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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.

Applications can be downloaded from www.smithfund.org/pdf/smith2011.pdf or may be obtained by writing to the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund, c/o International Centre of Photography (ICP), 1133 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036, USA.

The W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography was established in 1978 following the death of Gene Smith, the legendary American photo essayist. It is today the most prestigious honour in documentary photography. Every year it recognizes a photographer who has demonstrated an exemplary commitment to documenting the human condition in the spirit of Smith’s concerned photography and dedicated compassion.

The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund independently administers the grant program that provides photographers with the financial freedom to carry out or complete major photographic essays. For 2011, the amount of the grant will be $30,000. An additional $5,000 in fellowship money will be dispersed, at the discretion of the jury, to one or more finalists deemed worthy of special recognition. Awards will be presented in a ceremony held in New York City in early October.

The Jury

The Fund’s Board of Trustees appoints a three-member international jury every year. The jury meets twice. At its first session it reviews all the applications and proposals, and selects finalists primarily on the basis of the substantive (and intellectual) merit of their project. The finalists are only then asked to submit a comprehensive photographic print portfolio, to write (if necessary) a more detailed and focused proposal, and to answer questions about their project.

At its second session, the jury reviews the new materials and proceeds to select the grant recipient and the beneficiaries of the fellowship money.

Submission Guidelines

Applicants should include a written proposal that is concise, journalistically realizable, visually translatable, and humanistically driven, and a resume of educational and professional qualifications. Additionally, applicants must demonstrate evidence of their photographic ability and submit between 20 and 40 images. The Fund’s preferred method of submission is jpegs on a CD or DVD (no RAW or TIFF files). However, for those applicants who do not have access to digital technology, the Fund will accept between 20-40 traditional or digital work prints instead, provided they are no larger than 18 × 24 cms or 8 × 10 inches (See below for submission guidelines).

The applicant must affirm that the proposed project is ongoing.

No preliminary materials will be returned unless expressly requested by the applicant, and sent accompanied either by a self-addressed stamped envelope or appropriate packaging and a prepaid courier waybill. Non-returned materials will be destroyed at the end of the entire judging process. The Fund is not responsible for loss or damage to any work. There is no entry fee.

File specifications for W. Eugene Smith Grant submission

  • Text Documents
    • The files should be saved as Microsoft Word documents. Name the files with your first and last names and use an underscore to separate the names. At the end of the file name add CV for the curriculum vitae. For your W. Eugene Smith Project Description, add PD. For your W. Eugene Smith Grant Application, add GA.
***Example: John_SmithCV.doc, John_SmithAS.doc and John_SmithGA.doc.
  • Images
    • The images need to be JPEG files with minimum dimensions of 3000 pixels, and a resolution of 72dpi. Name the files with your first and last names and use an underscore to separate the names. At the end of the file name add a sequence number starting with: 01.
      • Example: John_Smith01.jpg, John_Smith02.jpg, John_Smith03.jpg
  • CD Preparation
    • Place all your files in one folder. Name the folder with your first and last names and use an underscore to separate your name. Burn to a CD and submit. If return is desired, please enclosed a self addressed stamped envelope.

Send all submissions to:

W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund
c/o International Center of Photography
1133 Avenue of the Americas
New York, New York 10036 – USA
Grant & Fellowship Recipient Responsibilities:

In the event the applicant is the recipient of the Smith Grant, applicant hereby agree to donate to the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund, as an unrestricted gift, twelve digital images of work completed as part of the project proposed herein. Applicant agrees to deliver six of said images to the Fund nine months after receiving the Grant, and the remaining six of said images within eighteen months after receiving the Grant.

The images shall become part of the W. Eugene Smith Legacy Collection at the International Center of Photography in New York. Applicant also agrees that as part of the unrestricted gift, the Smith Fund may exhibit the images and may use them to promote the activities of the Fund.

Applicant also understands and agrees that, if applicant is the recipient of the Grant, $20,000 of the total Grant of $30,000 will be paid upon receipt of the Grant, $5,000 will be paid upon receipt of the first six of the digital images within nine months after receipt of the Grant, and the final $5,000 will be paid upon receipt of the remaining six (6) of the digital images within eighteen months after receipt of the Grant.

The digital images to be submitted shall conform to the following specifications:

  • Format: .jpg
  • Dimensions: At least 3000 pixels
  • Resolution: 72
 
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