“One of the drawbacks of an international program like POY is that we miss some of the local stories and voices. POY Latam has shown the need and value of a more local competition. It is a program that is tailored to the cultures in Latin America and to the issues important to the region. While there is really strong work represented in POY by photographers working in Asia, it is simply not enough.”
POYi is synonymous with the Missouri School of Journalism, where photojournalism education at a university level was introduced in 1943. The competition was founded by Cliff and Vi Edom in 1944 as the “First Annual Fifty-Print Exhibition.” In the first year, 60 American photographers contributed 223 photographic prints. Student volunteers wearing white gloves held up pictures in front of a jury panel, who silently voted by raising signs that said “in” or “out.”
As the competition became an annual event, leaders from the journalism industry supported the effort. Notable names include famed photo director Roy Stryker, Life magazine Executive Editor Wilson Hicks, picture editor Stan Kalish and photographer Joe Rosenthal.
A year after creating POYi, the Edoms founded College Photographer of the Year, a competition recognizing the best in collegiate photojournalism. Directed by Missouri School of Journalism Associate Professor Jackie Bell, CPOY celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. To see the competition and past winners, go to www.cpoy.org.
While there has long been strong international representation, the American-centric Pictures of the Year contest changed its name in 2001 to signify a new direction. It became Pictures of the Year International.
In 2011, Loup Langton and Pablo Corral Vega worked with POYi to create POY Latin America, which honors documentary and artistic photography in Iberoamerica. It has become one of the most important competitions in the region. In response to the pandemic, POY Latam launched “Postales Del Coronavirus” (Postcards from the Coronavirus), an online magazine devoted to stories about living through the age of COVID-19. It is inspiring! Visit poylatam.org.
In 2020, a group of Asian photographers working and living in Asia and USA — Kay Chin Tay of Singapore, Prashant Panjiar of India, Maye-E Wong, a Singaporean based in USA, and Tanya Habjouqa of Jordan — came together to create POY Asia. The newest member of the POYi family will be co-directed by Tay and POYi Director Lynden Steele. The group will launch its first competition, one modelled after POYi, in early 2021.
At its heart, POYi is an educational program. It connects students from all levels, organizes exhibitions and celebrates visual storytelling in all forms. Its archive of more than 50,000 images contains some of the most important news images from the past seven decades. Together, these programs enhance our understanding of the essential issues facing humanity.
POYi is part of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism. Learn more at www.rjionline.org.
POY or POYi?
To better reflect its global influence, Pictures of the Year(POY) became Pictures of the Year International(POYi) in 2001. Out of habit and convenience, many people still refer to POYi as POY.
POYi will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2021 although POY is 78th next year.
Winners of 1991 Pictures of the Year contest — Newspaper Photographer of the Year Paul Kuroda of Orange County Register; Canon Photo Essayist Award winner Jane Evelyn Atwood of Contact Press Images; Kodak Crystal Eagle Award winner Donna Ferrato of Black Star; Mark Morris & Rick Shaw of Sacramento Bee, Angus McDougall Award for Overall Excellence in Editing Newspaper and College Photographer of the Year winner Michael Lutzky of Rochester Institute of Technology — being photographed at the Francis Quadrangle at the University of Missouri. Picture by Kay Chin Tay.
POYi began as a photographic contest in the spring of 1944 in Columbia, Missouri, when the Missouri School of Journalism sponsored its “First Annual Fifty-Print Exhibition” contest. Its stated purpose was, “to pay tribute to those press photographers and newspapers which, despite tremendous war-time difficulties, are doing a splendid job; to provide an opportunity for photographers of the nation to meet in open competition; and to compile and preserve… a collection of the best in current, home-front press pictures.”
In 1945 the Edoms also founded the College Photographer of the Year contest. CPoY (www.cpoy.org) continues to provide valuable feedback and encouragement to thousands of young photographers, many of whom have gone on to win in POYi.
In 1948, following a decision to invite magazine photographers to participate, the Fifty-Print Exhibition Contest became the News Pictures of the Year Contest. Then, in 1957, the University of Missouri and the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) merged their respective contests. Through this partnership, “Pictures of the Year” was developed and continued until 2001 when NPPA and Missouri parted ways. POYi is now administered solely by the Missouri School of Journalism, with additional financial support from Fujjifilm, MSNBC, National Geographic and by the entrants to the yearly competition.
