New Competition Seeks Photos Defining Democracy

A new competition supported by the Annenberg Space for Photography and other public and private organizations invites amateur and professional photographers around the world to submit a photograph completing the phrase “Democracy is…” Winning submissions to the International Democracy Photo Challenge will be selected by a combination of online voting and an independent panel of judges. The competition is open for submissions through July 28.
The judging committee, which is co-chaired by documentary photographer Phil Borges, International Center of Photography director Willis Hartshorn and Academy Award-winning director Louie Psihoyos, will announce 36 finalists on August 19. Submissions will be evaluated on three criteria: Relevance to the contest question, quality of the image’s technical elements and creativity in completing the prompt “Democracy is…”

Between August 19 and August 26, the contest winners will be selected via online voting by the general public. Two winners from each of six global geographic regions (Western Hemisphere, East Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa, Near East, South & Central Asia) will be announced on the United Nations' International Day of Democracy, September 15.

The twelve winning submissions will be exhibited at the United Nations in New York, as well as at other galleries in New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, including the Annenberg Space for Photography. International galleries that will host the exhibition have yet to be announced by the contest sponsors.

Click here for more information on the competition including submission instructions.

—Eli Meixler

Annenberg Space Pioneers Digital Exhibition of Photos

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5 Responses to “New Competition Seeks Photos Defining Democracy”

  1. Kenneth Jarecke Says:

    If you insist on promoting this type of thing, at least be honest about it…
    Photographers, give away your hard work. There will be no monetary reward. If you happen to “win” your work will be displayed in the building of a multi-billion dollar NGO, that is perfectly able to pay for what goes on it’s walls.
    Furthermore, you as the photographer, are responsible for any trouble your photograph may cause.
    Finally, although you’ll technically still own your photograph, the sponsors… an impressive (and well funded bunch) will be able to use it in anyway they deem fit (including altering it). Oh, not just the “winners” of course, but every image that is submitted.
    PDN and Eli Meixler, this is exactly the type of thing that you should be exposing and condemning, not promoting.
    Louie and Phil, I love you guys and your work, but being associated with this seems beneath the both of you.

  2. Conor Risch Says:

    Hi Kenneth,
    Thank you for your comment. We examined the rules of this contest before posting information about it, and your assertion that the contest sponsors and organizers “will be able to use it in anyway they deem fit” is incorrect. If it was correct, we certainly would not have supported this contest by including it on PDNPulse.
    These organizations reserve the right to use the images submitted to the contest only “in connection with the activities and operations of the Contest,” i.e. to promote the contest and their support of it.
    Below is the full relevant clause in the contest rules.
    “Contestants retain ownership of their photos. However, by submitting a photo to the Contest, Contestants grant Contest Sponsors, participating organizations, and Platform Partner, with proper attribution through whatever means they deem appropriate, a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sub-licensable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, and/or display the Photo Submission, in any media formats and through any media channels in perpetuity in connection with the activities and operations of the Contest.”
    Conor Risch
    Features Editor, PDN

  3. Kenneth Jarecke Says:

    I couldn’t come up with a better description of “whatever they deem fit” than the paragraph of the contest rules you’ve just quoted above.
    What good is retaining ownership when everything else in this paragraph allows sponsors a worldwide license to publish, without any reimbursement whatsoever, any of the submitted work?
    How will any of your readers benefit from allowing Getty (as one of the sponsors) to redistribute and sub-license these images to any of their clients… for a fee if they like, without paying the photographers a thing?
    This clause allows the work to be distributed to anyone, anywhere at anytime in any form, forever. How’s that a good deal for photographers? For what, the (slim) chance to have an image displayed at the UN?
    How did any of this meet PDN’s approval when the rules were examined?
    Then there’s the very real possibility that a lawyer somewhere, anywhere, say France where street photography is practically outlawed, to bring a lawsuit against one of these sponsors for using the image (they could even claim it’s advertising), then who is responsible… the photographer of course, left high and dry, by the very same rules.
    None of this is even remotely cool.

  4. Bob McNeely Says:

    Thanks to Ken Jarecke for pointing out the lack of any consideration or understanding of what happens in these sort of events. The photographers are seen merely as button pushers owning the liability for any downside to the process and giving the ultimate “winners” the rights to any upside from their work. There is no possibility of anything good coming of submitting work to this contest.

  5. Mike Selby Says:

    Another PDN mis-sponsored contest that I won’t enter. Read the rules. Ugghh. What ever happened to a photo magazine supporting photographers rights?