2024 ZEKE Award Details

Entry Details

2024 ZEKE Awards Details

We are happy to announce that we will be giving two separate awards.
1. ZEKE Award for Systemic Change
2. ZEKE Award for Documentary Photography

Each awardee will receive $2,500

View all submissions to the 2024 ZEKE Awards here.

photo by Nicola Okin Frioli
Photo by Nicola Okin Frioli, 2023 ZEKE Award for Systemic Change recipient

2024 ZEKE Award for Systemic Change

SDN is proud to partner again with the Foundation for Systemic Change for the second year to award the ZEKE Award for Systemic Change. SDN will award one photographer a $2,500 honoraria and recognition of their outstanding visual stories documenting systemic changes leading to sustainable solutions to important issues affecting the world today. We are particularly interested in the threat to democracy and solutions to this global crisis as well as related issues including human rights, global health, climate change, migration and refugees, conflict, race and gender, reproductive rights, sustainable farming practices, and others. We look to photographers to educate us as to what issues are most pressing and the change that is being done.

ZEKE Award for Documentary Photography
SDN will award one photographer the ZEKE Award for Documentary Photography and a $2,500 honoraria to recognize their success in documentary visual storytelling about any subject matter with an emphasis on themes that affect the global community. Jurors will look at quality of the photographic images and accompanying text and how well the combination adds to our understanding of the issue.  

How to Enter
Entering the ZEKE Award  is identical to creating a standard exhibit on the SDN website, except that it is flagged as an award entry for the jurors and you pay the submission fee while submitting your project. Click here for details on how to prepare and submit your work to SDN. When you are ready to enter, click the Enter Now button below.

Enter now

Already a member of SDN and ready to enter? 
Click here or just login to your account and get started. Select Competition Entry as exhibit type.


Website open for submissions: October 1, 2023
Deadline for submissions: Extended to January 17, 2024
Entry Fee: $25 now through December 31, 2023.  $30 January 1 through deadline.

Up to 30 images can be submitted and all submissions include a free exhibit on the SDN website for one year.
Scholarships available. Click here for details



Two First-Place Winners will receive

  • $2,500 cash prize
  • Featured in ZEKE magazine.
  • Featured in exhibitions of ZEKE Award winners. Exact venues to be determined.
  • Featured in in SDN's email Spotlight sent to SDN's 8,500 members and on SDN's home page, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram feeds.

Honorable Mentions

  • Presented in ZEKE magazine.
  • Featured in exhibitions of ZEKE Award winners. Exact venues to be determined.
  • Featured in in SDN's email Spotlight sent to SDN's 8,500 members and on SDN's home page, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram feeds.


To be announced later in fall.

Entry Requirements

Entries must be documentary. We define this broadly, but an important quality is that the intent is to tell a visual story about the subject of your photographs. If the work is more about you as an artist, then it would not be appropriate for SDN or ZEKE magazine. Composited photographs (photo collages) are accepted only if all elements come from photographs that you have taken.

​All entries must have between 6 and 30 photographs related to a specific theme. The submission may also have a multimedia component to supplement the still images. Submissions must have an abstract to provide context (180 words maximum) and captions to accompany the photographs.

​Additional text about the situation being documented may also be entered, as well as a bio of the photographer, information on organizations working with affected communities, and other relevant information. Photographs must have been taken after January 1, 2013 unless the work is part of a long-term project that began prior to 2013 and continues to the present.

​All work must be submitted via the Social Documentary Network website. For specific image specifications, click here. Images must be a minimum of 1500 pixels in one dimension.

​All entries are automatically and simultaneously submitted for exhibition on the Social Documentary Network website and must follow all rules and regulations regarding exhibits on SDN.

​Exhibits on the SDN website need to be approved before going live. 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. Greater than 90% of all exhibits submitted to SDN are approved. The most common reason that an exhibit is not accepted is because it is not documentary.

​All submissions will be viewable to the public on the SDN website. Once your exhibit is accepted, it will remain live on the SDN website for one year. You may choose to hide your entry from the public, but if you hide your entry prior to the completion of judging, you will also hide your site from the jurors.

​Converting Existing SDN Exhibits to an Award Submission
Existing exhibits on SDN can easily be converted to an awards submission by logging into your account, going to the exhibit you want to convert, and click the blue button at the top of the page to convert to the awards. You will be prompted to pay the fee at that time.​

The ZEKE Award is open to professional and amateur US and international photographers. SDN current staff, Board members, advisory committee members, judges, and their families are not eligible to enter. Previous ZEKE Award first-place winners in the past five years are not eligible to enter. There is no restriction for honorable mention winners from prior years or for winners of The America Issue.

​Entry Fees
All fees must be paid using a credit or debit card on the SDN website. International credit cards are accepted. All entry submissions and fees are final and non-refundable.

Scholarships are available for photographers from countries without access to credit cards or where there the submission fee would be prohibitive. To apply, send an email to scholarships@socialdocumentary.net with an explanation of your need. Requests for scholarships must be received five days prior to submission deadline.

​Important Dates

  • Submission deadline: January 15, 2024
  • Judging: January 22–February 5, 2024
  • First Place Winners announced: By February 21, 2024

Use Rights
All entrants and winners retain copyright of their work. By submission for jurying, photographers grant SDN a royalty-free license to use their images for the purpose of subsequent display on the SDN site, in SDN & ZEKE promotional materials, and in ZEKE magazine. 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.

But submtting work to this Call for Entries, entrant acknowledge they have legal rights to submit images for publication on the SDN website, in ZEKE magazine, in SDN/ZEKE social media, and in exhibitions.

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 and website rules and guidelines.