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CDS Documentary Essay Prize

The CDS Documentary Essay Prize honors the best in documentary photography and writing in alternating years: one year, photos; one year, writing. The focus is on current or recently completed work (within the last two years) from a long-term project—fifteen images; fifteen to twenty pages of writing.



The upcoming prize competition will be for photography. The winner of the competition will receive $3,000 and have his or her work featured in Document, a quarterly newsmagazine published by the Center for Documentary Studies, as well as in a virtual gallery on the CDS website.

Rachel Andrews is the 2013 winner of the CDS Documentary Essay Prize, for Writing

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CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography

The Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) and the Honickman Foundation, based in Philadelphia, co-sponsor this prestigious biennial prize. The only prize of its kind, the CDS/Honickman First Book Prize competition is open to American and Canadian citizens of any age, who have yet to publish a book-length work of their photographs. Winners are awarded a grant of $3,000, publication of a book, and inclusion in a website devoted to presenting the work of the prizewinners. The winner will also receive a solo exhibit at the Center for Documentary Studies.

Gerard H. Gaskin is the 2012 winner of the CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography

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CDS Filmmaker Award

This $7,500 prize recognizes documentary films that combine originality and creativity with firsthand experience in examining central issues of contemporary life and culture. In keeping with the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) mission, the award was created to honor and support documentary artists whose works are potential catalysts for education and change. The award winners are selected from among films in competition at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, held each spring in Durham, North Carolina.

Kalyanee Mam is the 2013 winner of the CDS Filmmaker Award for her documentary film A River Changes Course

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Dorothea Lange–Paul Taylor Prize

The Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) is proud to re-launch the Lange-Taylor Prize, which supports documentary artists who are involved in extended, on-going fieldwork projects that rely on and exploit, in intriguing and effective ways, the interplay of words and images in the creation and presentation of their work. The winner will receive $10,000, a solo exhibition at the Center for Documentary Studies, and inclusion in the Archive of Documentary Arts at Rubenstein Library, Duke University.

Jen Kinney is the 2013 winner of the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize

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John Hope Franklin Student Documentary Awards

These awards, of up to $2,000, are available to undergraduates at four local universities (Duke University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina Central University, and North Carolina State University) to help them conduct summer-long documentary fieldwork projects.

Phoebe Ora DeKornfeld, Madeline Miller, and Jacob Tobia are the 2013 winners of the John Hope Franklin Student Documentary Awards.

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Julia Harper Day Award

The Julia Harper Day Award for Documentary Studies was created in 1992 by the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) in memory of the young woman who was the Center’s first staff member and who, herself, was a photographer and writer of real accomplishment. This award of $500 recognizes a graduating Duke University senior who has demonstrated excellence in documentary studies and has significantly contributed to CDS programs.

Hannah Scott is the 2013 winner of the Julia Harper Day Award

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Daylight/CDS Photo Awards

Daylight Magazine and the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) cosponsored an international competition, the Daylight/CDS Photo Awards, in 2010 and 2011 to honor and promote both emerging and established photographers in two prize categories—a Project Prize and a Work-in-Process Prize.

Daylight Magazine will be the sole sponsor of the 2012 competition. Alexa Dilworth, CDS’s publishing and awards director, will be a guest judge for the awards. Please visit Daylight’s website for more information.

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Image above: Photograph by Gerard H. Gaskin, First Book Prize winner in 2012 for Legendary: Inside the House Ballroom Scene (detail). Jline getting ready in a hotel bathroom, Washington, D.C., 2005.

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