Marilyn Stafford Fotoreportage 2021 award for female photographers is open!

As The Water Comes
(Image credit: Nicky Quamina-Woo / Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award)

The Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award is granted annually to a professional female photographer towards the completion of a compelling and cohesive documentary photo essay, which addresses an important social, environmental, economic or cultural issue, whether local or global that has a focus on positive solutions. 

Appropriately for a women-only award, submissions for the 2021 award open from 8 March – International Women’s Day. Submissions close at 5pm on Monday 24 May 2021.

One overall winner will receive The Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award of £2,000 towards an ongoing project, while one runner up will receive £500.

The work should, in part, showcase positive solutions to any issues it raises in order to contribute to constructive photojournalism, in line with the wishes of Marilyn Stafford and the aims of competition sponsor FotoDocument. The Award is reserved solely for documentary photographers working on projects which are intended to make the world a better place – and which may be unreported or under-reported.

Women from any stage of their careers are welcome to apply, whether emerging, mid-career or established, but they must have completed at least one full documentary photo essay to demonstrate track record. Entrants must be over 18, they may be any nationality and based anywhere in the world. It is free to submit an application.

Judging panel

The submissions will be reviewed by international panel, comprised of:

  • Andrea Bruce – award-winning photojournalist, co-owner NOOR photo agency, Nikon ambassador 
  • Donna De Cesare – award-winning photojournalist, associate professor University of Texas
  • Nina Emett – award-winning founding director FotoDocument, documentary photographer
  • Melanie Friend – documentary photographer
  • Neo Ntsoma award-winning photojournalist, founder Neo Ntsoma Productions
  • Marilyn Stafford and her daughter, honorary judge, Lina Clerke

The annual award is facilitated by FotoDocument and supported by Nikon UK, and the final work will feature on the FotoDocument and Nikon websites and will be published via social media and shared with international media for publication. Shortlisted applicants will be featured on the FotoDocument and Nikon websites and publicised via social media.

Last year's winner was Nicky Quamina-Woo, the recipient of Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award 2020 for her photo essay 'As The Water Comes’ about the effects of climate change in Senegal and local solutions being used to combat them. 

On winning the award she said: “I am so excited to be the recipient of the Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award 2020! Thank you for believing in the project and my work. We can be so isolated as documentarians, endeavouring to share stories - often independently with no concrete idea if our creative and storytelling efforts will resonate. This award is especially heart-warming, as the judges chose work highlighting climate change in Africa, with its abundant natural resources, which is often overlooked when it comes to environmental issues, even though it suffers the heightened effects of desertification and erosion."

Marilyn Stafford, the pioneering documentary photographer, commented:  “I started this award in 2017 in order to salute and support the many strong, dedicated, brave and talented women documentary photographers around the world, who through their work are fighting to right the wrongs of our world and to show that change is possible - they have my deepest admiration. In time, the award has gone from strength to strength, with the continuous generous support of FotoDocument and Nikon UK and to my joy it is now in its fifth year! My many thanks and deep appreciation to them and to everyone who has made this possible.”

Award timeline
Monday 8 March 2021: FotoAward launches / Call for Submissions opens
Monday 24 May 2021: Deadline for photographer submissions
Wednesday 26 May 2021: Receipt of applications acknowledged by FotoDocument
Wednesday 9 June 2021: Shortlist announced
Wednesday 30 June 2021 FotoAward Winner & Honourable Mentions announced

About FotoDocument
Founded in 2012, FotoDocument is an award-winning arts social enterprise, which brings visibility to positive social and environmental initiatives around the world through the medium of documentary photography. The work is intended to create a sense of active global citizenship by engaging participants and audiences in powerful social or environmental storylines which affect us all.

About Nikon
Nikon has long been guided by its corporate philosophy of "Trustworthiness and Creativity". By providing products and solutions based on its core technologies, namely, its opto-electronics and precision technologies, Nikon has consistently been a brand which is highly recognised and trusted around the world, contributing to both industry and peoples' lives. Applying the technologies we have developed to various fields and creating new values, which embody our vision of "Unlock the future with the power of light", we hope to continue to be a brand that always stands by our photographers. 

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Adam Waring

Adam has been the editor of N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine for almost 12 years, and as such is one of Digital Camera World's leading experts when it comes to all things Nikon-related. 

Whether it’s reviews and hands-on tests of the latest Nikon cameras and lenses, sharing his skills using filters, tripods, lighting, L brackets and other photography equipment, or trading tips and techniques on shooting landscapes, wildlife and almost any genre of photography, Adam is always on hand to provide his insights. 

Prior to his tenure on N-Photo, Adam was also a veteran of publications such as PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine, so his wealth of photographic knowledge isn’t solely limited to the Big N.