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Past SPE National Conferences

Awards and Grants

SPE Awards + Grants

SPE has a longstanding tradition of recognizing, and inspiring the achievements of its members by offering annual scholarships, grants and awards. Awards are presented annually at the national conference.

Click here to view SPE’s award history

The SPE Student Awards for Innovations in Imaging

Awards are given annually to ten SPE student members to offset the cost of attending SPE's national conference based on merits of submitted portfolios. 

Student award recipients receive a $550 travel stipend to attend the national conference, a conference fee waiver, and one-year membership to SPE. 

Application deadline: October 15 @ 11:59 PM EST

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SPE Honored Educator Award

Bestowed upon a career educator recognizing significant contribution to the field of photographic education through classroom teaching, writing, publishing, museum education, or other areas of professional practice, SPE's Honored Educator recipient receives a lifetime membership in the Society and $1,000 honorarium.

Nominations are accepted year round 
Nomination deadline: July 1

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SPE Insight Award

Given to an SPE member who demonstrates excellence in innovative teaching, sustained mentoring of colleagues or students, broad contribution to technical, critical, pedagogical, or visual aspects of the field, breadth or depth of exhibition or publication, and/or sustained presence in the field.

Nominations are accepted year round
Nomination deadline: July 1

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SPE Imagemaker Award

Recognition of excellence for the highest ranked annual national conference proposal in the Imagemaker category, the SPE Imagemaker Award recipient receives $1,000, plus a one-year membership to SPE and a national conference pass. 

Thanks to a new partnership with PLAYA (a residency program in south central Oregon), SPE Imagemaker Award recipients will also be given the opportunity to do a one-month residency at PLAYA within the calendar year following receipt of the award.

Proposals accepted: March 6 - June 1

SPE International Conference Grant

SPE's International Conference Grant was established in 2014 (for implementation in 2015) as an incentive to foster international submissions and participation in SPE's national conferences. The grant was created in recognition of the higher financial burden facing international members who wish to present at SPE's national conference. This grant is awarded to the three highest-ranked international conference proposal submissions, regardless of presentation category, if selected by the conference committee to present at the conference. Up to six individuals may benefit from this grant program each year.

The conference grant awards a full registration fee waiver and a complimentary one-year membership to each recipient. The award has a value of $375 U.S.D.; equivalent to one conference ticket, currently $250, and a one-year international membership, currently $125.

Proposals accepted March 6 - June 1

SPE Future Focus Project Support Grant

SPE's Future Focus Project Support Grant was established to recognize professional members' exceptional creative work and to provide support for the recipient to begin a new project, to continue, or to complete an existing project done in traditional still photography, digital video/film, multimedia, installation, or work created for the web. 

This is a $5,000 grant, partially funded by SPE's Future Focus Initiative. The recipient also receives a complimentary one-year membership to SPE and complimentary conference registration for two years.

Applications must be submitted at

Applications accepted: May 1 - July 1

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SPE Award for Excellence in Historical, Critical, and Theoretical Writing

We invite SPE members to submit to the tenth annual Award for Excellence in Historic, Critical and Theoretical Writing. This Award seeks to recognize excellence in writing in the field of photography among the Society’s members. In previous years the award was selected from conference proposals. This is the first year the award will be open to all SPE members.

The Writing Award Committee invites you to submit a completed essay for review and possible publication under the following technical guidelines:

  • essays should be no more than 6,000 words in length; submissions exceeding this limit will not be considered
  • submit your essay by email to as a PDF attachment no later than 11:59 pm Eastern Time, USA, on October 1, 2016
  • all submissions must be in English and include a list of illustrations, if appropriate
  • authors must be current members of SPE
  • format must follow the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition
  • all copy must be double-spaced, using Times or Times New Roman, 12-point font
  • authors are responsible for securing permissions and will bear liability for all third party claims. All liability for quoted material is the responsibility of the author not SPE

Essays received late or not in accordance with the above specifications will not be considered.

In addition, here is a list of criteria for “excellence” shared by the Writing Award Committee to guide you in developing a competitive essay:

  • originality of project
  • advances body of knowledge/critical thinking
  • addresses contemporary issues and debates
  • quality of writing

Application deadline: October 1, 2016

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