Competition result


Narrative Documentary: Still and in motion

While millions of photographs are taken daily and posted to Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, and other image sharing services, only a small fraction tell a narrative story and a smaller number would be considered documentary. For this call for entries, SDN is seeking submissions that create a coherent documentary narrative, first with the images and then providing necessary context with text and optionally, sound and motion. All themes, subject matter, and formats are encouraged.

This is the first SDN call for entries where multimedia submissions will be eligible.
Photography is no longer just the domain of the static image. Multimedia has become an important and effective tool for still photographers to add a time-based narrative element, combining motion, text, sound, music, and voice with still and moving images.

Entry Requirements

Deadline for entries extend to: Midnight EST, April 21, 2014
Submission fee for up to 24 still images and one multimedia piece: $25

All entries must have between 6 and 24 photographs related to a specific theme. The submission may also have a multimedia component to supplement the still images. Submissions must also have an abstract to provide context (150 words maximum) and captions to accompany the photographs. Additional text about the situation being documented may also be entered, as well as a bio, and information on organizations working with affected communities.

Photographs must have been taken after January 1, 2009.

All work must be submitted via the website at For specific image specifications, see:

Multimedia pieces that accompany the submission must use embed code from a video sharing service such as YouTube or Vimeo to view the video directly on the SDN site. Links to a video on another website will not be eligible. Multimedia pieces must not exceed seven minutes in length and the primary visual source material should be still images. These can remain still or be animated within the multimedia presentation.

Note for multimedia submissions: Use the Video field when creating your exhibit to enter the video embed code. You must also submit 6-24 still images.

All contest entries must be accompanied by full name of the photographer and contact information, including email address and phone number. Minimum of six images is required with abstract and captions.

Winning entries must be able to provide within 30 days of award announcement digital files of at least 3000 pixels in one dimension.

All entries and communications from entrants must be in the English language.


First Place

One photographer will be awarded:

  • Featured in inaugural issue of SDN Annual, with 8-10 pages devoted to the grand prize winner. The Annual will be mailed free to leading editors, publishers, photo buyers, and galleries, and available for purchase. Winner to receive 10 complimentary copies.
  • Featured in email Spotlight sent to SDN’s 7,000 followers.
  • Featured on SDN’s home page.
  • Featured on SDN social media.
  • Receive a one year subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud.
  • A $250 gift certificate to Digital Silver Imaging, one of New England’s leading digital labs and one of the few labs in the US to offering digital silver gelatin printing. For more information, see:
  • Receive a signed copy of Afghan Warrior, a DVD video documentary about Reza, a famed National Geographic photographer (and SDN advisor), and his journeys to Afghanistan to seek a portrait of a nation.

Honorable Mention

Three photographers will be awarded:

  • Featured in inaugural issue of SDN Annual, with 1 page devoted to each honorable mention. Honorable mention winners each to receive 5 complimentary copies.
  • Featured in email Spotlight to SDN’s 7,000 followers.
  • Featured on SDN’s home page
  • Featured on SDN social media.
  • A $100 gift certificate to Digital Silver Imaging, one of New England’s leading digital labs and one of the few labs in the US to offering digital silver gelatin printing. For more information, see:
  • Receive a signed copy of Afghan Warrior, a DVD video documentary about Reza, a famed National Geographic photographer (and SDN advisor), and his journeys to Afghanistan to seek a portrait of a nation.


All judges are members of the SDN Advisory Committee. SDN reserves the right to use alternate judges if necessary. The decision of judges is final. Judges are required to review the first 9 images for any entry and may choose to view all other remaining images. If a multimedia piece accompanies the submission, the judges will review it.

