Dorothea Lange–Paul Taylor Prize

Three Women Standing, July 1979, Lima, Peru, 2018. Image by 2020 Lange-Taylor Prize winner Tarrah Krajnak.
Three Women Standing, July 1979, Lima, Peru, 2018. Image by 2020 Lange-Taylor Prize winner Tarrah Krajnak.

SUBMISSIONS FOR THE 2020 LANGE-TAYLOR PRIZE will be accepted from February 15 to May 15, 2021. Deadline extended! Entries must be submitted before midnight (EST) on May 15. The winner will be publicly announced in September 2021. See How to Enter and FAQs.

First announced in 1990, the Dorothea Lange–Paul Taylor Prize was created by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University to encourage collaboration between documentary writers and photographers in the tradition of the acclaimed photographer Dorothea Lange and writer and social scientist Paul Taylor. In 1941 Lange and Taylor published An American Exodus, a book that renders human experience eloquently in text and images and remains a seminal work in documentary studies.

Like Lange and Taylor, and all serious documentarians, the competitive applicants to this prize have a point of view derived from an in-depth understanding of place, history, and the current situation, in concert with a personal relationship to the proposed work. Ultimately, their commitment is to use documentary expression to motivate the thinking and reflection of others. 

In 2011, in recognition of the changing environment in which documentary artists conduct their work, we reframed the prize guidelines to allow single artists to apply. In part, this new approach to the prize was inspired by the Center for Documentary Studies’ commitment to the Master of Fine Arts in Experimental and Documentary Arts at Duke University, which brings together two forms of artistic activity—the documentary approach and experimental production in analog, digital, and computational media.

The Lange-Taylor Prize is intended to support artists, working alone or in teams, who are engaged in extended, ongoing fieldwork projects that fully exploit the relationship of words and images in the powerful, persuasive representation of a subject. The prize is not awarded for completed projects or to support the production of a book, exhibit, website, or other outcomes.

The winner receives $10,000, features in Center for Documentary Studies’ digital publications, and inclusion in the Archive of Documentary Arts at Rubenstein Library, Duke University.

Tarrah Krajnak is the 2020 winner of the Dorothea Lange–Paul Taylor Prize.

Honorable Mention Awarded to Philippe Calia and Sunil Thakkar for “If the House . . . ”

Finalists: Michel Bührer for “Babel in New York,” Kris Davidson for “The American Imagination,” J Houston for “A Scale of 1 to 10,” Catherine Hyland for “The Traces Left Behind,” Cheryl Mukherji for “Ghorer Bairer Aalo (The Light Outside Home),” Jordan Putt for “Padrino,” Jason Reblando and Joanne Diaz for “La Ruta: Walter Benjamin’s Last Passage,” and Patrick Wack and Julien Syrac for “Minor Differences”

See past prizewinners.