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CREDIT: Quentin Ball

Documentary Photographer of the Year 2021

Our popular competition open to our international audience with Open, Student and Member categories

The Documentary Photographer of the Year (DPOTY) competition is organised by the Royal Photographic Society's Documentary Group. It runs every two years. The competition has been running since 2012 and provides an opportunity to showcase documentary work and storytelling. 

Congratulations to our Commended entries and Winners

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CREDIT: David Collyer

RPS Members - Commended and Winner

Winner: All in a Day’s Work by David Collyer
Commended entries:
• Within/Without by Neil Johansson
• The Across Roads Project by Quentin Ball
• Y Garreg Olaf (The Last Stone) by Gareth Jenkins
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CREDIT: Aishwarya Arumbakkam

Students - Commended and Winner

Winner: ka Dingiei by Aishwarya Arumbakkan
Commended entries:
• North with the Spring by Nicole Mullan
• South of the River by Nico Froelich
• Tiramisu by Alexander Komenda
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CREDIT: Debsuddha

Open - Commended and Winner

Winner: Belonging by Debsuddha
Commended entries:
• Donde los niños no sueñan by Stefano Sbrulli
• You Can’t Step Into The Same River Twice by Hari Katragadda
• Nothing Left to Call home by Taniya Sarkar

Our Awards

The category winners will feature in a London and UK touring exhibition.

Open winner - a bursary, professional development support from the Martin Parr Foundation and one-years free RPS membership

Student winner - a bursary, professional development support from leading photographer, Simon Roberts HonFRPS and one-years free RPS membership

RPS Member winner - a Fujifilm X100V camera and one-years free RPS membership

All commended will receive one-years free RPS membership and an opportunity to take part in a UK touring exhibition (digital projection).  

Winners and commended photographers will also have opportunities for publication in the Decisive Moment and The RPS Journal and selected photographers will be invited to present at our Engagement Talk series. 

Our Shortlist

Our Shortlisted entrants in each of the categories:

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CREDIT: Swastik Pal

Shortlist - Open

Shortlist - Open Category

Aakriti Chandervanshi
Edward Thompson
Hari Katragadda
Laura Pannack
Doro Zinn
Mohammad  Rakibul Hasan
Swastik Pal
Taniya Sarkar
Prasiit Sthapit
Santosh Jana
Stefano Sbrulli
Yarin Trotta del Vecchio
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CREDIT: Francesco Andreoli

Shortlist - Student

Shortlist - Student Category

Aishwarya Arumbakkam
Francesco Andreoli
Hannah Norton
Jake Varker
Alexander Komenda
Natalie Durrant
Nico Froehlich
Nicole Mullan
Mina Boromand
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CREDIT: Gareth Jenkins

Shortlist - Member


Shortlist - Member Category

Angela Lam
Jason Ashwood
Bharat Patel
Bill Pilkington
Chris Jennings
Nicholas Mackey
David Collyer
Gareth Jenkins
Neil Johansson
Quentin Ball
Judges Oct2021

Our Judges

Our international panel of experts and judges includes:

Lekgetho Makola, CEO Javett Arts Centre, Pretoria

Roy Mehta, Photographer and Lecturer

Tanvi Mishra, Photo Editor, Writer and Creative Director, The Caravan, New Delhi

Mimi Mollica, Photographer and Director, Offspring PhotoMeet

Rosy Santella, picture editor, Internazionale, Rome

Bindi Vora, Curatorial Projects Manager at Autograph, London


Marie Sumalla, international picture editor, Le Monde, Paris had to withdraw due to work commitments. 

Learn more about our expert judges

DPOTY Related Events

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CREDIT: Taniya Sarkar

DPOTY Related Events

Along with the competition itself, there are Engagement Talks which are free and bookable via our Events page. Our past events include: Alys Tomlinson, Daniel Meadows and Mimi Mollica (DPOTY21 judge). upcoming talks are on our Events page:

27 January 2022 –    Talk: Roy Mehta (DPOTY21 judge)
10 February 2022 –  Talk: Jack Lowe
03 March 2022 –      Talk: Carolyn Mendelsohn
17 March 2022 –      Talk: David Hurn
31 March 2022 –      Talk: Martin Parr
14 April 2022 –        Talk: Nick Hedges


Browse DPOTY events
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CREDIT: Yarin Trotta del Vecchio

RPS Documentary Photographer of the Year 2021 - Awards


11 December 2021


Our RPS Documentary Photographer of the Year 2021 Awards will be held online via Zoom.

We will showcase shortlisted entrants and announce our Winners and Commended Entries in each Category. 

Book via our Events page. 


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CREDIT: Hari Katragadda

DPOTY21 Touring Exhibition

In 2022 we will take the DPOTY21 Exhibition on Tour in the UK.   The exhibition will combine projected images and prints from our Winners, Commended and some Shortlisted entries. 

Dates will appear in the Events page our current plans are (subject to confirmation):

Feb 16th - March 9th - St John's College, Oxford
Mar 15th to April 30th - FujiFilm House of Photography, London
May 7th to June 4th - Newcastle Arts Centre
June 13th to July 11th - Oriel Colwyn, North Wales
Aug 1st to Aug 30th - Eden Court Theatre, Inverness
Sept 1st to Sept 30th - Chatelherault House, nr Glasgow
Oct 15th - Nov 12th - Chippenham Museum
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CREDIT: Laura Pannack

Entry Overview


The Competition has three categories:

Open - open to anyone anywhere
Student - for anyone on a recognised full-time or part-time photography degree course (and those completing in 2020-21 academic year)
Member - for members of the RPS


RPS DPOTY 2021 Terms And Conditions Of Entry V1.3
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CREDIT: Edward Thompson

Key dates


Closing Date for Entries:
Submissions closed on Thursday 5 August 2021 

Shortlisting and Judging: Shortlisting has been completed. We ave informed those shortslieted and those who were not successful. The judges are now selecting the Commended and Winners in each category. We hope to complete this by November.

Awards Event: 
will take place on 11 December 2021 online  

Exhibition: from early 2022 and a UK touring Exhibition throughout  2022 (four venues already confirmed, more later).

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CREDIT: Alexander Komenda

Awards and Prizes

All winners will be part of an Exhibition 

Open winner - a bursary, professional development support from Martin Parr Foundation and one-years free RPS membership

Student winner - a bursary, professional development support from leading photographer, Simon Roberts HonFRPS and one-years free RPS membership

RPS Member winner - a Fujifilm X100V camera (donated by Fujifilm) and one-years free RPS membership

Commended entries - one-years free RPS Membership and inclusion in Exhibition (as digital projection). Selected photographers will also have opportunities via our Engagement Talks and published in Decisive Moment magazine.

Shortlisted entries - there will be some opportunities for posting in social media, and on RPS Website.

Sponsors and Friends

We are grateful for the support of Fujifilm and its commitment to the photo community.

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Fujifilm HOP
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