The 2017 application deadline is: May 31. 2017.
The W. Eugene Smith Fund will begin accepting applications for the 2017 Grant on February 15, 2017, when the Website will be opened to accept application proposals.


Gene Smith Grant

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 concerned photography and dedicated compassion exhibited during his 45-year career as a photographic essayist.

The W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography was established in 1978 following the death of Gene Smith, the legendary American photo essayist. It is today the most prestigious honor in documentary photography. Every year it recognizes a photographer who has demonstrated an exemplary commitment to documenting the human condition in the spirit of Smith’s concerned photography and dedicated compassion.

The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund, INC., a not-for-profit corporation qualified under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, independently administers the grant program that provides photographers with the financial freedom to carry out or complete major photographic essays. For 2017, the amount of the grant will be $35,000. An additional $5,000 in fellowship money will be dispersed, at the discretion of the jury, to one or more finalists deemed worthy of special recognition. Awards will be presented in a ceremony held in New York City on Wednesday, October 18, 2017.

The Jury

The Fund’s Board of Trustees appoints a three-member international jury every year. The jury meets twice. At its first session it reviews all the photographs (submitted electronically), applications and proposals, and selects finalists primarily on the basis of the substantive (and intellectual) merit of their project. The finalists are only then asked to write (if necessary) a more detailed and focused proposal, and to answer questions about their project. Finalists are also asked to deliver a 1-3 minute video with audio describing their proposal. These videos will be shown at the Smith Grant Ceremony in October. This has been approved a number of times but not executed.

At its second session, the jury reviews the new materials and proceeds to select the grant recipient and the beneficiaries of the fellowship money.

Submission Guidelines:

You must register on this website by clicking the 'Apply for Grant' link on the side navigation. There is a $50 fee for grant consideration. No preliminary materials will be returned. The Smith Fund accepts applications through our online portal only. No physical submissions will be accepted.

Applicants should submit:

  1. A Bio and/or CV submitted as a PDF not to exceed 2 pages. Name the file with your first and last name and use an underscore to separate the names. At the end of the filename add CV.
  2. The Project Proposal submitted as a PDF and not to exceed 2 pages. Name the file with your first and last name and use an underscore to separate the names. At the end of the filename add PP. This proposal should be titled and lead with a one paragraph executive summary of the project. The proposal following should be concise, journalistically realizable, visually translatable, and humanistically driven. The applicant must affirm that the proposed project is ongoing.
  3. IMAGES: Applicants can submit up to 40 images total. These should consist of representative images from the project being proposed to the W. Eugene Smith Fund. The applicant can include in his/her submission, past work that represents the candidate's vision and his or her ability to execute the project being proposed to the fund. The images must conform to the following specifications: JPEG files with 2000 pixels on the long dimension saved at 72 dpi. Name the files with your first and last name and use an underscore to separate the names. At the end of the file name add a sequence number starting with: 01. Example: John_Smith01.jpg, John_Smith02.jpg, John_Smith03.jpg

In the event the applicant is the recipient of the Smith Grant, applicant hereby agrees to donate to the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund, as an unrestricted gift, twelve (12) digital images and twelve (12) prints of work completed as part of the project proposed herein. Applicant agrees to deliver six (6) of said images to the Fund nine (9) months after receiving the Grant, and the remaining six (6) of said images within eighteen (18) months after receiving the Grant. Additionally, the recipient agrees to provide 12 prints from the winning project to the Incite Project. $3,000 will be provided by the Smith Fund to underwrite the cost of production for these prints.

The images 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 images and may use them to promote the activities of the Fund.

Applicant also understands and agrees that, if applicant is the recipient of the Grant, twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) of the total Grant of $30,000 ($30,000) will be paid upon receipt of the Grant, five thousand dollars ($5,000) will be paid upon receipt of the first six (6) of the digital images and six (6) prints within nine (9) months after receipt of the Grant, and the final five thousand dollars ($5,000) will be paid upon receipt of the remaining six (6) of the digital images and six (6) prints within eighteen (18) months after receipt of the Grant.