The Magnificent Spiral (No. 5)

The Clarence John Laughlin Award Application Guidelines – 2017

The New Orleans Photo Alliance’s Grants

The Clarence John Laughlin Award
Application Guidelines (2017)


The Clarence John Laughlin Award was created by the New Orleans Photo Alliance (NOPA) to support the work of photographers who use the medium as a means of creative expression. It honors the life and work of Clarence John Laughlin (1905-1985), a New Orleans photographer best known for his surrealist images of the American South. The Clarence John Laughlin Award grants one $5000 prize annually to a photographer whose work exhibits sustained artistic excellence and creative vision.

2017 Calendar

August 1: Juror Announced
August 15: Submissions Open
September 20: Deadline for Submissions (11:59 PM Central)
October 25: Finalists Announced
November 20: Winner Notified
December 1: Winner Announced

2017 Juror

The 2016 Clarence John Laughlin Award will be juried by Paula TognarelliExecutive Director and Curator of the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA. The Griffin Museum is a nonprofit photography museum whose mission is to promote an appreciation of photographic art and a broader understanding of its visual, emotional, and social impact. The museum houses three galleries and maintains five satellite gallery spaces and several virtual online galleries.

Tognarelli is responsible for producing over 60 exhibitions a year at the Griffin and its surrounding satellite spaces. She holds an M.S. in Arts Administration from Boston University, BA from Regis College, is a graduate of the New England School of Photography and is a candidate for her Masters in Education at Lesley University. She has juried and curated exhibitions internationally including American Photo’s Image of the Year, Photoville’s Fence, Flash Forward Festival, Deland Arts Festival, Center for Fine Art Photography, PDN’s Photo Annual, PDN’s Curator Awards, Roy G. Biv Gallery, Image Ohio, The Curated Fridge, the Kontinent Awards, the Filter Festival in Chicago, San Francisco International Photography Exhibition, Your Daily Photograph for Duncan Miller Gallery, Peter Miller Fine Art Gallery, Yankee Magazine, Vermont Center for Photography, The Providence Center for Photographic Arts, Davis Orton Gallery, the Congressional Institute’s national visual art competition for high school students, A Smith Gallery, TX, the Providence Center for Photographic Arts, Los Angeles Center of Photography, the city of Saint-Germaine-en-Laye, France and the Lishui International Photography Festival in Lishui, China.

She is a regular participant in national and local portfolio reviews, has been a panelist and featured speaker at photography events and conferences including MacWorld and Color Connections. She has been a panelist for the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Photography Fellowships twice, as well as Danforth Art Museum and Arts Worcester, a juror for the Cambridge Art Council’s Community Supported Art Initiative, South Shore Art Center, Marblehead, Rockport, Bedford, and New Hampshire Art Associations, and many area camera clubs and art councils. She is a nominator for the Prix Pictet in Geneva, Switzerland, a nominator for the Heinz Prize in Pennsylvania, the Robert Gardner Fellowship at Harvard University, St. Botolph Club Foundation, MOPA Triennial, and the Rappaport Prize in Massachusetts. Ms. Tognarelli was recognized by “Printing Impressions Magazine” as one of twelve women in the United States who contributed to digital advances in the printing and graphic arts industries.

She is a past member of the Xerox Technical Advisory Board, Winchester Rotary and the board of the Winchester Multicultural Network. She is on the advisory board of the New England School of Photography.

Deadline for submissions: September 20, 2017 (11:59 CST). 


Both emerging and established photographers residing in the U.S. may apply. The New Orleans Photo Alliance invites photographers working in all mediums, styles, and schools of thought to apply. Still images made from all photographic processes, both traditional and digital will be considered. There are no restrictions on subject matter or genres. Traditional, contemporary, avant-garde, creative and experimental works that include old and new processes, mixed techniques, and challenging personal and emotional statements are all welcome. Still photography or photographic techniques should be integral to the works submitted.

Application Fee

Application fee is $25.
Application fee + NOPA membership: $60 (membership is NOT required to enter).

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted online only through the New Orleans Photo Alliance website.
You may apply for the Clarence John Laughlin Award here on August 15, 2017.

