The Howard Chapnick Grant

Photo by RJ Lozada. Pete Brook received the 2018 Howard Chapnick Grant for his work collaborating with incarcerated students to co-author “History 101: Photography In American Prisons,” a course curriculum on images in, and about, carceral sites in the United States.

Photo by RJ Lozada. Pete Brook received the 2018 Howard Chapnick Grant for his work collaborating with incarcerated students to co-author “History 101: Photography In American Prisons,” a course curriculum on images in, and about, carceral sites in the United States.


In 1996 the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund established the Howard Chapnick Grant, to encourage and support leadership in fields ancillary to photojournalism, such as editing, research, education and management. The Grant was established to honor the memory of Howard Chapnick, and to acknowledge the value of his enormous contribution to photography. As president of the photo agency Black Star, Chapnick was responsible for making and maintaining a network of photographers around the world. He mentored numerous photographers and taught annual workshops at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. In 1994 he published the book Truth Needs No Ally: Inside Photojournalism, summarizing his decades of experience in the field working with photojournalists. Chapnick was a principal founder of the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund. After his death in 1996, the Fund established a grant in his memory to encourage and support leadership in fields related to photojournalism.

The annual $5,000 grant may be used to finance any of 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. According to the Fund’s Board of Trustees, special consideration will be given to individuals, initiatives, organizations or projects that promote social change and/or serve significant concerns of photojournalism. This grant is not intended to be used for the creation or production of photographs, which will continue to be funded by the Smith Fund Grant and the Smith Fund Student Grant. The jurors for the Howard Chapnick Grant will be drawn from members of the Board of Trustees of the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund in Humanistic Photography.

The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund, a not-for-profit corporation qualified under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, independently administers this grant which provides the selected 2019 recipient with a grant of $5,000. The award will be presented in a ceremony held in New York City on October 17, 2019.


A biography with up to 1500 characters (approximately 275 words) and a CV with up to 2000 characters (approximately 350 words). The CV can be submitted as a PDF.

The Project Proposal should be titled and begin with a single paragraph summary of the project. The proposal description may be more fully described; however, this should be concise, journalistically realizable, and not exceed 6000 characters (approximately 1100/1200 words). The applicant must indicate how they will use the Smith Grant to realize their project.

Juror Information

The Fund appoints a jury every year chosen from the members of the Board of Trustees. The jury meets twice. At the first session, the Jury reviews the required materials: applications, CV’s, proposals. They select a small number of Finalists on the basis of the substantive and intellectual merit of the project. Finalists will be given the opportunity over a short period of time to refine their proposals and to answer specific questions from the Jury about their project.

Entrance Fee

$25 USD per project.

Application Fee Waiver: Through a partnership with the African Photojournalism Database, the Authority Collective, Diversify Photo, Foto Féminas, Natives Photograph, and Women Photograph, the Smith Fund will be making a select number of application fee waivers available to photographers seeking to apply to the Eugene Smith Grant and the Howard Chapnick Grant. Photographs who cannot afford the submissions fee should request a fee waiver from one of the following organizations before March 25, 2019. (APJD:; Authority Collective:; Diversity Photo:; Foto Feminas:; Natives Photograph:; Women


Call for entries open – 1 January 2019

Submission deadline – Deadline has been extended until 30 April 2019 at 11:59 pm EST. 

Notification to all applicants – 15 July 2019

Recipient announcement to public – 17 October 2019

40th Annual W. Eugene Smith Grant Ceremony – 17 October 2019


Is there any age restriction for applicants?

Can an organization apply?
While special consideration is given to ‘initiatives, organizations or projects’ that promote social change and/or serve significant concerns of photojournalism, the grant is constructed to recognize these ‘initiatives, organizations or projects’ through recognition of an individual. Commonly that person might be a founder, director or part of the leadership team, though this is not mandated by the Smith Fund.

Can students apply?


Can I submit my application by mail
No, the Smith Fund does not accept applications by regular mail. The application is online only.

When will I be notified of the outcome of the Chapnick Grant?
We will send an email notification to all applicants on July 15, 2019.

Does the Smith Fund offer guidance or commentary on the proposals?
No. The Chapnick Grant receives many submissions each year. With only a volunteer staff we cannot advise or offer feedback on submissions or proposals

Can I submit multiple applications for different projects?
Yes. Individuals can submit multiple proposals. “Add another project” during the submission process. A separate application (and fee) is required.

