2013 North Carolina Documentary Photography Award

On the Road to Ellerbe, Rockingham County, North Carolina

The North Carolina Collection, part of the Wilson Special Collections Library, announces the 2013 “North Carolina Documentary Photography Award,” a proactive approach to acquiring photographs that depict current events, topics, or places within the state that have future research value to users of the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives (NCCPA). The North Carolina Collection will award $1,000 each to up to four UNC-Chapel Hill students (up to two undergraduate and two graduate students). To be eligible, undergraduates must be rising sophomores, juniors, or seniors during the summer of 2013; graduate students must not complete their degrees prior to the end of 2013 Fall Semester. A review panel comprised of UNC library staff will select awardees.

Objectives of the project

  • Obtain contemporary documentary photographs on topics for use by researchers.
  • Create opportunities for UNC students to explore photographically, within the context of documentary photography, their own areas of interest as a means of visual research.
  • Broaden awareness of the NCCPA to UNC students and faculty.
  • Demonstrate the value of special collections, especially photographic archives, to the university community.

Call for Proposals

Applicants will submit documentary photography project proposals as self-directed work that enables them to explore an issue of interest and to communicate their results to others. Projects shall, to a greater or lesser degree depending on the topic, involve inquiry, design, investigation, research, scholarship, discovery, and writing. Students may address local, national, or international issues, but photographs must be made in North Carolina between 13 May and 16 August 2013. Applicants are encouraged to consider UNC’s pan-campus theme for the years 2012 through 2014, “Water In Our World,” which calls for the University and all of its members and resources to mobilize around the common issue of water. See http://watertheme.unc.edu for more information. Proposals on other topics, however, will be given equal consideration.

Application Materials

  1. Documentary photography project proposal between 1,000 and 1,200 words;
  2. One-page resume highlighting proposal-related academic and personal experience;
  3. Portfolio of 20 photographs indicative of your photography.

Submit all application materials on a CD-ROM or DVD in a clearly labeled jewel case.

Application deadline

Submissions must be received at the North Carolina Collection, west end of 2nd (main) floor in Wilson Library, by Friday, 22 March 2013, 5:00 P.M.

Award recipient(s) will be notified by Monday, 8 April 2013.

Review Criteria

The primary award criteria will be the quality of the proposal, including:

  • Interesting, fresh, and significant research questions;
  • Ideas explained in an organized and compelling way;
  • Feasible scope of work for a three-month work period;
  • Methodology for completing the project;
  • Evidence of ability to complete work successfully;
  • Assessment of ability to complete work independently;
  • Quality of photographs submitted in application.

Applicants may wish, but are not required, to draw upon subject matter represented in the NCCPA. For example, Don Sturkey and Billy Barnes photographed poverty in the state during the late 1960s for the Charlotte Observer and the North Carolina Fund, respectively. Paul Cuadros documented migrant workers in the early 2000s, primarily in the Chatham County. For a complete list of photographic collections in the NCCPA, see http://www.lib.unc.edu/ncc/pcoll/collections.html.

Completion of work

The North Carolina Collection Photographic Archivist will serve as a mentor to the award recipients during their projects. To reflect the depth and breath of coverage, award recipients must submit at least 300 exposures, either digital and/or film. Originals must be submitted as unaltered RAW digital exposures or as film negatives with proof sheets. Shooting JPEG is discouraged unless conditions merit. Photographers will select 25 final presentation images that may be cropped. Digital presentation images must be presented in DNG format and may be printed; presentation images from film negatives must be printed. All work must have identifying information using IPTC Core, and must be submitted no later than 6 September 2013. Students will be working as independent contractors, with awards given after submitting completed project.

Rights to images

The principal goals of the North Carolina Documentary Photography Project are the acquisition of photographic images of notable subjects for long-term preservation, and to make those photographs available for use by researchers using the NCCPA. To accomplish these goals, the NCCPA must preserve submitted photographs so that they will be accessible to researchers for generations. Awardees must therefore agree to make their work available to meet researchers' needs, which include a clear understanding of their ability to use photographs made through the project.

By accepting an award, photographers consent that photographs submitted for their projects will become a permanent part of the North Carolina Collection where it will be available to researchers of North Carolina history. Award recipients will have two options concerning copyright for their photographs. Option 1 is an unrestricted transfer of copyright to the NCCPA; option 2 allows photographers to retain copyright, yet permits the NCCPA to provide reproductions to researchers for scholarly use, and for commercial use with consent of the photographer so long as he/she responds to requests in a timely fashion. Award recipients will sign a detailed consent form outlining these terms.