Guided by former directors Angus McDougall and Bill Kuykendall, the scope of Pictures of the Year changed dramatically. The number of entered images increased to tens of thousands, and Pictures of the Year became an international program. And, in 2001 Pictures of the Year became Pictures of the Year International.
As the contest grew the overall mission of POYi broadened as well. Today, there are Pictures of the Year Awards’ seminars and workshops. Each year’s contest is commemorated through exhibits, a book and this Web site. In addition, the public is invited to participate in on-line voting for its “Best Picture of the Year.”
In 2001, the Pictures of the Year International Endowment fund was established so as to provide a firm financial footing as POYi increasingly becomes a center for research and discussion and education.
Director: Lynden Steele
Most of the 500-plus students from the 120 colleges and universities who enter the College Photographer of the Year competition hope to win an award and to have their photographs recognized. But CPOY’s greatest value is educational: it encourages photographers to evaluate their work and assemble the best of it to show to peers and the working professionals who donate their time to judge the contest.
Winning a contest does not make a photographer, but it can be a bellwether of talent. College Photographers of the Year have gone on to become outstanding professional photographers and leaders in the field of photojournalism – the list of alumni is long and prestigious.
The College Photographer of the Year Competition was founded by Cliff and Vi Edom in 1945. The University of Missouri administers the contest with continuing support from its co-sponsor, Nikon Inc., whose generosity allows CPOY to offer free entry to college students worldwide.
The National Press Photographers Foundation (NPPF) administers the Colonel William J. Lookadoo and the Milton Freier Memorial Awards in conjunction with CPOY. In 2005, National Geographic Magazine returned as a contributing sponsor and offers an internship to the Gold winner in the Portfolio category. The College Photographer of the Year, Runner-up College Photographer of the Year and winners in the Sports Portfolio, Documentary, Multimedia: Group Story or Essay Standalone, Multimedia: Documentary Short, Multimedia: Individual Story or Essay Standalone categories are awarded equipment and additional educational opportunities provided by Nikon Inc., MediaStorm, True/False Film Fest, and the Summit and Missouri Photo Workshops.
Co-Directors: Jackie Bell & Lynden Steele
We are honored to announce that POY Latam, the most prestigious visual journalism contest in Ibero-America, is celebrating 10 years of uninterrupted work, and will be judged virtually under the auspices of POY International, Janssen, a group of Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical companies, and the University of Miami School of Communication.
The Pictures of the Year International or POY, our mother contest, was created in 1944 by the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism. Its photojournalism program is the oldest in the world and one of the most respected. Thanks to the support of the POY, we were able in 2011 to create a chapter of the contest for Ibero-America, which we have named POY Latam.
All topics have become secondary in the face of the global health crisis caused by the pandemic and the consequent economic crisis. As a result, this year POY Latam will have several categories about health sponsored by Janssen, a group of pharmaceutical companies from Johnson & Johnson. These categories aim to make visible the work of frontline health professionals and caregivers, as well as to highlight the importance of other diseases and the need to protect mental health during this pandemic.
For the first time, we have opened three special health categories on Instagram, for amateurs and freelance photographers.
As the world of visual journalism evolves, we are evolving with it. We are expanding our multimedia categories to include films as well as websites, social media documentary projects, interactive experimental works and 360º videos.
We have had to adjust to the new normal. The judges will meet virtually and each will make a shortlist on their own. Those essays or individual photos that receive positive votes from at least two judges will go to the final rounds, which will be broadcast live.
The contest will open on November 30 and will close on January 2, 2021. The final rounds in photography will be judged from January 14 until January 17 and the film and web will be judged from January 21 until January 24. Please read the categories and rules on this page very carefully.
Directors: Loup Langton, Pablo Corral Vega & Kim Grinfeder
Pictures of the Year International is proud to announce the creation of Pictures of the Year Asia, a program aimed at promoting Asia-based photographers. Inspired by POYi’s guiding principal of “Show truth with a camera,” POY Asia is committed to seeing the world from an Asian perspective.
The group will launch its first competition, one modelled after POYi, in early 2021.
POY Asia is created by and for photographers working and living in Asia and USA. Tay Kay Chin of Singapore is serving as a co-director. Prashant Panjiar of India, Tanya Habjouqa of Jordan, and Maye-E Wong, a Singaporean based in USA, are the Founding Advisors. POYi Director Lynden Steele is a co-director and will serve in a supporting role.