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The Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award of £2,000, facilitated by FotoDocument and generously supported by Nikon UK, is granted annually to a professional woman photographer towards the completion of a compelling and cohesive documentary photo essay, which addresses an important social, environmental, economic or cultural issue, whether local or global that has a focus on positive solutions. Submissions for the 2021 award will be open from 8 March International Women’s Day.


© Solmaz Daryani – runner up FotoAward 2020
For her photo essay: Afghanistan: Between climate and conflict about empowering girls & women to fight climate change.


Submissions will be reviewed by international panel:

Andrea Bruce – award-winning photojournalist, co-owner NOOR photo agency, Nikon ambassador

Donna De Cesare – award-winning photojournalist, associate professor University of Texas

Nina Emett – award-winning founding director FotoDocument, documentary photographer

Melanie Friend – documentary photographer

Neo Ntsoma – award-winning photojournalist, founder Neo Ntsoma Productions

Marilyn Stafford and her daughter, honorary judge, Lina Clerke.


One overall winner will receive The Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award of £2,000 towards an ongoing project and one runner up will receive £500.
The work should, in part, showcase positive solutions to any issues it raises in order to contribute to constructive photojournalism, in line with the wishes of Marilyn Stafford and the aims of FotoDocument. The Award is reserved solely for documentary photographers working on projects which are intended to make the world a better place and which may be unreported or under-reported.

The final work will feature on the FotoDocument and Nikon websites and will be published via social media and shared with international media for publication. Shortlisted applicants will be featured on the FotoDocument and Nikon websites and publicised via social media.

Women from any stage of their careers are welcome to apply, whether emerging, mid-career or established. They must have completed at least one full documentary photo essay to demonstrate track record. Entrants must be over 18, they may be any nationality and based anywhere in the world. It is free to submit an application.

Submissions close at 5pm on Monday 24 May 2021.


Previous winners:
Rebecca Conway (2017), Ozge Sebzeci (2018), Ana Filipova (2019), Nicky Quamina Woo (2020).

“I am so excited to be the recipient of the Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award 2020! Thank you for believing in the project and my work. We can be so isolated as documentarians, endeavoring to share stories – often independently with no concrete idea if our creative and storytelling efforts will resonate. This award is especially heart-warming, as the judges chose work highlighting climate change in Africa, with its abundant natural resources, which is often overlooked when it comes to environmental issues, even though it suffers the heightened effects of desertification and erosion.”

Nicky Quamina-Woo – Recipient of Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award 2020 for her photo essay: ‘As The Water Comes’ about the effects of climate change in Senegal and local solutions being used to combat them.

“I started this award in 2017 in order to salute and support the many strong, dedicated, brave and talented women documentary photographers around the world, who through their work are fighting to right the wrongs of our world and to show that change is possible – they have my deepest admiration. In time, the award has gone from strength to strength, with the continuous generous support of FotoDocument and Nikon UK and to my joy it is now in its fifth year! My many thanks and deep appreciation to them and to everyone who has made this possible.”

Marilyn Stafford, Photographer

“We are delighted to facilitate this important award in honour of pioneering photographer, Marilyn Stafford, and all the incredible women documentary photographers in the world who are working tirelessly to tell under-reported visual stories of positive change. As long as there are social and environmental problems in the world – and we know there are many – there are also solutions and we feel that it is particularly important to focus on these in order to bring hope, inspiration and the possibility of a better future. We are very much looking forward to reviewing this year’s submissions.”

Nina Emett, Director, FotoDocument

07794 694754




Marilyn Stafford

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, Marilyn Stafford’s early dreams were for a theatrical career. Her photographic career was accidentally launched in New York in 1948 when she was asked to photograph Albert Einstein by friends making a film about him. In the car on the way to Einstein’s home in New Jersey, she was given a camera and a quick lesson in how to use it. From there on, her photographic career took her across the world, starting in Paris in the 1950s. There her friendship and guidance by Magnum founders Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson were instrumental in shaping her work.

In 1958 Stafford went on a personal mission to Tunisia to document and publicise the plight of Algerian refugees fleeing France’s ‘scorched earth’ aerial bombardment in the Algerian War of Independence. Back in Paris she showed the pictures to Cartier-Bresson, who sent a selection to The Observer, which published two on its front page.

While completing commissions for a number of Paris fashion houses she also photographed children living in one of the city’s worst slums, Cite Lesage-Bullourde, which was later bulldozed to make way for the Paris Opera Bastille in 1984. These photographs are featured in her Monograph: Stories in Pictures – A Photographic Memoir.

In the early 1960s Stafford travelled widely in Lebanon where she produced the photo book: Silent Stories – A Photographic Journey through Lebanon in the Sixties (Saqi Books, London) and later in India where she spent many weeks documenting the country’s only woman Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. She settled in England in the mid-sixties, where she was one of only a handful of women photographers working on Fleet Street. Stafford’s work spans from 1948-1980 covering a wide range of subjects including refugees, tribal peoples, international fashion and prominent historical figures. Her portraits include Edith Piaf, Lee Marvin, Sir Richard Attenborough, Joanna Lumley, Sir Alan Bates, Italo Calvino among many others. Her work has been exhibited all over the world and is syndicated through Sipa press, Paris and Camera Press, London. Working as a photographer in a largely male industry, Stafford personally experienced how difficult it was for women to balance career and family, especially when each opportunity was hard won. She recognises that this difficulty still exists for women in the industry today, both in terms of pay and opportunity, particularly in the field of photojournalism, and she hopes to help redress the balance with this FotoAward.



