New East Digital Archive

New East Photo Prize 2020

Celebrating contemporary photography from eastern Europe, the Balkans, Russia and Central Asia



The New East Photo Prize celebrates contemporary photography from Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Russia and Central Asia.

The New East Photo Prize champions artistic excellence in photography. The prize recognises practitioners offering representations of the social, cultural and physical landscape of the New East and other perspectives on that region.

Although hugely diverse, the countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union are often represented in an outdated manner which negates the rich culture and variety of creative output from these nations.

The prize seeks to broaden perceptions of the New East through the medium of photography. In its two previous editions, the prize has received over 1,700 entries from 25 New East countries.

Alongside the prizes, all finalists for the prize will enjoy international exposure through The Calvert Journal and other media partners.

The New East Photo Prize is a project of Calvert 22 Foundation, supported by its online award-winning magazine, The Calvert Journal.

Applications are now closed.


Cash Prize

Alongside the opportunity to have work featured online on The Calvert journal and partner publications, gaining international exposure as well as feedback from industry experts, the winner of the New East Photo Prize will be offered a cash prize of £1,000 to help develop a body of work further.

Voucher for Photography Equipment

In order to support emerging photographers, this prize will give the recipient a £500 voucher to spend at a retailer of their choice.

Mentorship Award

The winner of the Mentorship Award will get a full tuition scholarship offered by Spazio Labo’ Photography to attend the Tutorship in Visual Storytelling training course organised by Davide Monteleone and Spazio Labo’, specifically designed for visual storytellers in their early career. Held between January and June 2021, the tutorship will offer individual coaching, six interactive group seminars, and four one-to-one meetings with prominent lecturers.

Exhibition (TBC)

Our plan was to hold an exhibition in Europe in Autumn 2020 exhibiting the shortlisted finalists in a group show. In light of recent events, it’s now unclear whether it will be safe to hold the exhibition as planned. We will monitor the situation and keep you updated.


Joanna Ruck

Joanna is deputy head of photography at the Guardian, mainly working on live news. She has worked on some of the biggest news stories of recent times including conflicts, humanitarian crises, countless elections and of course Brexit.

Iaroslav Volovod

Iaroslav is a curator at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art and a member of the Board of Experts of the VII Moscow International Biennale for Young Art. He graduated from the Oriental Faculty of St Petersburg State University.

Elena Anosova

Elena is a visual artist and curator based between Irkutsk and Moscow. Elena’s curatorial activity is aimed at the discovery and promotion of young artists. Elena Anosova works with documentary photo, video, installations, archive and book projects.

Ekow Eshun

Ekow is Creative Director of Calvert 22 Foundation. He is the Chair of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group, overseeing London’s most significant public art project and the former director of the ICA, London.

Magdalena Herrera

Magdalena Herrera left Cuba to settle in Paris, where she studied fine art and art history at the Sorbonne before starting her career as a graphic designer and art director. Alongside her journalistic work, Herrera runs international workshops and seminars.

Bertan Selim

Bertan Selim is an editor, curator, and consultant in the arts. He is currently the head of Grants and Collaborations at the Prince Claus Fund

Davide Monteleone

Davide Monteleone is an award-winning photographer, researcher, and National Geographic Fellow. He is engaged with educational activities, regularly giving lectures and workshops around the world.



How do I enter the New East Photo Prize?

Please enter through the dedicated submission form. You can submit a project made within the last two years in the New East countries. Each submission must be accompanied by a photographic statement of up to 600 words long and a short biographical note up to 200 words. Full Terms and Conditions here.

Am I eligible to enter?

The New East Photo Prize is open to nationals of Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Russia and Central Asia. The eligible countries are: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan.

Entrants must be 18 years of age or older.

If I live outside the New East region, am I still eligible for entry?

Citizens of countries in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Central Asia or Russia resident anywhere in the world are eligible for entry. See the complete list of eligible countries above.

I am not a professional photographer. Does that matter?

No! Entries are welcome from anyone from the New East who works with photography. The prize is inclusive and selected work will be chosen based on the artistic merit of the submission rather than the status of the photographer.

What do you mean by a project?

This can be a body of images produced in the New East exploring a particular theme or topic. The subject matter is at the discretion of the photographer. Practitioners working in a range of photography fields such as portraiture, landscape, documentary, contemporary art and architecture are welcome.

How many images can I submit to the competition?

For each project you may submit between ten and fifteen images. Series will be judged as a whole.

Can I submit a moving image project?

Unfortunately, moving image works such as short films, slideshows etc are not accepted.

How should I digitally prepare my images for entry?

The image preparation specifications can be found here. Each image should be 72 dpi and between 1MB and 3MB, RGB mode, JPEG format maximum quality.

What are the judges looking for?

The judges will select work based on artistic merit.

The New East Photo Prize recognises practitioners offering representations of the social, cultural and physical landscape of the New East and other perspectives on that region.

Can a submission be considered for both the main competition and the special prizes supported by New East Photo Prize partners?

Yes. The winning project of the special prize (the Mentorship Award by Spazio Labo’ Photography) will be selected by our partners rather than the judges of the New East Photo Prize.

Can I submit more projects to the New East Photo Prize main competition?

No, each entrant can submit one project only, i.e. a series of up to 15 images.

I create work as part of a team or collective. Can we enter our work as a collective?

Yes, as long as you make that clear in the statement accompanying the submission.

What happens to work that is shortlisted?

Once an entrant has been shortlisted, that person will be contacted by Calvert 22 Foundation staff. Shortlisted works will be announced publicly on September 2020.

Shortlisted entrants and the winner of the prize will receive significant international coverage through the online (e-newsletters) and social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) of The Calvert Journal and Calvert 22 Foundation, as well as other media partners.

The winner and selected finalists will also have their work featured by New East Photo Prize partners and regional organisations.

The winner of the main Prize together with the winners of the special prizes supported by our partners will be announced in Autumn 2020.

The winner of the New East Photo Prize will be offered a cash prize of £1,000 to support his / her work further.

If I am not shortlisted will I receive feedback and suggestions for my work?

Due to the large number of entries unfortunately it’s not possible to provide personalised feedback for entrants. Please follow us on our social media channels to find more information about folio review opportunities, including networking events and other competitions and awards.

What if I run out of time?

No exceptions will be made for late submissions. Please allow for enough time to complete your entry. The deadline is 23:59 (GMT) on 20 September, 2020.

I need more information. Who can I contact?

Please contact us at [email protected]. We will regularly update this page with relevant questions. You can find full Terms and Conditions here.



The New East Photo Prize, alongside The Calvert Journal, has helped launch the careers of several emerging photographers from the post-Soviet and post-socialist world, from Poland to Uzbekistan. Below are a selection of images from previous shortlisted photographers of the prize that show the capacity of New East photography to inspire, intrigue, and delight.