Work Samples

Applicants must submit a portfolio of 10-20 image files representing a cohesive body of work. Applicants should demonstrate the ability to build a strong series of images. If your work is best communicated visually by showing its physical nature, you may use one or more of the required images for installation or detail views.

Written Statements

Applicants must submit a written statement explaining their images, process and intent. The purpose of the statement is to give the juror a better understanding of your work while they are viewing it. Your statement should be clear, concise and relate to the work samples you submit. Applicants will also be required to submit a bio or resume and a brief “description of work” summary.

Judging Criteria

The main criteria for selection will be the strength of the applicant’s portfolio and written statement.

Selection and Notification

If more than 150 applications are submitted, a committee of independent curators and photographers will prescreen all submissions and select 100 portfolios to present to the juror. The juror will select a single winner.

At the juror’s discretion, a select number of finalists will be asked to submit a print portfolio for the final decision.

Finalists will be notified by October 25, 2017 required to mail portfolios to the juror at their own expense by November 10, 2017.

The winner will be announced on December 1, 2017. The recipient’s portfolio will be featured on the New Orleans Photo Alliance’s website for one year.

Application Requirements

  1. $25 application fee, to be directed through Paypal immediately after your application has been successfully uploaded.
  2. A portfolio of 10 – 20 images.  Images can originate in any format but must be submitted digitally through our online application process.
  3. Each image submitted should be in jpeg format, 12 inches on the longer side, sized at 72 pixels per inch, saved at the highest setting available (usually 10 or 12). Name your files with your last name then first name and image title using underscores to separate. Example: Doe_Jane_ImageTitle.jpg
  4. Each image submitted will also require a title, dimensions, materials (specifying print medium, i.e. toned silver gelatin print) and year created.  Each image file and its accompanying information will be entered and uploaded one at a time.  You will have the opportunity to review and rearrange the sequence of your portfolio after all files have been uploaded.
  5. A concise description of work, limited to 260 characters maximum, which will be visible to the juror alongside your image portfolio.
  6. A written statement explaining your images, process and intent, 500 characters maximum.  A Word document should be copied and pasted into the appropriate area at the beginning of the application form.
  7. Biography or resume/CV.  A Word document file should be copied and pasted into the appropriate area at the beginning of the application form.

Please read the guidelines and application requirements thoroughly. If you have any further questions please contact:

Please be aware that punctuation sometimes shifts during the cutting and pasting process, so proofread online before finalizing your submission.


By applying for the Clarence John Laughlin Award, you agree to accept the following rules:

The New Orleans Photo Alliance (NOPA) reserves the right to reject applications that are incomplete or improperly submitted.

You acknowledge that you are the sole owner and author of the photograph.  NOPA acknowledges your copyright of each image submitted.

You allow NOPA to feature your work without charge in print and on the web in conjunction with the promotion of the award.  Recipient agrees to supply a high-resolution image suitable for printing in media upon request.  NOPA agrees to provide proper copyright notice on its web site and in all NOPA press releases and related print materials.

NOPA is permitted to add applicants’ email and physical mailing addresses to the NOPA mailing list, which is private and will not be shared.

Staff or Board Members of NOPA are not eligible to submit applications.

The recipient is encouraged to donate up to 3 prints to NOPA selected from work submitted for the award and/or work created after having received it.  Donated prints will be archived in NOPA’s permanent collection and may be exhibited in the future.


If you have any questions please contact:

The New Orleans Photo Alliance is a volunteer run 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organization. NOPA was formed by a diverse group of photographers in 2006 to encourage the understanding and appreciation of photography and foster community and opportunities for photographers in the Gulf South. NOPA currently serves more than 400 members from Louisiana and throughout the United States. Since its inception NOPA has sponsored numerous photographic exhibitions, workshops and educational programs, including PhotoNOLA, the annual photography festival held each December in New Orleans. NOPA administers two annual $5000 grants: The Michael P. Smith Fund for Documentary Photography and the Clarence John Laughlin Award.

New Orleans Photo Alliance
1111 St. Mary Street
New Orleans, LA 70130