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• Social Documentary Network - ZEKE Award⁠⁠ •

Social Documentary Network

• Deadline: Jan 21, 2022⁠⁠⁠ •

• Prize: $2,500 + Exhibition ⁠⁠⁠ ⁠•

• Theme: Social Photography

• Entry Fees: $25

• REGISTRATION: CLOSED, Click HERE For More Opportunities


Climate change is the greatest existential threat to life as we know it. It is now an undisputed fact among scientists that due to human activity since the dawn of the industrial revolution—and particularly the burning of fossil fuels--the earth’s atmosphere and oceans are warming causing both subtle and cataclysmic climate events. Most visible are the extreme floods, fires, hurricanes, scorching heat, and tornadoes that we are seeing all too frequently and already causing widespread death, migration, and destruction. We are also seeing loss of species, polar ice melt, insect infestations, and other more subtle changes that can lead to long-term catastrophic consequences.

Communities around the world have been slowly recognizing both the causes and results of climate change and are changing habits and lifestyles to reduce our carbon footprint with the goal of halting the rapid advance of the destructive events caused by a warming planet.

The most visible changes are focused on reducing the combustion of fossil fuels by lowering our dependence on internal combustion engines, decommissioning coal- and gas-fired power plants, increasing use of renewable energy with wind and solar-generated power, and ongoing efforts to make our vehicles, appliances, homes, and buildings more efficient. But there are also dozens of other solutions that are equally as important such as changes in our diet to reduce the consumption of beef and other large livestock, use of more locally-grown agricultural products, allowing people to commute less and work at home, encouraging the use of bicycles as a serious means of transportation, and many other less dramatic but important changes.

Submissions must address these or other solutions that communities across the planet are embracing to lower global warming and prevent climate change from causing cataclysmic destruction of the global human community.

Entry Requirements

Entries must be documentary. We define this broadly, but an important quality is that the intent is to tell a visual story about the subject of your photographs. If the work is more about you as an artist, then it would not be appropriate for SDN or ZEKE magazine. Composited photographs (photo collages) are accepted only if all elements come from photographs that you have taken.

​All entries must have between 6 and 30 photographs related to a specific theme. The submission may also have a multimedia component to supplement the still images. Submissions must have an abstract to provide context (180 words maximum) and captions to accompany the photographs.

​Additional text about the situation being documented may also be entered, as well as a bio of the photographer, information on organizations working with affected communities, and other relevant information. Photographs must have been taken after January 1, 2013 unless the work is part of a long-term project that began prior to 2013 and continues to the present.

​All work must be submitted via the Social Documentary Network website. Images must be a minimum of 1500 pixels in one dimension.

​All entries are automatically and simultaneously submitted for exhibition on the Social Documentary Network website and must follow all rules and regulations regarding exhibits on SDN.

​Exhibits on the SDN website need to be approved before going live. In the event that an entry to the Call for Entries is not accepted for the SDN website, the photographer may make changes to their exhibit and re-submit, at no additional cost, up until the entry deadline. Greater than 90% of all exhibits submitted to SDN are approved. The most common reason that an exhibit is not accepted is that it is not a documentary.

​All submissions will be viewable to the public on the SDN website. Once your exhibit is accepted, it will remain live on the SDN website for one year. You may choose to hide your entry from the public, but if you hide your entry prior to the completion of judging, you will also hide your site from the jurors.

​Converting Existing SDN Exhibits to an Award Submission Existing exhibits on SDN can easily be converted to an awards submission by logging into your account, going to the exhibit you want to convert, and clicking the blue button at the top of the page to convert to the awards. You will be prompted to pay the fee at that time.​

Eligibility The ZEKE Award is open to professional and amateur US and international photographers. SDN current staff, Board members, advisory committee members, judges, and their families are not eligible to enter. Previous SDN Call for Entries first-place winners in the past five years are not eligible to enter. There is no restriction for honorable mention winners from prior years.

​Entry Fees All fees must be paid using a credit or debit card on the SDN website. International credit cards are accepted. All entry submissions and fees are final and non-refundable.

​Scholarships Scholarships are available for photographers from countries without access to credit cards or where there the submission fee would be prohibitive. To apply, send an email to scholarships@socialdocumentary.net with an explanation of your need. Requests for scholarships must be received one week prior to the submission deadline.

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