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IAFOR Documentary Photography Award

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Event History

In 2015, the IAFOR Documentary Photography Award was launched by The International Academic Forum (IAFOR). This international photography award seeks to assist and promote in the professional development of emerging documentary photographers and photojournalists. Since the outset, the award has benefited from the expertise of an outstanding panel of internationally renowned photographers, including Dr Paul Lowe as the Founding Judge, and Ed Kashi, Simon Norfolk, Simon Roberts, and Emma Bowkett as Guest Judges. Though just in its third year the award has already been widely recognized by those in the industry and has been supported by World Press Photo, Metro Imaging, British Journal of Photography (Official Media Partner), Think Tank Photo, MediaStorm, University of the Arts London, The Centre for Documentary Practice, RMIT University, and the Medill School of Journalism.

What Makes this event different?

As an organization, IAFOR’s mission is to facilitate intercultural awareness, to encourage interdisciplinary discussion, to promote international exchange, and to generate and share new knowledge. In appreciation of the great value of photography as a medium which can be shared across cultures and nations, across borders of language, and to inform and influence our academic work and programs, the IAFOR Documentary Photography Award was launched as a competition that would help underline the importance of the organization’s aims, and would promote and recognize best practice and excellence.

Copyright Policy

Entrants retain all ownership rights to their images submitted.

Image Usage Rights

IAFOR reserves the right to use any part of any images submitted for promotional purposes. Entry constitutes granting IAFOR permission to use winners’ names and likenesses for future advertising and publicity purposes without additional compensation.

2017 Award Theme – "History, Story, Narrative"

Historians are not the only interested party in writing history. In many ways it is an interest we all share, whether we are talking about politics, region, family birthright or personal experience. We are the spectators of the process of history while being intimately situated within its impact and formations.

How can we best record it? Is it always the "victor’s version"? Isn't it true that we have increasingly begun to record “history from below”, that is lived by people who are not at the top of the power hierarchy? Are accounts of history always gender-inflected? In the past there has been a clear bias towards men rather than women. Who tells the history if the issue is colonialism or class? How does the power of place and geography intersect with history? What is the status of the personal story or narrative within the larger frame of events?

The different ways by which we understand and see ahistory, flow and counter-flow, nevertheless come back to certain basics.

"One asks whether we deceive ourselves in always asking for some grand narrative. Can there only be one narrator or is history by necessity a colloquium, contested ground? Is national history a myth? And history-writing itself: is it actually a form of fiction, an artifice which flatters to deceive? What, exactly, is a historical fact?"

We hope that the broad scope of this theme will engage and encourage photographers to submit work that addresses these perspectives, and others that connect and arise.

Winners of the IAFOR Documentary Photography Award are announced each summer at the  The European Conference on Media, Communication & Film (EuroMedia: in Brighton, UK.

To learn more about this opportunity, please visit the Event Website.


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