Can I enter if I live outside of the U.S.?
Yes. Except where prohibited by law, international applications can be submitted.

Do you still have questions?
For additional questions email:

Previous Howard Chapnick Grant Recipients

2017: Michael Shaw

Project: The U.S. Media’s Visual Representation of the US/Mexico Border Wall: Michael Shaw

The Reading The Pictures Salon will focus on how the US/Mexico border wall is depicted, and how photographers and the media are using imagery to depict the politics, to editorialize on it, or to outright challenge the politics from a human rights and social justice perspective.

The Salon brings together the eyes and voices of the world’s leading photojournalists, photo editors, visual scholars and other highly-informed observers to analyze select edits of still images in a unique two hour on-line discussion format. Offered free via the web, each program garners hundreds of viewers immediately, and thousands of viewers of weeks and months, attracting a targeted audience of concerned citizens, students, scholars, and media professionals.

Shaw says: In our ever-increasing visual world, I feel it is vital for citizens to become better “readers” and consumers of visual news and messaging. With “visual literacy” as our goal, we study the content of prominent and significant media and social media images for information, context, subtext, technique and acquisition, and well as agendas and stereotypes.

The goal of the project is to better understand how visual media is engaging with the issue of a border wall, and what that news and documentary imagery is communicating to media consumers.

Learn more at:


  • A History of Prison Photography written by Prisoners: Pete Brook

  • Our Democracy: Community Engagement and News Literacy in the United States: Andrea Bruce

  • The Refugee Project: Mike Davis

  • democraSEE is a new awards platform, established by Photo:, to develop contemporary photography stories and content from the Southern African region that deals with social, political and identity issues: John Fleetwood


Brian Storm (Chair)

Helen Marcus

Phil Block

Lauren Wendle

2016: Liza Faktor

Visual documentary producer and curator, co-founder of Screen

‘Practicing transmedia in photojournalism’ is an agile study of transmedia principles in storytelling and how they can be applied to photojournalism. Developing stories for multiple platforms such as print, film, books, art, interactive, broadcasting, performance, public spaces, and campaigns, gives photojournalists access to new markets and new audiences. With my project I intend to help photographers understand strategies and revenue models and to contribute to the healthy infrastructure and economics of visual journalism.

Learn more at


Brian Storm (Chair)

Helen Marcus

Phil Block

Lauren Wendle

2015: Tom Garber

Everyday, 1.3 billion photographs are made. Almost everybody has a phone with a camera in it, capable at any moment of taking a picture. The far reaching impact of this level of imagery is the subject of this documentary film project. Pixel Nation, will explore the social and political implications of the massive volume of shared digital imagery. Pixel Nation shows how digital technology has taken us to a world of images with a far greater social and political impact than ever before. The broad implications of the silent and seamless digital imaging revolution remain oddly unexplored in popular media. Being unaware of how we arrived at this rapid modification of communicative behavior leaves us ill-equipped to evaluate future technological advancements and subsequent cultural changes. A greater understanding of the impact empowers the users.

Learn more at


Brian Storm (Chair)

Helen Marcus

Bill Hunt

Marcel Saba

2014: Muriel Hasbun

Project: laberinto project

Inspired by the late Janine Janowski’s galería el laberinto, laberinto projects is a collaborative, arts and lens-based media, education and cultural legacy preservation platform, consisting of a digital photographic archive of artwork and documentation, and of video oral histories of artists of Central America, working during the Salvadoran civil war and its aftermath.

Learn more at


Brian Storm (Chair)

Helen Marcus

Whitney Johnson

2013: Marie Arago

FotoKonbit is a non-profit organization that provides photography workshops to Haitian youth and adults.

Learn more at


Brian Storm (Chair)

Helen Marcus

Marcel Saba

Whitney Johnson

2012: David J. Spear

Our Community Record Two Eagle River School.

David J. Spear and the Two River Eagle School, a tribal middle and high school on the Flathead Reservation in Montana, (USA) for “Our Community Record.” The project was created as a way for the students to connect with their community by documenting their culture and history through photography.

