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2024 Michael P. Smith Fund

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The New Orleans Photo Alliance is excited to announce the open applications for the Michael P. Smith Fund for Documentary Photography (MPS Fund). This fund was established to honor the life and work of Michael P. Smith, one of New Orleans’ most legendary and beloved documentary photographers. The MPS Fund awards cash prizes and exhibition opportunities to photographers whose work demonstrates both artistic excellence and a sustained commitment to a cultural documentary project. Both emerging and established photographers residing in the Gulf Coast states (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida) and Georgia are eligible to apply for the MPS Fund’s annual grant awards. The subject matter for the proposed project is not limited to the Gulf Coast geographic region.\

We are also delighted to have RaMell Ross as our juror this year

2024 Awards

MPS Grant Winner (Announced September 23)
MPS Grant Winner: $3000
Participation in PhotoNOLA Portfolio Review + Opportunity for Review Prize, NOPA Palladium membership
Exhibition opportunity 

TWO Honorable Mentions (Announced September 23)
4 reviews PhotoNOLA Portfolio Review
NOPA Palladium Membership

Top 10 Finalists Receive NOPA Bromide Membership or upgrade, Portfolio Listing on NOPA site

Application fee is $25. Application fee + NOPA membership: $55
(Membership is not required to enter, but encouraged)

NOPA uses ENTRY THINGY to process MPS Applications.
If you are familiar with the application process please click here to Submit application: 2024 MPS FUND

All applications must be submitted by midnight (CST) on August 19, 2024.

Continue reading to find out more about our juror , and see complete set rules and guides for applying for the fund.

2024 Juror, RaMell Ross

RaMell Ross headshot

RaMell Ross is an artist, filmmaker, writer, and liberated documentarian. He has been awarded an Aaron Siskind Foundation Individual Photographer’s Fellowship, Howard Foundation Fellowship, a USA Artist Fellowship and was a 2022 Solomon Fellow at Harvard University.

His feature experimental documentary Hale County This Morning, This Evening won a Special Jury Award for Creative Vision at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and 2020 Peabody Award. It was nominated for an Oscar at the 91st Academy Awards and an Emmy for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Film. RaMell holds degrees in Sociology and English from Georgetown University and is an associate professor in Brown University’s Visual Art Department. His work is in various public and private collections such as the Museum for Modern Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the High Museum. His book Spell, Time, Practice, American, Body was shortlisted for the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation photobook award.


Click here for a list of past MPS winners


    Both emerging and established photographers residing in the Gulf Coast states (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida) and Georgia are eligible to apply for the MPS Fund’s annual grant awards. The subject matter for the proposed project is not limited to the Gulf Coast geographic region.
  • Finalists and winner must provide Proof of Residency which must include government issued ID and another form stating residency for 1 year prior (may be utility, phone bill, and another approved source).
    Application fee is $25. 
    Application fee + NOPA membership: $55.
    All applications must be submitted by midnight (CST) of August 19, 2024. 
    The main criteria for selection will be the strength of the applicant’s portfolio and a written project statement (maximum of 530 words). The portfolio and statement should demonstrate the applicant’s commitment to a documentary project. 
    A portfolio of 20 to 25 images. These images can originate in any format, but you must submit them digitally via the online application process 
  • 2) Each image file must be in jpg format at 150 dpi and 1800 pixels on the short side.
  • Name your files with your last name, then first name and a title (can be abbreviated). 
  • Use an underscore to separate the names and title.
  • At the end of the file name, add sequence 
    numbers starting with 01.
  • Example: Doe_Jane_The Farm_01.jpg, Doe_Jane_The Farm_02.jpg, Doe_Jane_The Farm_03.jpg 
  • Add a short caption or descriptive information as well as the year that you created the image. 
  • Enter and upload each image file and its accompanying information one at a time. After you have uploaded all of the files, you will be able to review and rearrange the sequence of your portfolio.

A concise description of your work (2-4 sentences that could summarize your project), limited to 260 characters maximum , which the juror will see alongside your portfolio. The description of work s not the project statement.

A written project statement of not more than 530 words, explaining your project’s scope and significance. Please include your plans on how you would use the grant. The best practice is to write your statement beforehand, and then copy and paste your text into the Statement box.

A biography or resume/CV of not more than 530 words, describing awards, publications and other career highlights. 

The application fee will be directed through PayPal immediately after you have uploaded your application. All entry fees support the mission of the New Orleans Photo Alliance, a non-profit organization.

  • By applying for a grant from the Michael P. Smith Fund for Documentary Photography, you agree to accept the following rules:
  • The New Orleans Photo Alliance (NOPA) reserves the right to reject incomplete or improperly submitted applications.
  • Staff or Board Members of NOPA are not eligible to submit applications.
  • You acknowledge that you are the sole owner and author of the photographs submitted with your application.
  • You allow NOPA to feature your work without charge in print and on the web, in conjunction with promotion of the MPS Fund and its grant program. NOPA recognizes your copyright for each of the images that you submitted with your application and agrees to provide the proper copyright notice on the NOPA website and in all NOPA press releases and related print materials. Upon request, the grant recipient agrees to supply a high-resolution image suitable for publication by the media.
  • You permit NOPA to add your email and physical mailing addresses to the NOPA mailing list, which is private and will not be shared with any individuals or organizations.
  • The winner is asked to donate 2 prints to NOPA, selecting from work submitted for the award and/or work created after having received the award. NOPA will archive these prints in its permanent collection and may exhibit them in the future.
  • The 2024 MPS Fund Grant winner agrees to submit a final written report by August 31, 2025 detailing the work completed during the grant period.



If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Camille Barnett

If you have any technical questions about entering, please email