From 2013 to 2020, the CDS Documentary Essay Prize honored the best in short-form documentary photography and writing in alternating years: one year, photos; one year, writing. The focus was 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 winner of the competition received $3,000 and was featured in Center for Documentary Studies’ digital publications and placed in the Archive of Documentary Arts at the Rubenstein Library, Duke University.
An Honorable Mention was awarded to Farshid Tighehsaz of Tabriz, Iran, for his essay “From Labyrinth: Living with Anonymous Apprehensions.” There were 9 other finalists for the 2020 CDS Documentary Essay Prize in Photography: Sara Bennett, Scott Brennan, Vikesh Kapoor, Natalie Keyssar, Camilla Macciani, Yubin Oh, Arne Piepke, Tim Smith, Leslie Starobin, Bianca and riel Sturchio, and Federico Vespignani.
The 2019 prize, for writing, was awarded to Beaudelaine Pierre, a doctoral candidate in feminist studies at the University of Minnesota, for her essay “You May Have the Suitcase Now.”