CDS Documentary Essay Prize

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CDS DOCUMENTARY ESSAY PRIZE IN PHOTOGRAPHY All entries must have one thing in common: evidence that they were created with reliance on documentary methods and immersive fieldwork. We are interested in work that directs its gaze outward, that curiously engages with the world, and that is, as former CDS director Tom Rankin describes, “derived from an in-depth understanding of place, history, and the current situation, in concert with a personal relationship to the proposed work. Ultimately, the commitment is to use documentary expression to motivate the thinking and re?ection of others.” The judging will be based only on the work as presented, with focus on the strength and nuance of the essay submitted as a narrative; the subject matter can be weighty or light-hearted.


  • The winner of the competition will receive $3,000 and will have his or her work featured in Document, a periodical published by the Center for Documentary Studies, as well as on the Center’s website. The winner’s work will also be placed in the Archive of Documentary Arts at the Rubenstein Library, Duke University.

The winner will be publicly announced in June 2018.

Enter 15 photographs in digital format (jpeg/jpg) (up to 5MB each).

Online submission of digital photographs via the website.


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