Direct Look documentary photocontest

Each nomination will get 30 000 rubles.


FOTODOC Center for Documentary Photography at the Sakharov Center is pleased to announce our fourth annual international Direct Look photo contest.

Contest theme is: problems pertaining to relations between individuals, society and state, as well as ways of addressing these problems.
The goals of the contest:
• Facilitate growth and promotion of independent journalism.
• Support authors who research issues addressing the relationship between individuals society, and state.
• Support photo projects based on respect and advocacy for human dignity, fundamental principles of the Russian Constitution and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The contest is held in three distinct categories:

The Problem

Issues, friction, disagreements or discord that arise within society between individuals, communities, civic institutions, and states.

The Conflict

The most heated methods of solving issues: disagreements or discord within society between individuals, civic institutions and the state. It manifests itself in parties acting against each other and is often accompanied by negative emotions that extend beyond existing norms and rules.

The Compromise

Conflict resolution through dialogue, social change or reform.

All entries must be a series of photos or be part of a long-time project.

The jury 2018

Jury consists of leading photo editors and curators from different countries:

Svetlana Bachevanova, publisher of FotoEvidence and documentary photographer.

Andrei Polikanov, photo editor, Photo department head of the Moscow bureau of the "Time" magazine (1996-2007) and "Russian Reporter" magazine (2007-2015), now - visual director at «Takie Dela» project. He was a member of the jury of national and international contests, among them: "World Press Photo", "Visa d'Or" in Perpignan.

Horacio Villalobos, photographer, worked as stringer for global print medias in Latin America, Africa, Europe, and Middle East. Now Horacio works as Corbis/Getty photographer contributor and stringer in Portugal.

Maria Mann, photojournalism consultant. She was a member of the jury of international contests, among them: World Press, Unicef, Bayeux War Correspondents, POY, World Master Master Class и CHIPP / China. She was the founding chair of the Best of Photojournalism Contest in the US.

Peter Bitzer, the CEO of laif, member of various photojournalistic juries, also he is teaching Photo Edit and Branding at University of Dortmund.

Direct Look photo contest is held for the fourth year and in 2017 we received several hundred applications from photographers all over the world, this year we expect even more to expand the geography and see a host of new and interesting projects.

Each photographer may submit up to three photo series (reports) per category. Each entry shall comprise no less than 5 and not exceed 15 images. All entry descriptions and image captions must be in English.

Voting will be held in two periods. On the first period short-list will be defined. Projects included to short-list will be involved into photo contest printed catalog. On the second period the jury will choose three winners in each nomination, who will obtain honourable prizes of Direct Look photo contest. Thee winners who will take the first place in each nomination will get 30 000 rubles. Winners series will be exposed at the exhibition in October 2018.

You can submit your digital images for preliminary consideration and Jury voting until 23:59 MSK, July 01, 2018. Applications will be accepted in English. There is no entry fee.


Three winners in each nomination, who will obtain honourable prizes of Direct Look photo contest. Thee winners who will take the first place in each nomination will get 30 000 rubles. Winners series will be exposed at the exhibition in October 2018.


The contest is open to all photographers, professional and amateur, regardless of age, sex or nationality.

Copyrights & Usage Rights:

By submitting a photograph to the Contest, entrants hereby grant a perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide, nonexclusive license to publish, reproduce, display, perform, distribute, adapt, edit, modify, translate, create derivative works based upon, and otherwise use and sublicense their photographs, or any portion thereof (including without limitation any names, likenesses, or personas shown in the photograph), in connection with the Contest and for any other purpose (including without limitation for entertainment, instruction/education, advertising, marketing, promotional and/or publicity purposes). The Organizing Committee is committed to crediting entrant copyrights when photos submitted to the contest are displayed, reproduced or published in mass media or at exhibitions without reimbursement.

Printed copies of images displayed at the final gala exhibition can be used by the Organizing Committee for future exhibition display and any other non-profit purpose for the popularization of the contest.


Documentary Photojournalism