Enormous $30,000 Photography Grant is Now Accepting Entries

From the project “Culture of Confrontation,” 2013-2014. Riot police prepare for the assault of Kyiv’s Independence Square (in Ukrainian ‘Maidan Nezalezhnosti’), Kyiv, Feb. 18, 2014. © Maxim Dondyuk

The W. Eugene Smith Fund has announced it is now accepting applications for its 44th annual Grant in Humanistic Photography which carries a top prize of $30,000, one of the most valuable grants for photographers in the world.

In addition, a second $10,000 grant will be awarded as a fellowship while a third finalist that the organization deems worthy of special recognition will earn a $5,000 grant. Finally, the Smith Fund is also accepting applications for its 6th annual Eugene Smith Student Grant, which will honor the top student entry with a $3,000 grant and it is open to all collegiate level students enrolled in full or part-time programs.

Since 1979, the Smith Fund has awarded over $1.2 million to photographers for their past work or proposed projects.

“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 dedicated compassion and humanistic approach to his subjects throughout his career as a photographic essayist,” the Smith Fund says. “Past recipients have included Maxim Dondyuk (2022), Nicolò Filippo Rosso (2021), Sabiha Çimen (2020), Mark Peterson (2018), Krisanne Johnson (2011), Stanley Greene (2004), Graciela Iturbide (1987), Donna Ferrato (1985), and Eugene Richards (1981).”

Last year, the fund awarded its mammoth grant to Maxim Dondyuk for the series “Ukraine 2014/22,” of which one of the photos can be seen above. It is a chronicle of Ukraine’s fight for independence that has been ongoing for more the better part of a decade and most recently through Russia’s full-scale invasion of the country in February of last year. That series can be seen on the Smith Fund’s website along with the other finalists from last year’s grant.

“None of the grants presented by the Smith Fund are endowed, and rely entirely on corporate contributions, foundation grants, and individual donations to fund its grants and fellowships. This year, funding was drastically reduced due to the global economic downturn, leaving the Board of Trustees with a difficult decision for this year’s grant cycle,” the Smith Fund says. “The annual Howard Chapnick Grant, which is presented to an individual or entity for their support of photojournalists, will not be presented this year. This will allow the Smith Fund to support its core Smith Grant and Fellowships in the short term while raising additional funding to re-establish the Chapnick Grant and build its reserves for future grants.”

Interested photographers can submit their applications for the 44th annual Grant in Humanistic Photography as well as for the Student Grant on the organization’s website.