Photolucida Critical Mass 2020

Finalists will each be awarded $1000


Critical Mass began as a way to help photographers get their work into the conversation. In-person portfolio review events are a bigger expense and time commitment. We wanted to create an online platform that would make it easier and more efficient for photographers to promote their work to a wide selection of professionals in the field.

Critical Mass gets photographers’ work in front of 200 top museum curators, gallerists, publishers, editors, and media producers. That’s a lot of eyes. As an individual photographer, it’s difficult to make connections with professionals at this level – much less with 200 of them. In Critical Mass, photographers (from anywhere) submit a 10-image portfolio. The 200 finalists who proceed past the first, pre-screening round then have their work reviewed and voted on by the full panel of 200 jurors. It’s an unprecedented way to get your work in front of the right people!

We are again extending merit-based scholarships to MFA program students, after receiving suggestions from Photography program faculty. The work of these students will be in the finalist category of Critical Mass.

Critical Mass works.

The professionals chosen for the Critical Mass jury are continually looking for new work. Every year, we hear a flurry of success stories. Curators report back with lists of photographers they’ve given exhibitions to. Photographers email us about photo editors who have highlighted their work in the media. Museum professionals tell us about artists they’ve added to their collections. Career-building connections happen in Critical Mass.


Michael Reichmann Project Development Grant – Five photographers selected from the 200 Finalists will each be awarded $1000 cash to go towards the development of a current or future project.

Photolucida Reviews Event “Golden Ticket” Award – Three photographers selected from the 200 Finalists will each be given a “Golden Ticket” to the 2021 Reviews Event in Portland with all registration fees covered.

*NEW* Fraction Feature Award – Ten Finalists will be selected to be featured on Fraction in a dedicated Critical Mass Issue.

Rauschenberg Residency Award – One photographer will be chosen for a four-week residency at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation’s Captiva Island (Florida) estate (slated for 2022).

Blue Sky Gallery Solo Show Award – One photographer will be chosen for a solo exhibition at Blue Sky Gallery during Portland Photo Month.

Print Collecting Initiative Award – Each Finalist will receive their choice of one limited edition signed print by past Critical Mass award winners, Priya Kambli or Matt Eich. This award is generously sponsored by Hahnemühle + Pro Photo Supply.



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