The 2020 W. Eugene Smith Fund Grants

Recognizing the widespread financial need caused by the worldwide pandemic, the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography will break from tradition this year. Rather than award $40,000 to a single photographer, the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund will award $10,000 to five photographers whose work follows the tradition of compassionate photojournalism exhibited by W. Eugene Smith during his 45-year career.

An additional $5,000 grant will be dispersed as a Fellowship, and two finalists deemed worthy of special recognition will each be given a grant of $2,500.

To accommodate photographers who have had difficulty in applying this year, the Smith Fund has extended the deadline to May 30, 2020, at 11:59 PM EST.

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 evidenced during his 45-year career as a photographic essayist.

The Judges will be looking for a photographer whose proposed project seems most likely to use exemplary and compelling photojournalism (possibly supplemented by or incorporating multimedia) to address an issue of import and impact related to the human condition; social change; humanitarian concern; armed conflict or interpersonal, psychological, cultural, social environmental, scientific, medical and/or political significance, ideally expressing an underlying acknowledgment of our common humanity.

Applicants should submit provisional or ongoing work from an as-yet-to-be completed project that would likely benefit from (and likely be concluded if) the photographer were to receive the grant. Applicants may also submit limited supplementary past work on a related subject as a way of demonstrating the photographer’s ability to execute the new proposed project. A written project proposal is required.

The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation qualified under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, independently administers the grant program that provides photographers with the financial freedom to carry out or complete a major photographic essay.  

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