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.


There were 7 finalists for the 2014 CDS Documentary Essay Prize in Photography, selected from 135 entries. The shortlist:

Mustafah Abdulaziz, “Water”

Justin Maxon, “Heaven’s Gain”

Dara McGrath, “Project Cleansweep: Beyond the Pastoral Military Landscape of the United Kingdom”

Myriam Meloni, “Behind the Absence”

Noritaka Minami, “1972”

Chris Payne, “Textiles: Made in America”

Magda Rakita, “God Made Woman, Then He Jerked”

Eirini Vourloumis, “In Waiting”

Wesley Thomas Wong, “The Ice Man Cometh”

    • line 440x1 gray 61tall
The upcoming prize competition will be for writing. The winner of the competition will receive $3,000; have his or her work featured in Document, a periodical published by the Center for Documentary Studies, as well as on the Center’s website; and take part in CDS’s Documentary Writer Speaker Series. The winner’s work will also be placed in the Archive of Documentary Arts at the Rubenstein Library, Duke University.
Submissions for the CDS Documentary Essay Prize in Writing will be accepted from November 1, 2014, to February 15, 2015.
The winner will be publicly announced in June 2015.
    • line 440x1 gray 61tall
  • farmer 1200x1200