New York, NY—As grants and fellowships for the arts decline amidst ongoing financial hardships due to the pandemic, the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund will again break from its 40-year tradition of honoring a single photographer. Rather than grant one photographer with a $40,000 grant, it will present five photographers each with $10,000. Now in its 42nd year, the organization has announced a call for entries to the W. Eugene Smith Fund 2021 Grant.
This follows a successful holiday print sale consisting of works from previous grant recipients as well as finalists. Moreover, since the fund’s inception in 1979, it has awarded more than $1 million. The grants have gone to photographers whose past work and proposed projects follow the tradition of W. Eugene Smith’s career as a photographic essayist.
In addition, the Smith Fund is accepting applications for the 4th Annual Eugene Smith Student Grant. It is open to all collegiate-level students. Furthermore, it is accepting submissions for the 25th Annual Howard Chapnick Grant. It honors an individual or organization whose services support photographers in the field.
“I am proud of the decisions the board of trustees made this year as we continue to adjust the structure, and tradition, of the Smith Fund to serve the immediate financial needs of photographers around the world,” said Phil Block, president of the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund.
Photographers and other industry professionals interested in submitting applications should visit SmithFund.org. Additionally, the deadline for submitting applications to all grants is May 30, 2021.
The Smith Fund will announce grant recipients in October. Due to the ongoing pandemic as well as public gathering restrictions, the annual live ceremony will remain TBD.
W. Eugene Smith Fund 2021 Grant
The W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography is presented annually. It goes 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.
Past recipients have included Sabiha Cimen (2020); James Nachtwey (1993); Eli Reed (1992); Sebastião Salgado (1982); and Jane Evelyn Atwood (1980).
The Smith Student Grant
Now in its fourth year, the Smith Fund Student Grant encourages students to utilize the photographic medium as a form of humanistic observation as well as social activism. What’s more, the $5,000 grant provides a special category for all collegiate-level students (photo and non-photo majors) to submit their documentary photography and tell their stories.
The 25th Annual Howard Chapnick Grant
Last year, the Smith Fund board of trustees increased the Howard Chapnick Grant to $10,000. The grant is presented to an individual for his or her leadership in any field ancillary to photojournalism; this includes such fields as picture editing, research, education and management.
This grant is not intended for photographers but for those who support them. Since 1996, it has honored the memory of Howard Chapnick who led the Black Star photo agency. What’s more it acknowledges his enormous contribution to photography.
In addition, recipients may use the grant to finance a range of qualified undertakings. These might include a program of further education; special research; a long-term sabbatical project; or an internship to work with a noteworthy group or individual. Furthermore, this grant is not for the creation or production of photographs.
International Partnerships and Entrant Diversity
The Smith Fund also announced it will maintain partnerships with several international photo organizations. It will do so to encourage documentary photographers from a various demographic and socio-economic backgrounds to submit work to the Smith Fund Grant.
These partnerships, first established in 2019, give organizations the ability to waive entry fees for the Smith Grant ($50), Chapnick Grant ($50) and Smith Student Grant ($10). Entrants should visit entry rules to determine if they qualify for the fee waiver.
Organizations currently partnering with the W. Eugene Smith Fund include African Photojournalism Database; Arab Documentary Photography Program; Authority Collective; Diversify Photo; Foto Feminas; Natives Photograph; as well as and Women Photograph.