Ira, who is HIV-positive, gives birth to Zhenia, her eighth child. Odessa, Ukraine, 2005. © Joseph Sywenkyj.


The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund is now accepting entries for its $30,000 Grant in Humanistic Photography. a.k.a. the Gene Smith Grant. It is designed to allow the winner to complete a current or future documentary project. Deadline is May 31.

In addition, it will soon be taking applications for the $5,000 Howard Chapnick Grant. Applications accepted June 1 – June 30.

Both awards go to projects produced in the spirit of W. Eugene Smith’s humanistic approach to storytelling — that which “documents the human condition with compassion and portraying his subjects dignity.”


This is a big one.

Past winners included Peter van Agtmael, Krisanne Johnson, Darcy Padilla, Lu Guang, Mikhael Subotzky, Stephen Dupont, Trent Parke, Maya Goded, Brenda Ann Kenneally, Gideon Mendel, Carl DeKeyzer, Cristina Garcia Rodero, Paul Graham, Graciela Iturbide, Donna Ferrato, Milton Rogovin, Eugene Richards and Jane Evelyn Atwood among others

“Each year we are both humbled and inspired by the quality of work,” say Marcel Saba, president of the Smith Fund Board of Trustees. “We are honored to have supported so many remarkable photographers and incredible projects.”

Finalists are selected by a three-juror panel on the basis of the substantive and intellectual merit of their project. Finalists are then asked to submit a comprehensive photographic print portfolio, to write (if necessary) a more detailed and focused proposal and to answer questions about their project.


The Howard Chapnick Grant is presented for leadership in fields ancillary to photojournalism, such as editing, research, education and management.

It was established in 1996 to honor the memory of Howard Chapnick who led Black Star photo agency, and acknowledges the value of his enormous contribution to photography. The annual $5,000 grant may be used to finance a range of qualified undertakings, which might include a program of further education, research, a special long-term sabbatical project, or an internship to work with a noteworthy group or individual. This grant is not to be used for the creation of photographs.


Learn more and apply at the Smith Fund website.