  • Barbara Ayotte: Director of Strategic Communications, Management Sciences for Health. Former Director of Communications, Physicians for Human Rights.
  • Lori Grinker: Independent documentary and editorial photographer. Author of The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (Jewish Publication Society, 1989, 6 editions), and Afterwar: Veterans from a World in Conflict (de.MO, 2004). She is represented by the Nailya Alexander Gallery in New York and has been a member of Contact Press Images since 1988.
  • Ed Kashi: Photojournalist, filmmaker and educator. Member of VII photo agency. Author of Aging in America: The Years Ahead; Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta;, and Three.
  • Reza: Philanthropist, idealist, humanist, architect and photographer. Photojournalist for National Geographic since 1991. Author of twenty-five books, winner of the “World Press Photo award”, “Lucy Award” at Lincoln Center in New York and the “Infinity Award” by the ICP in New York, he was honoured with the “Medal of Chevalier of the National Order of Merit”, the “Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service to Journalism” and granted the title “Doctor Honoris Causa” by the American University of Paris.
  • Glenn Ruga: Founder and Director,; Consulting Curator, 555 Gallery Boston; former Executive Director, Photographic Resource Center at Boston University.
  • Jeffrey D. Smith: Executive Director, Contact Press Images where he has directed the photographic coverage operations of the agency for more than two decades. Former Executive Director of Woodfin Camp and Associates.
  • Jamie Wellford: Former International Photo Editor, Newsweek Magazine. He teaches at the International Center of Photography in New York City and is currently a Knight Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan. Wellford also curates photography and multimedia shows that address topical issues in the world.


Contest is open to professional and amateur US and international photographers. SDN staff, volunteers, advisory committee members, judges, and their families are not eligible to enter the competition. Previous SDN Call for Entries winners are not eligible to enter.

Winner Notification

Winners will be contacted by May 25, 2014.
Tax liability in connection with any Prize is the responsibility of the winners.

Entry Fees

$25 for one exhibit entry of 6 – 24 images and one multimedia piece. All fees must be paid using a credit card on the SDN website. International credit cards are accepted. All entry submissions and fees are final and non-refundable.

All entries are automatically and simultaneously submitted for exhibition on the website and must follow all rules and regulations regarding exhibits on SDN. See SDN website for further information on fees.

Exhibits on need to be approved before going live (click here for more information). In the event that an entry to the Call for Entries is not accepted for the SDN website, the photographer may make changes to their exhibit and re-submit, at no additional cost, up until the entry deadline.

Photographers can submit multiple contest entries but individual photographs may only be submitted for one entry.

All entries will be viewable to the public on the SDN site.

Important Dates

  • Submissions accepted on SDN website: Starting February 20, 2014
  • Entries deadline: April 21
  • Judging: April 29-May 19
  • Winners Announced: May 26
  • Publication: Completed prior to end of 2014

These dates may be subject to change.

Use Rights

All entrants and winners retain copyright of their work. By submission for jurying, photographers whose images are chosen grant SDN a royalty-free license to use their images for the purpose of subsequent display on the SDN site or in SDN promotional materials. Entries grant SDN the right to use their name for promotion in any medium including radio, newspapers, publications, television, videotape, and/or distribution over the internet. Samples of the winning work will be released to the press for promotional purposes. Photographers grant use of their images as stated without further contact or compensation from SDN other than the prizes listed above. Photographer’s credit will be provided with all use. Winners grant SDN the right to use the work in SDN Annual (digital or print).


Entrant acknowledges that SDN may not be held liable for any loss, damages, or injury associated with this contest. Entrant agrees to indemnify SDN for all costs, damages and attorney fees resulting from any third party claims, including copyright infringement, arising from entrant’s participation.

SDN reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify any entrant that fails to comply with contest rules and guidelines. This Contest is void where prohibited by law.


About SDN (SDN) uses the power of photography to promote global awareness. SDN members include photographers, NGOs, journalists, editors, and students who create and explore documentary websites investigating critical issues facing the world today. Recent exhibits have explored oil workers in the Niger River Delta, male sex workers in India, Central American immigrant women during their journey north, and Iraqi and Afghan refugees in Greece.


Email us at