The Tokyo International Photography Competition (TIPC) provides opportunities for photographers to present their artistic visions beyond their country’s borders and fosters cross-pollination and cross-border collaborations.
10 March 2019
9:59 PM

Theme: Need/Want

Japanese website


One could argue that the needs of a person are relatively few: food, water, shelter, companionship. But most of us aspire - desire - to reach beyond our basic needs. We want for more. Unlike needs, wants differ greatly from one person to another. Some may want material goods: a car, a home, an expensive watch or piece of jewelry; while others may want things less tangible: travel far, climb high, dive deep, experience all that life may offer.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a “want” is defined as a strong desire for something, whereas a “need” is classified as something required because it is essential. In the age of technology and roaring capitalism, when the desire to obtain becomes so great that it’s mistaken for need, the distinction between these twin concepts has never been more blurred, or more stark.

This year the Tokyo International Photography Competition invites you to explore the urgent push-pull relationship between “need” and “want” through your photographic lens.

About Tokyo International Photography Competition – 6th Edition

Recognizing the difficulty faced by photographers in reaching foreign markets due to language or cultural barriers, the Tokyo International Photography Competition (TIPC) was created to provide an opportunity for photographers to present their artistic visions beyond their country’s borders and open up the possibilities for cross-pollination and cross-border collaborations. Each year, a jury composed of acclaimed photography professionals from around the world nominate 8 talented photographers whose work is exhibited as part of an international traveling exhibition that kicks off at the T3 Photography Festival in Tokyo (Japan).

What winners receive

  • International traveling exhibition of the winners in New York, Tokyo, Taiwan, and Ireland
  • Grand Prix Winner receives all-expense paid trip to T3 Photo Festival in Tokyo, Japan for the unveiling of the exhibition in Tokyo

Tokyo Institute of Photography (T.I.P) – Tokyo, Japan

  • T.I.P was founded in 2010 as a platform for photographers and photography enthusiasts. With a mission to support a cross-cultural dialogue between the Eastern and Western photography communities, T.I.P.’s programming includes local and international exhibitions, photography workshops at every level, and access to professional digital print labs and studios.

United Photo Industries—Brooklyn, New York

  • United Photo Industries is a New York based non-profit organization that works to promote a wider understanding and increased access to the art of photography. Since its founding in 2011, UPI has rapidly solidified its position in the public art landscape by continuing to showcase thought-provoking, challenging, and exceptional photography from across the globe.


  • Clinton Cargill, Director of Photography, Vanity Fair
  • MaryAnn Camillieri, Founder, Magenta Foundation
  • Alessia Glaviano, Director of Photography
  • Fang Yen Wen, Director, Wonder Foto Day
  • Taro Amano, Director, Sapporo International Art Festival
  • Vignes Balasingam, Vignes Balasingam, Obscura Photo Festival
  • Oluremi C. Onabanjo, Curator & scholar of photography
  • Ángel Luis González Fernández, CEO, Photo Ireland Foundation
  • Jennifer Samuel, Photo Editor, National Geographic
  • Siobhan Bohnacker, Senior Photo Editor, The New Yorker magazine
  • Silke Schmickl, Curator, National Gallery Singapore
  • Angelika Hala, Photo Editor, stern Magazine

Judging criteria

The contest consists of two rounds of evaluation. A panel of experts in photography will each review all entries and select a group of entries on the basis of creativity, sense of place, and capturing the moment.


Call for entries open
13 December 2018
Submission deadline
10 March 2019
Shortlist announcement
March 2019
Winner announcement
April 2019
Opening of exhibition at United Photo Industries Gallery
June 2019



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    1 to 10 projects per submission

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What is an entry?

An entry consists of no less than 5 and no more than 10 thematically connected images.

Is there a limit to the number of projects that I can enter?

No. You can add as many projects to your submission as you want. In the upload section click "add another project" for that.

Is there a theme for the 2018 Tokyo International Photography Competition?

Yes. This year's theme for the competition is "Need/Want".

Besides the entry fee, are there any expenses winning artists will have to pay?

No. We will cover the full cost of the traveling exhibition and opening receptions.

What if I cannot afford the submission fee?

Scholarships are available for photographers from countries without access to credit cards or where the $40 entry fee would be prohibitive. To apply, please fill out the scholarship application form.

Is this competition open to photographers worldwide?

The Tokyo International Photography Competition is open to all photographers around the world.

Photographers must be 18 years of age or older at the time of submission.

Can I mail-in my submission?

We no longer accept mail-in entries as an alternative to digital uploading. Please register on and upload you entries online.

What language should my artist statement be written in?

Please write your cover letter in the language you feel most comfortable in.

What format should I save my digital images?

You should submit JPEG images saved with max quality compression with a long dimension of 1,500 pixels at 72dpi, with either Adobe1998, sRGB or untagged color space.

My photos have been awarded in other competitions --- can I still submit them?

Yes. There is no restriction to submitting work that has been part of other photo competitions or prior exhibitions.

Can I pay by check or cash?

No. Unfortunately, we can only accept payments via credit card at this time

Will my images be sold?

No. You retain copyright to your photograph and your photos will not be sold or used for commercial purposes. Entries may be posted online so that viewers can view competing entries. Winning entries may only be used in exhibitions and promotions directly related to the Tokyo International Photography Competition.

Who will decide which photographers are selected?

A select group internationally renowned jurors from around the world will review all the images submitted and select the winning entries.

If I win, will I have to send in high-resolution files of my work?

Yes. Once the jury has made its final selection, we will contact you to request high-resolution files to create the prints for the traveling exhibition of your work.

When will the winners be announced?

Winners will be selected on or about March 25, 2019, and notified via email no later than April 1, 2019.

Where will the winning exhibition be presented?

Selected photographers will be invited to have an exhibition of their work at the Tokyo Institute of Photography in Tokyo, Japan; the United Photo Industries Gallery in Brooklyn, New York; Wonder Photoday in Taipei, Taiwan; and the Obscura Photography Fesitval in Malaysia.

Got a question not covered by this FAQ?

Get in touch with a member of our team via email, and we'll be more than happy to answer your questions!

10 March 2019
9:59 PM