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Call for Essays, Art, Projects

As Exposure transitions from a twice-annual print publication to its newest embodiment as an open-access, frequently updated digital journal, our call for submissions is also undergoing necessary adjustments. The following categories are the main arteries of content to be found in the new Exposure, along with their respective suggested criteria:


The editor invites submissions and pitches for feature essays that include contemporary critical/historical/social critique and/or discussion of current trends and issues pertaining to the field of photography, as well as examinations as to how the field is being reframed and redefined. These can include, but are not limited to: scholarly essays; research-based interrogations; critiques of practice, institutions, discipline, socio/economic/cultural factors related to or intersecting with photography; compelling reflections upon the status, relevancy, reach and future of our field; examinations of the practice or study of photography reaching beyond academia and creating meaningful in-roads into new communities and other spaces that have been typically unexamined by academia; and intelligent writing on matters of current concern and conversation within photographic discourse today.


A great net positive gain for the digital transition for Exposure is that the publication can now feature far more photographic work and projects than was possible in a twice-yearly print format. Portfolio submissions are welcome if they concern a single body of sustained work. The editor prefers either a direct URL link to the project, or a link to a free file-sharing download site, such as Dropbox. Please DO NOT attach large files to your email, they may not be delivered or, alternately deleted; emails with file attachments < 1mb each are acceptable. An accessible artist's statement either on the website or in the file share is greatly appreciated, and increases the chances of your work being accepted. Accepted portfolios will be accompanied by critical writing on the photographer's work, written by either the editor or a qualified person in the field that the editor solicits directly. Submission of your work to the portfolio section is an acceptance of this unbiased review and critique of your work.


The Interview category is a new addition to Exposure. The editor welcomes proposals for interviews or roundtables on specific themes or issues within contemporary photographic discourse and practice, as well as interview profiles on prominent practitioners and educators. We encourage dialogue with and between the many different "actors" that populate the world of the student/photographer/photographic educator. This includes: curators, gallery owners, publishers, critics and writers as well as photographers, educators and students. The possibilities within this category are vast, and a preemptive email correspondence with the Exposure editor is suggested prior to submitting an interview for consideration.


It is SPE's contention that this section of Exposure needs to be relevant, useful and meaningful to those in our community that enact the hard labor of educating both future photographers as well as the general population on the intricacies and importance of our craft. The editor welcomes proposals for teaching features that ask and attempt to answer some of the most pressing concerns in higher education, as well as education more broadly (K-12, Continuing Education, Senior Learning, Community Colleges, etc), and especially those facing the arts and humanities, today.

Suggested topics include (but by no means are limited to):

1. The realities of pursuing photography as a career post-graduation.

2. Investigating how one effectively incorporates social concerns and activism into their work and/or their teaching, as well as how to build inclusive and diverse practitioners and audiences into curricula, projects and exhibitions.

3. Address the realities of institutional gridlock vis-à-vis TT positions (and proposed workarounds) for the hundreds of recently graduated MFAs working in the adjunct trenches, as well as address the issue of declining enrollment in the arts and humanities overall.

4. Investigations into teaching that reach audiences beyond the silos of traditional academia; we are interested in stories of photographic education creating bridges within communities, community centers, activist organizations, and creating new conditions and foundations for learning apart from what is typically understood to be a traditional photographic education.

5. Defining visual literacy and how best to teach it to both art audiences and general audiences.

6. Challenges facing photo educators today of teaching outside/beyond their discipline.

7. The teaching of hybrid and conceptual practices and integrating these into the curriculum; the successful incorporation of disciplines other than photography into studio and artistic practice, as well as best practices on how to teach and self-educate in the same.

8. Successes with out-of-the-box teaching that reaches students where they are (whether they be obsessed with their iPhones, or they view YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat as what counts as primary photographic exchange).

9. Conversation, advice, anecdotes, professional practice information that directly addresses students and student concerns: How do I get from point A to point B in my own work and professionally? How do I promote myself? How do I get a job after school? What are reasonable expectations in the field and post-graduation? How do I maintain a personal practice while trying to subsist?

10. Addressing SPE's tag line of "Understanding how photography matters in the world," as well as: how do we connect photography to those populations that do not normally dwell in the realms of academics or art?


Yet another positive effect of Exposure's move to digital is that we now have the ability to respond in a timely manner to current exhibitions, newly released book titles, and other events and media worthy of critique. That said, reviews that manage to interweave reflective questions and critique, current debates and unique points-of-view will be privileged over those that read more like a straight book report. The editor welcomes reviews or proposals of reviews for current and traveling photographic exhibitions; photobook and photobook making workshops; festivals and reviews, portfolio reviews (and comparisons of peer portfolio reviews); scholarly, historical, theoretical and popular texts on or concerning photography; and anything else that would arguably fit within this category.


All submissions are to be sent to the Exposure editor at Due to the volume of correspondence the editor receives, only accepted proposals and essays will receive a response. All images that are to be used to accompany your submission must have permissions secured (and documented as such) for online publication.

Finally, some notes on tone:

The move to a Medium-based existence for Exposure presents us with the opportunity to address concerns and desires of the SPE community regarding what Exposure is, who it is for, and what is meaningful and engaging content to that population. Whether what you're reading concerns art history, contemporary practice, theoretical or philosophic viewpoints, pedagogical concerns, a conversation between peers or a review of an emerging photographer, the primary thread linking any of these to publication in Exposure is that it be well written, well researched or argued and, above all, INTERESTING. While the editor welcomes longform writing, there are no hard rules about the language, tone, biases or point-of-views that that writing derives from. Exposure continues to welcome scholarly writing, but moving forward we also welcome a plurality of voices, orientations and concerns.

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