International Documentary Photography Scholarship

About the Scholarship

The International Documentary Photography Scholarship is intended to encourage personal involvement in social issues, and promote socially conscious documentary photography. It is open to all fully-matriculated undergraduate and graduate students, regardless of degree major, gender, ethnic background, or country of residence.

The subject matter is entirely the choice of the student. However, it should clearly document a person, group of people, place, event, or happening of social relevance. Submitted images should be arranged and presented so they clearly tell the story of what is being documented.

The project does not have to be about people. Environmental issues, including land use or misuse, urban or rural issues, global or local events, will all be considered. The key is to indicate through your photographs that you are involved and are able to communicate your feelings about the subject you are documenting.

The medium of capture is not important. Images may be made with a cell phone, DSLR camera, view camera, or any other capture device, film or digital.

Scholarship Award


About the Judges

Anne E. Havinga

Anne Havinga is the Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh Chair of Photography at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she has been on staff since 1989. She looks after a collection that ranges from early daguerrotypes to contemporary photography. Her many exhibitions have ranged from the beginnings of the medium to recent work.

Ken Light

Ken Light is the Reva and David Logan Professor of Photojournalism at the Graduate School of Journalism at U.C. Berkeley. He was the first photographer to become a Laventhol Visiting Professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

He is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts Photographers Fellowships and the Dorothea Lange Fellowship. His work has been in numerous magazines, newspapers and a variety of media (electronic & film), and presented in over 230 exhibitions worldwide including one person shows at the International Center for Photography (NYC), Oakland Museum of California, S.E. Museum of Photography, Visual Studies Workshop, Visa pour L’image Perpignan (France) and the San Jose Museum of Art.

Glenn Ruga

Glenn Ruga is a photographer, graphic designer and curator. He founded the Social Documentary Network (SDN) in 2008 as a web platform for a global community of documentary photographers to present their work online. In 2015, Glenn founded ZEKE: The Magazine of Global Documentary, a print and digital publication combining the best work from the SDN website with in-depth articles about the issues documented by the photographers.

As a photographer, he has created traveling and online documentary exhibits on the struggle for a multicultural future in Bosnia, the war and aftermath in Kosovo, and on an immigrant community in Holyoke, Mass. 

Scholarship Award: $1000US

Deadline: January 1, 2022
(The full application must be electronically received by 23:59 PDT, January 1, 2022)

Notice of Award: The successful award winners will be notified by e-mail no later than March 1, 2022. The award will be mailed to the recipient in the form of a bank check on or before April 1, 2022 (recipients outside of the US will receive their reward via Paypal).

To find out the recipient of the award you may contact the Award committee after April 15, 2022, at
This is a blind judging. The judges will not know the applicants name, school, ethnic origin, country of residence, or gender. While you may include captions, do not include any identifying information on the essay or in the photo file that might indicate your name, school, ethnic origin, your country of residence, or gender unless this can be inferred by the nature of the images (example: the documentary is about your family and your ethnic origin can be identified).

  1. Completed on-line application
  2. Photocopy proof of college/university enrollment for the academic year of application
  3. 350-words or more about your documentary photo project, including who, what, where, when, and why. Include the project title on the essay.
  4. Drag and drop 12 - 20 JPEG (.jpg) photos onto the application form in the order you want them viewed. We recommend you use sequential numbering to name your image files (e.g., 01-[Name of Project].jpg, 02-[Name of Project].jpg, etc.).
Optional: You may caption the images by submitting the captions in the same order as the photos in a .txt or Word document along with your photos. 
Selection is based upon the application submission and student's demonstrated interest/involvement in using photography to document a person, group of people, place, event, happening of social relevance, or of personal importance. Scholarships are awarded solely at the discretion of the scholarship committee.
To submit your application for the documentary photography award CLICK HERE.
All submitted photos and essays must be original work of the applicant. Applicants and winners will retain all copyright to the original material they submit. Only one submission may be entered per student, per year. Duplicate entries will be disqualified. By submitting an application to the Anchell International Documentary Photography Scholarship, you certify that all the information you have provided is accurate and complete.

The applicant automatically grants Anchell Photography, Inc. (API), its agents and/or representatives permission to:

  • Use their name, photo, essay response, and award amount, if any, in announcements or articles (i.e. social media, newsletter, etc) issued by API.
  • Post the applicant’s name, college or university, photographs and an essay on website.
  • Call and/or send information to the applicant regarding their application.
Winners will be notified via email, and announced publicly, as well as on API social media pages.

Winners must show proof of enrollment or graduation during the posted dates, above, to an accredited college, university or vocational/trade school within 21 calendar days of being notified by submitting either a copy of the tuition bill or a letter of proof from the school. In the event a winner cannot prove their enrollment to an accredited college, university or vocational/trade school, API will revoke the award for that individual and award it to the first runner-up.

The winner agrees to provide individual high-resolution jpeg images or high-resolution scans of original prints or negatives for reproduction by API. The images or scans must be received with a signed statement granting API the right to use them, according to the stipulations above, prior to the award being released.
Email communications to API, the company, its agents and/or representatives may be retained in order to process or respond to inquiries or application as related to the scholarship. API, its agents and representatives will not knowingly sell, share, rent or otherwise transfer information other than in accordance with the terms set forth under “Terms & Conditions,” above.

E-mail all inquiries to:

Alternately, you can submit your scholarship application through Fastweb or