The IAFOR Documentary Photography Award is held at The European Conference on Arts & Humanities in Brighton, England. The award follows the theme of the conference, with 2015’s theme being “Power.”

Photography can have the power to manipulate memories, encourage thought and stimulate emotion, it also has the power to do these things across languages and cultures. The skilled photographer must hold power over their camera and manipulate the power dynamic between photographer and subject. Pointing a camera at someone can be seen as an act of power in itself.

The study and analysis of different expressions of power can move from serious existential questions at the personal level to complex social and even political problems at a wider level. Photography can depict the powerful and those moments when they fall from power, but it can also expose the powerless to the world. The dynamics of power resulting from wealth and status make rich documentary subject as do the struggles for power among the disadvantaged and marginalised. Power is also exerted in issues of censorship and publishing – which photographs make the front pages and which cannot be published?

We hope that the broad nature of the theme will encourage photographers to submit work that explores ‘Power’ from a variety of perspectives.

Image by Yasmin Balai | 2015 Second Place Winner

Posted by Thaddeus Pope

Thaddeus Pope is the Director of Visual Communications for The International Academic Forum (IAFOR) and the Creative Director of the IAFOR Documentary Photography Award.