Frequently Asked Questions

What are we looking for in an applicant?
We want quality images and a compelling project, one that can be relevant both locally and globally. We are looking for photographers who are passionate about their projects, who care about their communities and who see photography as both an art and a way to reach out to others. We want curiosity, an open mind and a spirit of goodwill and adventure. We want photographers who are willing to not only do the work, but also spend the time getting that work out to the public.

Our focus is on community based projects and by that we mean your community. We believe there are stories to be found everywhere and that it is not necessary to fly around the world to find compelling ideas for work. We prefer to invest in local stories, rather than in airfare.

Why did you discontinue the Emerging Vision Award: 
Our grants are awarded to community based projects because we believe that it is important to look at our own place and to work to make it better. The Mountain West is our place and so, our new award is the way we will work to make our own communities better. 

May I apply for both awards?
NO. Each project application must be submitted for a specific award. If you do not state your intention to apply for the $5000 Mountain West Regional award, we will assume you are applying for the $5000 Project Support award.

What do we mean by a physical vs. virtual exhibit?
To be effective, social documentary photography needs to be seen by as many people as possible. And, because we want our projects to focus on “real world" problems, we hope they are experienced in the “real” world. When we say a physical exhibit, we mean a gallery exhibit, a book, or a multimedia presentation. If your exhibit will only be viewed in the virtual world, detail how you’ll drive traffic to get the most views possible. Your audience shouldn’t have to stumble upon these photos—we need to know that you’ll be directing them there strategically.

I am a photography student. Can I obtain project support for a school project?
NO. We do not currently support student projects that will be graded or used to obtain college credit. Of course, it is fine to apply with a personal project.

I have never completed a long-term project, but want to begin one. What work should I send you?
You will have to put together a group of your images that feel like a completed project. Or, you can undertake a short project and submit that. What we need to see is that you can do the work, do it well and actually complete it in a given time frame.

What does TheDocumentaryProjectFund get out of this?
TheDPF exists because we believe in the value of the social documentary project. We want to see more photographers tackle this type of work. We understand how difficult it is to find funding for this art and are happy to be able to offer more photographers a way to work and also live.

We do ask that TheDPF is recognized as a sponsor each time the work is presented, in whatever form that takes. We are happy to provide our logo files to awardees for this purpose.

Who owns the rights to the images after the project is completed?
You own the rights to your photographs. TheDocumentaryProjectFund will have non-exclusive rights to use images from the project on our website, or in promotional materials. We ask that each awarded photographer donate 2 files for us to use as donor gifts and in fundraising. The photographer’s copyright will be included on each print.

I am working for a nonprofit group. Can I still apply for project support from TheDocumentaryProjectFund?
If you are working with another nonprofit, the group will be expected to match the funds we provide. This can happen in a couple of ways: the organization can provide additional direct funding for the work or they can provide in-kind assistance equal to the amount of funding TheDPF provides. We are a 501(c)(3) organization ourselves and understand the financial restraints other groups work under, but still feel that they will be receiving great value for their money by having a professional photographer working to help their organization. They should be willing to front some of that cost.

Does TheDocumentaryProjectFund offer any mentoring or assistance as the work is being completed or after it is finished?
Yes. TheDocumentaryProjectFund Board of Directors is full of photographers who are also long time educators. We are happy to offer assistance to you so that you complete the work well and on time. Just ask us. Awarded photographers will need to report to us every two months during the duration of the project.

I have just finished a project. Can I apply for project support to reimburse myself for work already done?
At this time, we cannot fund projects that are already completed. We do fund in progress work; however, we would like to be involved during the actual photographic aspect of the project. We are not as interested in simply funding the matting and framing of an exhibit or bankrolling a book publishing. Rule of thumb: you should still need to be making photographs when you apply. If you want to apply for support for a partially completed project, be sure to submit that work as your portfolio.

Do I get the entire amount of the support up front?
Half the amount will be paid upon acceptance of the award & half upon successful completion of the project.

I want to create a multi media project, consisting of stills and video. May I apply with this type of project?
Yes. If video is a big portion of what you are doing, please send us a sample of your work along with your portfolio of stills. Also, you need to detail how the two will be integrated into the whole.

Does the money have to be used for the project? Can I buy photo equipment with it?
The portion of your budget you deem as personal profit after expenses can be spent at your full discretion. The remaining funds are to be used for the proposed project. Your country determines taxation of the funds and you should seek the advice of a professional accountant when filing taxes. TheDocumentaryProjectFund reports funds dispersed to citizens of the United States of America to the United States Internal Revenue Service on a form 1099.