The IAFOR Documentary Photography Award is now inviting submissions on the theme: “History, Story, Narrative”.

Historians are far from the only interested party in writing history. In a sense it is an interest we all share – whether we are talking politics, region, family birthright, or even personal experience. We are spectators to the process of history while being intimately situated within its impact and formations.

How, then, best to record it? Is it always the victor’s version? Have we not begun increasingly to record “history from below”, that lived by those who are not at the top of the power hierarchy? Are accounts of history always gender-inflected, hitherto, at least, towards men rather than women? Who gets to tell history if the issue is colonialism or class? How does geography, the power of place, intersect with history? What is the status of the personal story or narrative within the larger frame of events?

The different modes by which we see and understand history, flow and counter-flow, nevertheless come back to certain basics.

One asks whether we deceive ourselves in always asking for some grand narrative. Can there only be one narrator or is history by necessity a colloquium, contested ground? Is national history a myth? And history-writing itself: is it actually a form of fiction, an artifice which flatters to deceive? What, exactly, is a historical fact?

We hope that the broad nature of this theme will encourage photographers to submit work from a variety of perspectives.

How to Submit

The final submission deadline is midnight on June 1, 2017 (GMT). Changes can be made to submissions right up until the final deadline. Applicants must be less than 31 years of age on June 1, 2017 OR enrolled in part-time or full-time education on June 1, 2017 (proof may be required).

If a submission is incomplete or incorrectly entered, it will not be considered by the judges. Therefore, please ensure that you carefully follow the instructions listed on the submission requirements page before submitting your work.

The results of this year’s award will be announced at The European Conference on Media, Communication & Film (EuroMedia), which will be held at The Jurys Inn Brighton Waterfront from Tuesday, July 11 to Wednesday, July 12, 2017.

In support of up-and-coming talent, the IAFOR Documentary Photography Award is free to enter.

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About the Award

The IAFOR Documentary Photography Award was launched by The International Academic Forum (IAFOR) in 2015 as an international photography award that seeks to promote and assist in the professional development of emerging documentary photographers and photojournalists. The award has benefitted since the outset from the expertise of an outstanding panel of internationally renowned photographers, including Dr Paul Lowe as the Founding Judge, and Ed Kashi, Simon Roberts, Simon Norfolk and Emma Bowkett as Guest Judges.

Now in its third year, the award is widely recognised by those in the industry and has been supported by World Press Photo, British Journal of Photography, Metro Imaging, MediaStorm, Think Tank Photo, University of the Arts London, RMIT University and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

For more information please contact Thaddeus Pope, Creative Director, IAFOR Documentary Photography Award (

Image by Yuyang Liu | 2016 Commended Entry

Thaddeus Pope

Posted by Thaddeus Pope

Thaddeus Pope is the Director of Design, Media & Marketing for The International Academic Forum (IAFOR) and the Creative Director of the IAFOR Documentary Photography Award.

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