Announcing $5000 Photocrati Fund Grants for Photographers

Hello Photocrati Readers,

We’re proud to announce the formal opening of our first Photocrati Fund Grant Competition. The Fund will give away one $5000 grant this year for a non-professional photographer to undertake a an important humanitarian, environmental, or social photography project. Photocrati is excited to have some of the most celebrated environmental and cultural photographers in the world acting as board members and judges for the competition:

Steve McCurry
Michael “Nick” Nichols
Art Wolfe

The Need for Photography of Important Humanitarian, Environmental, and Social Issues

I’ve interacted with a lot of photographers over the years, and I’ve come to believe that photographers, as a group, are more inclined than the average population to want to harness their hobby/profession (depending on your status) to promote important causes. Like most photographers, I also believe in the profound impact that great photography can have by creating awareness and motivating others to take action.

Unfortunately, the most important stories and causes are often the ones that are least likely to provide compensation, so they often go uncovered, unphotographed, untold. Covering an important, but little known humanitarian crisis or environmental issue too often means fronting the costs yourself and then struggling to make it up financially through a quilt of stock image sales, magazine stories, print sales, or other channels.

This phenomena has been exacerbated by recent trends. In the past, these kinds of stories might have been covered by a photographer on assignment with an important newspaper or magazine. But today — because of the economic downturn, the decline in advertising revenues, the shift from print publications to online media and blogs, and the exponential growth of digital stock imagery — media companies of all stripes are moving away from assignment-based photography. As a consequence, there are fewer and fewer sources of funds to take on big projects. It’s easy to imagine a future where funding for such projects will come mostly or entirely from foundations and other institutions of philanthropic giving.

The Photocrati Fund

We hope the Photocrati Fund will help fill this growing gap and become an ongoing source of funding for mini-assignments to cover important, untold projects. We also hope the Fund will become a platform for emerging photographers. We’re looking for talented photographers on the cusp of making it, those with great creative and technical mastery, but also with the dedication to focus on a single project with intensity over time. We want to give such photographers a high-profile platform for distinguishing themselves and becoming better known in the field.

This starts by putting the work of Photocrati Grant winners in front of some of the biggest names in the field. Our panel of judges includes Steve McCurry, Michael “Nick” Nichols, and Art Wolfe – some of the most celebrated environmental and cultural photographers in the world. They’ll have the final say on who wins the competition.

The winner will be announced annually at the Look3 Festival in Charlottesville VA, an amazing celebration of photography, or at the emerging photographers festival that replaces Look3 every 3-4 years. A selection of resulting images from the winner’s project will be posted prominently on Photocrati, and possibly exhibited at Look3 along with a number of other high profile venues (still in discussion!).

Thanks and Good Luck!

We’re excited about the chance to give back the photography community, and to make a bigger difference in the world at the same time. Please feel free to pass on this information to other photographer whom you think would benefit. For more information about the competition, please check the Photocrati Fund page.

Thanks and good luck to those who choose to compete in this year’s competition!

Erick Danzer
Editor, Photocrati

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. I would like to inquire some information about this competition. Is it open to international photographers? How many photos do we need to upload? Is one photo enough? How can we upload the photos?

    Thank you very much for any feedback that you can give me.

    1. Hi Christopher,

      The program is open to international photographers, and all the information you need for what to submit (and how) can be found on the Photocrati Fund page. Have a look at that and if you still have question, you can follow up here. Thanks!


  2. Hi, as aphotographeri would love to enter in this contest but i’m not sure how to submit my images, or what the requirements are

  3. Pl let me know the submission date and how many photographs will be submitted in this project. Should I send the images through the mail pl clarify.
    hope to get the response as early as possible.

  4. Dear Erick
    I would like to ask you if the program is open to photography student?
    As I know photography student is still considered non professional photographer.
    I looked through the guidelines but I couldn’t find any information about it.



  5. Hi Su,

    Thanks for the question. Yes, this contest is open to students. Best wishes,


  6. I do photography but am currently unemployed and make very little money on my photography. I wanted to know if I’m eligible to apply for the program.

  7. hi there,

    I was wondering what you would consider as a pro photographer, i have a degree in photography. I have undertaken in some personal projects. Photography is not my main source of income, but i do work as a part time studio photographer.

    Would i able to apply


  8. In a world of everyone with a cellphone camera is a photographer, and sound-bite news, real photographers with a penchant for telling stories, need now more than ever the assistance of organizations like these to help execute their vision. Personally I have been a fine art photographer for some time now, and am just beginning to delve into the world of photojournalism. I find as stated above that the abundance of stock photography, and waning of print media, it has become increasingly difficult to find an outlet who would be willing to help share your story. Organizations like Photocarati with its line-up of respected professionals like the three chosen judges, and programs like this, are indispensable. I thank you all for even giving us this opportunity. Good luck to everyone.

  9. This is such a great idea and opportunity. Very encouraging to see grants such as this available to aspiring non-professionals.

  10. Hello –

    Could you please clarify whether the personal statment and project statement and Bio are all suppose to be in 1 page? Is it 1 page for everything…….and then the 30 photos? Or is the bio a seperate 1 page and the project statement a seperate 1 page.

    Thank you,


  11. Will the unsuccessful applicants be advised and will they receive any feed back on their submission?


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