journalist Sharon Guynup.

Michael “Nick” Nichols

Michael “Nick” Nichols, a native of Alabama, is an award-winning photographer whose work has taken him to the most remote corners of the world.

Born in 1952, Nichols’s training in photography began when he was drafted into the U.S. Army’s photography unit in the early 1970s. He later studied his craft at the University of North Alabama.

He became a staff photographer for the National Geographic Society in 1996 and was named editor at large in January 2008. From 1982 to 1995 he was a member of Magnum Photos, the prestigious cooperative founded by Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa.

Nichols has photographed more than 20 stories for National Geographic magazine, including “Ivory Wars: Last Stand in Zakouma” (March 2007), which has raised awareness and funding to protect the elephants of Chad. In 2008, Nichols had an exhibition at the 20th anniversary of Visa pour l’Image and his photographs were featured in a National Geographic article on the elephants of Samburu.

Nichols spent two years documenting conservationist Mike Fay’s Megatransect expedition, in which Fay crossed 2,000 miles (3,219 kilometers) on foot from Congo’s deepest rain forest to the Atlantic coast of Gabon, studying Africa’s last great wilderness. Nichols’s work from this undertaking can be seen in the 2001 National Geographic magazine articles “Megatransect: Across 1,200 Miles of Untamed Africa on Foot,” “Green Abyss: Megatransect, Part II,” and “End of the Line: Megatransect, Part III.”

In 2005, National Geographic Books published The Last Place on Earth, a book featuring Nichols’s photographs and Fay’s journals from the Megatransect expedition. His work has appeared in five other books, including Keepers of the Kingdom, a photographic essay reflecting on changes in U.S. zoos; The Year of the Tiger, which focuses on the world’s remaining tigers; and Brutal Kinship, a look at the timorous bond between man and chimpanzee (with text by Jane Goodall).

Dubbed the “Indiana Jones of Photography” in a profile by Paris Match, Nichols has been featured in Rolling Stone, Life, American Photographer, JPG, and many other magazines. He has been awarded first prize four times for nature and environment stories in the World Press Photo competition. His other numerous awards come from Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Pictures of the Year International. In 1982 the Overseas Press Club of America granted him a prize for reporting “above and beyond the call of duty,” an honor usually reserved for combat photographers.

Nichols is also very involved in fostering community among photographers. In 2007, he founded and co-directed the inaugural Look 3: Festival of the Photograph in Charlottesville, Virginia. This three-day celebration of peace, love and photography has been a sold-out success and has included interviews and slide shows from established photographers as well as an interactive gallery exhibit encouraging all festival attendees to share their work.

In 2011, Nichols began the epic adventure: covering the lions of the Serengeti for National Geographic. Over the course of several in-depth field assignments, Nichols documented the complexities of life with lions and the inevitable conflicts with humans. In the works for more than a decade, Nichols brought this story to National Geographic readers in the August 2013 issue of National Geographic: Serengeti Lions.

Steve McCurry

Steve McCurry, recognized universally as one of today’s finest image-makers, is best known for his evocative color photography. In the finest documentary tradition, McCurry captures the essence of human struggle and joy.

Born in Philadelphia, McCurry graduated cum laude from the College of Arts and Architecture at Pennsylvania State University. After working at a newspaper for two years, he left for India to freelance. It was in India that McCurry learned to watch and wait on life. “If you wait,” he realized, “people will forget your camera and the soul will drift up into view.”

His career was launched when, disguised in native garb, he crossed the Pakistan border into rebel-controlled Afghanistan just before the Russian invasion. When he emerged, he had rolls of film sewn into his clothes and images that would be published around the world as among the first to show the conflict there. His coverage won the Robert Capa Gold Medal for Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad, an award dedicated to photographers exhibiting exceptional courage and enterprise.

He is the recipient of numerous awards, including Magazine Photographer of the Year, awarded by the National Press Photographers Association. This was the same year in which he won an unprecedented four first prizes in the World Press Photo contest. He has won the Olivier Rebbot Award twice.

McCurry has covered many areas of international and civil conflict, including Beirut, Cambodia, the Philippines, the Gulf War, the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and Tibet. He focuses on the human consequences of war, not only showing what war impresses on the landscape, but rather, on the human face.

McCurry’s work has been featured in every major magazine in the world and frequently appears in National Geographic, with recent articles on Tibet, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and the temples of Angkor Wat, Cambodia.

A high point in McCurry’s career was the rediscovery of the previously unidentified Afghan refugee girl that many have described as the most recognizable photograph in the world today.

McCurry has published books including The Imperial Way (1985), Monsoon (1988), Portraits (1999), South Southeast (2000), Sanctuary (2002), The Path to Buddha: A Tibetan Pilgrimage (2003), Steve McCurry (2005), and Looking East (2006).

Jim Brandenburg

Jim Brandenburg traveled the globe as a photographer with National Geographic Magazine for several decades. His extensive body of work has been published throughout the world and his photographs have won a multitude of national and international awards. He was the recipient of the ‘Wildlife Photographer of the Year’ award by the Natural History Museum-London and BBC Wildlife Magazine, and twice was named ‘Magazine Photographer of the Year’ by the National Press Photographer’s Association (NPPA) for his National Geographic work. Brandenburg was the recipient of the ‘World Achievement Award’ from the United Nations in recognition of his using nature photography to raise public awareness for the environment.

