Conscientious Portfolio Competition 2012




I’m excited to announce the Conscientious Portfolio Competition 2012, the fourth of its kind. As before, the winner(s) will have their work featured here on this website, in the form of an extended conversation/interview. Two guest judges, Robert Lyons (director of the Hartford Art School Limited-Residency Photography MFA Program) and Michel Mallard (one of the masterminds behind the International Photography Festival in Hyères), are joining me to pick the winner(s) - and there’s a twist. Find all the details below. I will introduce Robert and Michel in more detail in a separate post.

The Conscientious Portfolio Competition (CPC) is free to enter. It’s no pay-to-play scheme. There are no costs involved for you other than the time it takes to decide about and send in your work.

CPC is aimed at emerging photographers. The term “emerging” is not extremely well defined. What it means is that photographers not represented by a gallery will get preferential treatment over those that already are (but of course, the quality of the work also plays an important role).

Last but not least, CPC happens in two stages. The first stage - where we are now - is the submission stage. Photographers are asked to send in their application via email in the following form:
email address
website URL (a proper website: no Flickr, no blogs/Tumblrs)
name of the portfolio/body of work

Any additional information contained in the email will be ignored! Please do not submit images directly by appending them to the email.

If you need a statement for your work, it should be on the website. Your website should have a bio/CV, of course. If you don’t have a website you will not be able to enter the competition. This might strike you as unfair, but every serious photographer should have her/his own website.

The portfolio can be either a project or a collection of images; but all the images for consideration have to be in a single place on your website (so “three images from project A and four images from project B” won’t work). One submission per person.

Email the information to: jmcolberg at (you’ll have to replace the “at” with @ and remove the spaces for this to work, of course), subject line “CPC 2012.”

The deadline is 31 October 2012, 11:59pm ET. No exceptions.


From the pool of submissions, 25 candidates will be picked for the second round. The photographers in this pool will receive an email, and they will have to send in ten jpeg images, in a uniform format (size etc.).

This is where Robert and Michel will come in. They will each pick their personal favourite from the pool of 25. I will pick one, too. Here’s the twist: There will be three or two winners, or maybe just one, if a photographer is picked more than once.

Having a second round is based on the idea of making everything as equal as possible. With uniform file sizes, fancy websites won’t be able to beat out simple ones. With a special naming convention for the jpegs (which will hide the full names), the winner will be solely chosen based on the quality of the work and nothing else.

Note: Your jpegs will not be used for anything but the judging (so there’ll be no Facebook-style re-use of your work!).

As I wrote above, the winner(s) of the competition will have their work featured on this website, in the form of an extended conversation (this will be done via email).

Good luck!

PS: No idea what to do with the money you’re saving on a submission fee? Why not buy a great photobook? If you’re looking for something independent, check out The Independent Photobook Blog!

Photo credits: Top image: Courtesy CPC 2011 winner Yaakov Israel; center image: Courtesy CPC 2011 winner Mirjana Vrbaski - thank you!