Founded in 2012, FotoDocument is an award-winning arts social enterprise, which brings visibility to positive social and environmental initiatives around the world through the medium of documentary photography. The work is intended to create a sense of active global citizenship by engaging participants and audiences in powerful social or environmental storylines which affect us all.

“The importance of FotoDocument is that it asks the essential question: What If… What If the
ideas and dreams highlighted in the artwork prove themselves able to achieve the positive outcomes they hope for and What If enough people around the world see what’s possible and want to be part of the solution?” Tom Reese, US photographer

© Tom Reese
Choosing hope
: reclaiming the Duwarmish river, Seattle, US.

The work has been exhibited in a wide range of venues including: Victoria & Albert Museum, House of Commons, Oxo Tower London, London College of Communication, Brent Civic Centre, ExCel London, Brighton Railway Station, Hove Promenade, Amex Community Football Stadium. Commissioned photographers include emerging artists as well as prominent names in photography and they have worked in partnership with many national organisations and institutions including: CARE International, Bioregional, London College of Communication, Salusbury World Refugee Centre, Photoworks and have received funding from Arts Council England, trusts & foundations, sponsors as well as trading as a social enterprise.

In addition to project commissions, FotoDocument runs bespoke photography workshops and creates educational resources through its FotoSchool service, targeted at disadvantaged children and young people in the UK, to break down barriers in arts engagement. FotoDocument trades through FotoStory, its visual storytelling service for NGOs, corporates, public sector and through FotoAgency.

In 2015, FotoDocument’s Director, Nina Emett, received a PEA (People, Environment, Achievement) Award for producing and curating a comprehensive environmental project, One Planet City, focusing on sustainable living.



Nikon has long been guided by its corporate philosophy of “Trustworthiness and Creativity”. By providing products and solutions based on its core technologies, namely, its opto-electronics and precision technologies, Nikon has consistently been a brand which is highly recognised and trusted around the world, contributing to both industry and peoples’ lives. Applying the technologies we have developed to various fields and creating new values, which embody our vision of “Unlock the future with the power of light”, we hope to continue to be a brand that always stands by our photographers




This Award is for women documentary photographers / those who identify as female.
Submissions are welcomed from emerging, mid-career and established photographers.
Postgraduate photography students will be considered.
Photographers must be at least 18 years old, there is no upper age limit.
Photographers may live anywhere in the world.
Applicants must have a valid bank account in the country where they live.


Alongside a completed application form, photographers will be required to submit one existing body of documentary work on any subject, which demonstrates they can convey a coherent and cohesive visual narrative and produce outstanding images.

Completed application form
A minimum of fifteen Jpeg (no TIFF or RAW) photographs (approx 2mb each and 150 dpi) documenting a single theme submitted:
Via We Transfer or Dropbox – please provide a link where indicated on the application form or;
Via a web link which leads directly to a designated slideshow – please do not provide a general website, you need to give a URL address for a specific body of work to review.

Jpeg files transferred to us must be saved with name (firstname_surname_01.jpeg etc.) and with complete embedded IPTC information: copyright, caption, date and place. Captions must be clearly displayed on any slideshow if directed to a specific URL or clearly cross-referenced on an accompanying word document which is attached with the application form. Only work submitted in one of the ways described above can be considered for selection.


Photographers will be judged on their track record for completing at least one full documentary photo essay, the type of project they would like the Award for (i.e. what social, environmental, economic, cultural issue does it address), which aspect of their project addresses solutions to the issues it raises, their motivation for applying for this FotoAward. Shortlisted applicants may be video interviewed following the selection panel meeting.


Copyright of the photographs will remain with the selected photographer/s. The selected photographer/s will license to FotoDocument and Nikon reproduction rights for an agreed selection of images which make up the final work in any media worldwide, in perpetuity, only for the purposes of providing exposure for the photographer, for the body of work created and for the Award itself. Neither FotoDocument nor Nikon will not pass on these reproduction rights to any third parties, without the prior agreement of the photographer. Any usage of the photographs by FotoDocument will be credited to the selected photographer/s with the appropriate copyright symbol.


Monday 8 March 2021: FotoAward launches / Call for Submissions opens
Monday 24 May 2021: Deadline for photographer submissions
Wednesday 26 May 2021: Receipt of applications acknowledged by FotoDocument
Wednesday 9 June 2021: Shortlist announced
Wednesday 30 June 2021 FotoAward Winner & Honourable Mentions announced

We look forward to receiving your submission at by:
5pm on Monday 24 May 2021




Nicola Jeffs
07794 694754