Past Winners and Top Finalists 


See the blog post to watch the 2013 Photocrati Fund video.

Alex Masi – 2013 Photocrati Fund Fellow. Bhopal Legacy — Documentary photographer Alex Masi, the 2013 Photocrati Fund winner, focuses on the long-term impact of the devastating 1984 gas leak from the Union Carbide Indian Limited pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. The initial accident resulted in almost 4000 deaths; by 2006, more than 550,000 people were reported to have gas-leak-related injuries. Toxins in water sources and soil near the site have led to widespread contamination. Alex’s work documenting the lives of “gas survivors” and the work of medical advocacy groups aims to raise awareness for the plight of those affected.

Ethan Welty – Second Place. Unprotected Cascades – Conservation photographer Ethan Welty is working to create a comprehensive portfolio of the North Cascades, a stunning and bio-diverse region that is only partially protected with the 504,500-acre North Cascades National Park.

Philippe Schneider – Third Place. Where We Live Matters – With dignity and compassion, humanitarian photographer Philippe Schneider reports on the complex issues surrounding the evicted slum dwellers of Paga Hill, Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea).

Scott Typaldos – Fourth Place. Butterflies – Humanitarian photographer Scott Typaldos documents the difficult conditions and challenges facing patients with mental illnesses in Western Africa and Eastern Europe.


Allison Shelley, Not with a Bang; But a Whimper, Kiana Hayeri, The Day I Became a Woman; Marc Ellison, Pain at Sunrise, Regrets at Sunset; Sara Lewkowicz, A Portrait of Domestic Violence; Monique Jacques, Gaza’s Girls; Sean Gallagher, Jakarta: The Sinking City; Fausto Podavini, Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam; Rafael Fabres, Pacification; Natisha Mallick, Living at the Edge of Life; Benjamin Cherry, The Importance of Natural Corridors



Please see our blog post to watch the video about the 2013 Photocrati Fund top finishers.

Peter DiCampo – 2012 Photocrati Fund Fellow

Life Without Lights — Documentary photographer Peter DiCampo, the 2012 Photocrati Fund winner, focuses on energy poverty in his on-going project Life Without Lights. Around the globe, roughly 1.5 billion people lack access to electricity; almost a billion more rely on inadequate sources. Biomass, such as charcoal and wood or trash, serves as fuel for cooking and heat. Without improved access to sustainable energy, poverty is difficult to escape. For the second phase of his project, Peter focused on the devastating health impacts of energy poverty in the remote Bundibugyo District of Uganda. The World Health Organization estimates that less than 10 percent of Uganda’s population has access to electricity. In remote and rural areas there is almost no electricity at all. Thick smoke from cooking fires contributes to high rates of lung disease. Clinics have no refrigeration for medicines, and no lights for nighttime births and surgeries. There are no phones to communicate emergencies.

Ami Vitale – Second Place- Kashmir: Paths to Peace – This work follows the brutal conflict in Kashmir and the relatively recent wave of unarmed protests. The work illustrates the resilience of the people: how an old culture survived a war, and how a younger, globalized generation has been shaped by the conflict.

Anna Boyiazis – Third Place – AIDS Orphans in Sub-Saharan Africa- This work highlights the devastating impact of AIDS on children and families, and the hope offered by the peer education efforts of the Jane Goodall Institute, Uganda, to ‘turn the tide of HIV’.

Laura El-Tantawy – Fourth Place – In the Shadow of the Pyramids – Tantawy explores Egypt’s identity as a nation in transition. Started in 2005, In the Shadow of the Pyramids, has followed the trials and tribulations, the hope and the violence, the time of Mubarak and the looming future. Now, post-revolution, this is a story of a nation reawakening from decades of political, social and economic repression.


The 2011 Photocrati Fund Fellow: Paul Colangelo

Project Title: Surviving Todagin

Location: Sacred Headwaters Region, British Columbia

Second Place: Robin Hammond

Still Human – Mental Health in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Struggle for Dignity

Location: Sub-Saharan Africa

Third Place: Matt Eich

Sin & Salvation in Baptist Town

Location: New Orleans, LA, USA


The 2010 Photocrati Fund Fellow: Mark J. Davis

Project Title: Fishing For Leftovers
Location: Southern Chile

Second Place: Bharat Choudhary

Location: Mizoram, India

Third Place: Anna Beeke

Location: Morocco

Fourth Place: Malin Fezehai


Location: Kiribati

Fifth Place: Anna Maria Barry-Jester

Location: India

Other top finishers:

Oliver Michael Edwards (sensory impairment), Laura El-Tantawy (suicide among male Indian farmers), Andrew Cullen (winter disaster in Mongolia), David Belluz (self immolation in Afghanistan), and Ryan Gauvin (depleted uranium/Balkan states).

For more information about these outstanding photographers and their projects (and links to their websites), please visit our announcement on the Photocrati Blog.