Production Grants to Individuals

The Open Society Documentary Photography Project offers grants for documentary photographers from Central Asia, the South Caucasus, Afghanistan, Mongolia, and Pakistan. With these grants, we support visual documentation of important human rights and social issues in the region and provide training and mentorship to local photographers.  

We will award approximately ten cash stipends in the amount of $3,500 USD each to photographers to produce a photo essay on a critical human rights or social issue in the region. Along with the stipend, successful applicants will receive two master-level workshops (past workshops were held in Istanbul and Tbilisi) on visual storytelling through photography and multimedia. These workshops are led by internationally-recognized photographers and industry professionals who will provide ongoing mentorship throughout the six-month grant term.

Eligibility Criteria
  • The competition is open to photographers from the following countries:  Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
  • Applicants must currently reside in their home country. Exceptions will be made for applicants from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan living outside their home country.
  • Applicants from other countries may also be eligible if they can demonstrate a long-term commitment to one of the designated countries (for example, by having lived and worked in one of the countries for many years). 
  • Professional and emerging photographers are eligible to apply. Photographers who have not specialized in documentary photography will be considered as long as the proposed work is documentary in nature.  
  • Technical familiarity with photography is required.  Journalists or activists who have not had experience with photography are not eligible to apply.
  • Applicants must speak English or Russian. 
  • Participants must be able to attend both workshops (in December 2013 and June 2014) and commit themselves to working and communicating consistently over the six months of the grant term. 
  • Collaborative projects will be considered and applicants from different countries may apply together (in which case each photographer will receive a $3,500 grant).
Purpose and Priorities

The Open Society Documentary Photography Project created the grant in 2009 to support photographers from the region who contribute to civil society by critically exploring current social problems. The focus of the grant and training program is to encourage long-form documentary storytelling that explores issues in-depth and over time, rather than spot news photography.  The program promotes personal and professional growth through guided and personalized feedback, project assistance, and professional education. We also recognize the lack of affordable, advanced training programs for photographers in the region. This grant program aims to help locally-based photographers compete in international markets.

We are also committed to furthering public dialogue around issues relevant to the work of the Open Society Foundations. As such, proposals will be carefully judged by Open Society Foundations staff and outside advisors to ensure that the issues are urgent and timely.

Guidelines

To apply, please go to docphoto.soros.org. Download the complete guidelines at left for more information.