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  • takeki
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    Ensuring excellent work becomes an outstanding submission

    Preparing a competitive submission is key to receiving awards, grants, exhibitions and other career advancing opportunities. From our 21 years of experience with awards and calls for entries, we culled tips to help artists make the greatest impact with their submissions.
    1. The best images first. Grab jurors’ attention right away and show the images with the most impact, emblematic of the project as a whole, at the beginning of the submission. Jurors view hundreds of bodies of work during the review process, and just like writing an arresting leading paragraph of a book, you want to start strong.

    2. Simple, clear language. Clearly state your project’s focus in the first sentence or two. Explain why the subject of your work is a unique and compelling perspective on an important, timely subject matter.

    3. Resolved technique. The technique should be perfect or near perfect. Remember judging is typically a subtractive process—so don’t give the jurors a reason to say no.

    4. Less is more. Remove any images that may be redundant. It’s better to have fewer strong images than dilute your message with images that are not adding new information. You are judged by your weakest, as well as your strongest images.

    5. Show something new. There is nothing more exciting than finding work that feels fresh and shows the viewer something new about our world. Don’t be afraid to submit work that feels different than most of what you see.

    6. Authenticity. Show jurors why they should care about the work by sharing a bit of your personal connection to the subject matter through your statement. Jurors are looking for an answer to the question why YOU are making these images at this time.

    7. Personal to the universal. Work that is relevant to a national/international audience should go beyond the personal and speak to a moment in time (political, social, technological, emotional, etc.). If your work is very personal, explain its connection to the universal; or, if it is broad, explain your personal experience within the subject matter.

    8. Time-sensitive. Subject matter that is relevant now tends to be more competitive. If you made work in the past and you wish to get it recognized, the best time is an event anniversary or if there is new information revealed to add understanding to the subject.

    9. Form compliments content. Form is your technique and content is your subject matter. Jurors are looking for inextricably linked and complimentary form and content of the work.

    10. Show truth & beauty. The most competitive submissions tend to have an element of truth with an aestheticized approach. Work that is beautiful without a larger purpose or conversely, journalism without strong aesthetic signifiers, tend to not be as competitive as work that has elements of both.

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