The W. Eugene Smith Grant for Student Photographers is designed to encourage and support students whose photographic work renews the tradition of W. Eugene Smith’s humanistic and compassionate photography. Special consideration will be given to work that promotes social change and that embraces new technologies and image distribution, and that seeks to integrate the tradition of photography and social change with contemporary practice. The Judges will be looking for a photographer and project that seem most likely to use exemplary and compelling photojournalism and documentary photography (possibly supplemented by or incorporating multi-media) to address an issue of import and impact related to the human condition: social change, humanitarian concern, armed conflict, or other topics of interpersonal, psychological, cultural, social, environmental, scientific, medical and/or political significance, ideally expressing an underlying acknowledgement of our common humanity. Applicants should submit ongoing work from a 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 proposed project. For 2022, the amount of the grant will be $5,000.
A biography up to 1500 characters (spaces included). A CV, up to 2000 characters (spaces included), is optional. The CV can also be submitted as a PDF of unlimited length.
The project description is a concise synopsis or summary of the project. This outline should be brief but comprehensive. Ideally, the project will be journalistically realizable, visually translatable, and humanistically driven. The description should not exceed 2000 characters (spaces included).
The project proposal should go into greater detail, describing the practical aspects of the applicant's plan. It should explain how the applicant will use the Smith Student Grant funds to launch or complete the project. The proposal should not exceed 3000 characters (spaces included).
Student ID: A JPG of a current Student ID must be submitted, as the 40th image uploaded.
IMAGES: Applicants can submit up to 40 images total (including their Student ID). These should consist of representative images from the project being proposed to the W. Eugene Smith Grant for Student Photographers. The applicant can also include in their submission past work clearly marked as such, that represents the candidate’s vision and their ability to execute the project being proposed to the fund.
Application Fee Waiver: Through a partnership with the African Photojournalism Database, African Women in Photography, the Authority Collective, Black Women Photographers, Diversify Photo, the Everyday Projects, Foto Féminas, Indigenous Photograph, the Magnum Foundation, and Women Photograph, the Smith Fund will be making a select number of application fee waivers available to photographers seeking to apply to the Eugene Smith Grant, the Howard Chapnick Grant, and the Eugene Smith Student Grant. Photographers who cannot afford the submission fee should request a fee waiver from one of the following organizations before March 25, 2022. Please note: You must fit the demographic makeup of the individual organization from whom you are requesting the waiver. (African Photojournalism Database: firstname.lastname@example.org; African Women in Photography: email@example.com; Authority Collective: firstname.lastname@example.org; Black Women Photographers: email@example.com; Diversify Photo: firstname.lastname@example.org; Everyday Projects: email@example.com; Foto Féminas: firstname.lastname@example.org; Indigenous Photograph: email@example.com; Magnum Foundation: firstname.lastname@example.org; Women Photograph: email@example.com).
The Fund’s Board of Trustees impanels a four member international jury every year. The jury meets twice. At the first session the Jury reviews the required materials: applications, proposals, and photographs. They select five finalists on the basis of the substantive and intellectual merits of their projects. Finalists will be given the opportunity over a short period of time to refine their proposals and to answer specific questions from the Jury about their project. At the second session the jury will review all new material and choose the grant recipient.
In the event the applicant is the recipient of the Smith Student Grant, applicant hereby agrees to donate to the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund, as an unrestricted gift, one (1) digital image and one (1) print of work completed as part of the project proposed herein. Applicant agrees to deliver said image to the Fund one year after receiving the Grant. The Smith Fund will disperse $4,500 upon award of the Grant and the balance upon submission of the final print. The image 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 image and may use it to promote the activities of the Fund.
Biography with up to 1500 characters
Country of residence
CV with up to 2000 characters (or PDF file)
1 project per submission
1 to 40 files per project
Allowed file types: JPG
At least 1500px on the long edge
Can non-students apply?
No. This is a special award conceived to encourage a commitment to social issues by current students. Non-students are eligible to apply for the W. Eugene Smith Grant. To apply for the Student Grant, you must be a fully matriculated student in the grant year and submit a JPG of your valid Student ID.
Can collaborators apply?
Yes. We will accept applications from multiple creative collaborators.
Can high school students apply?
Can non-photography majors apply?
Yes. You do not need to be a photography major to apply.
Do you need to be enrolled in an art school?
No. Any student registered for a full time degree, diploma or certificate program is eligible, on both undergraduate and graduate levels.
Is there any age restriction for applicants?
Can I submit my application by mail?
No, the Smith Fund does not accept applications by regular mail. The application is online only.
Must my project have already been started?
Yes, your work will be judged as a work-in-progress and the images submitted should be from this ongoing body of work.
When will I be notified of the outcome of the W. Eugene Smith Student Photographer Grant?
We will send an email notification in July 2022 to all applicants on the status of their submission.
Does the Smith Fund offer guidance or commentary on the proposals?
No. With only a volunteer staff the Smith Fund cannot advise or offer feedback on submissions or proposals.
Can I submit multiple applications for different projects?
No. Individuals can submit only one proposal.
Can I apply for both the Student Grant and the Smith Fund Grant?
How do you define a Project Description vs a Project Proposal?
The Project Description summarizes the project in 2000 characters or less (spaces included). The Project Proposal, up to 3000 characters (spaces included), should map out in concrete terms how the applicant will use the Smith Student Grant funding to complete the project.
What is the difference between a Biography and a CV?
A biography is a short paragraph summary of you (maximum 1500 characters, spaces included). A CV (maximum 2000 characters, spaces included) is a fully detailed list of your accomplishments, and is optional. If including a CV, it can be submitted as a PDF of any length.
My Project Description, Project Proposal, and/or Bio are longer than the length stated in the guidelines. Can I still submit it/them?
We strongly encourage applicants to meet the stated requirements.
What format should I use to save my digital images?
You should submit 72 dpi JPG images saved with maximum quality compression with a long dimension of at least 1500 pixels, sRGB color space.
Can I enter if I live outside of the U.S.?
Yes. Except where prohibited by law, international applications can be submitted, and in fact are encouraged.
I have been accepted into a Graduate program for the coming year but I will not have my student ID until August/September. Am I eligible to apply?
Yes, you are eligible to apply. With your application please provide a copy of the signed enrollment letter from your chosen school.
I am a professional freelance photographer but have been accepted into a graduate program in photography beginning in the fall. I am uncertain which grant, the Smith Grant or the Student Grant to apply for?
You would be eligible to apply for either grant, though you cannot apply for both. If you choose to apply for the Student grant, with your application please provide a copy of the signed enrollment letter from your chosen school.
I will be a student at the time of submission but I will have graduated by the time the grant is decided. Am I eligible to apply for the Student Grant?
Will my images be sold?
No. You retain copyright to your photograph and the Sponsors may not sell your photo entry for a fee. Grant recipient photos may be used in connection with the Smith Grant and promotion of the grant.
Can I apply for the Student Grant using the same project I proposed in the prior year?
If I was short-listed in the past year, can I apply again using the project for which I was recognized?
Do you still have questions?
For additional questions email: firstname.lastname@example.org.