Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My hand. Kind of a symbolic image for a subject that I propose for discussion. That is the cost of entering photo competitions. Here are some costly contests that interest me, a few of which I have entered in the past:

Magenta $50
Identities Now $50 for 1-3 images, $100 4-10 images
Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 22 Pounds per photograph
Hey Hot Shot! $80
Critical Mass $75 first round, $200 second round

When you hear that the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize had more than 6000 entries, and that they chose an image of a young red headed girl as the winner (a re-occurring theme and somewhat of a fetish of the Portrait Prize), you wonder if there is any use entering, and if the prizes are in fact made for the benefit of the photographers or for the financial gains of the institutions involved. So are we giving them a hand out or are we the photographers too easily tempted by a potential win?

I will make my comments section active again so that you can chime in. Would love to hear what people think!


  1. That is absolutely shocking, I had no idea you had to pay to submit! Sounds like a major money grab to me.

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  3. I think we all have to consider these costs and weigh them against the potential benefits - but added up, it's a bit crazy. I feel strongly about American Photography and the PDN Annual, and see those expenses as marketing for my editorial work. And on the fine art side, I think that it's hard to argue with the fees for Critical Mass, given the quantity and quality of reviewers. Aside from the actual contest, those are the people I who I want to see my pictures...

  4. I agree Kevin, we need to choose our submissions wisely, and only pay for what we feel will benefit us, and think about the jurors who will get to see our work, whether we win or not, but I also think that these contests are taking advantage of the little bit of gambling gene that most of us have in us.

  5. What is rediculous about a gallery making $200000 on submissions then charging people admission to view the photos then selling the catalogue? Sarcasm.