2011: Ryan Libre

Documentary Arts Asia, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Ryan Libre in Chiang Mai, Thailand, who will use the funds to build a documentary arts library and gallery as part of Documentary Arts Asia’s mission to promote visual literacy.

No recipient in 2010

2009: Richard Steven Street


Subversive Images: Leonard Nadel’s Massive and Unknown Photo Essay on Braceros in 1956

The work will be published as a book in 2011 by the University of Nebraska Press with the same title. Those powerful, subversive images of Mexican farm workers in Southern California in the 50s were suppressed from publication for political reason in those days. The book will expose the exploitations and human rights question and stimulate the discussion about the immigration policy.

2008: Ren Yue

Teacher on Photojournalism at Renmin University, China New Topographics: Beijing’s contemporary urban landscapes Documentary photography project for young Chinese photographers and students to record the changing landscape of a biggest community in Beijing.

(The Olympic Games have replaced traditional Chinese homes with modern compounds) The final goal is a multimedia program and eventually to be an exhibition. The grant will be used for travel expenses, tapes for video, digital recorder, films and the cost of exhibition

2007: Danny Peralta

Bridge Project

Miguel Anaya, Lyric Cabral, Mark Nevers and Bashira Webb are the fellow recipients. They work together under the umbrella of the Jocelyn Benzakin Fellowship. They are trying to extend their program into the communities and to work with young photographers providing community workshop, developing photo essays, offering editing and critique sessions and so on.

The project “seeks to empower individuals in communities negated by mainstream media…through photography and to provide them with the necessary tools to successfully tell their own stories.”

2006: Michael Itkoff


Project: Daylight Magazine

A quarterly publication, founded in 2003, is a magazine of Daylight Community Arts Foundation (DCAF). DCAF supports professional photographers by encouraging ongoing engagement in diverse expression in the US and beyond.

Grant money will be used for printing of the next issue of the Daylight Magazine.

2005: Stephen Edward Ferry


Project: Sierra Nevada Indigenous Media Project

To continue working with Gonavindua Tayrona, the main organization representing native people of Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta, Colombia, to create a self-sufficient documentary photography team formed of indigenous volunteers. The goal is to document the threats to the ecological well-being and cultural survival of Sierra Nevada.

2004: Manoocher Deghati

Photojournalist, Founder & Director of Aina Photo-Journalism Institute in Afghanistan

Project: Established in 2002 the first and the only Photojournalism school in Afghanistan to empower Afghans and provide them with the means to foster free expression and free press.It provides men and women of Afghanistan the intensive training and the fieldwork in photojournalism.

2003: Tamas Revesz

Photographer, Curator

Project: Masterclass for Photojournalists from Central and Eastern Europe

Workshop, Competition, book and traveling exhibition.

2002: Liza Faktor

Objective Reality Foundation, Director, Photo Editor

Project: Central Asia Photo Project

Visual narration of the economical, social and cultural realities in the countries of Central Asia- Kazakhstan, kyrgyztan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan,Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan-presented in the form of photo documentary and multimedia slide show.

The project results will be shown in five cities: Novosibirsk, almaty, bishkek, nizhny, Novgorod And Moscow.

Project timeline is from September 2002 to May 2003.

2001: Zana Briski

Photographer and Educator

The grant money is used to continue holding photographic workshops for the children of prostitutes who live in the brothels of Sonagachi,Calcutta, India, one of the most densely populated red light districts in the World.

2000: David J. Spear

Photographer and Educator

The grant money was used to help financing his year-long project in Flathead Indian reservation in Montana to teach photography to the Indian children and Caucasian immigrant children at high school level who live in the reservation. It resulted in photo exhibition in the community to bridge the cultural gap between two races.

1999: Peter Mecca

Former photojournalist and English teacher at Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, NJ (predominantly under-privileged black and Hispanic students)

Grant money was used to purchase equipment for Student’s Media Center where student create journal and documentary video.

1998: Dr. Shahidul Alam

Photographer and the founder/director of Drik Picture library in Bangladesh

The grant money was used to advance his project of establishing south Asian institute of photography.

1997: Susan Grayson

Historian, Researcher and Photographer

The grant money was used on her research on “New York Press Photographers” which was eventually an exhibit and book.

1996: Colin Jacobson

Editor/Publisher of magazine Reportage

The grant was given to his online magazine of photojournalism.


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