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DM Cover Dec21 Ed24 Debsuddha
CREDIT: Debsuddha

The Decisive Moment December 2021


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.

The Decisive Moment #24 December 2021

This issue is focused, unashamedly, on Documentary Photographer of the Year (DPOTY). We took a bit of a gamble in late 2020 and decided to go ahead with an expanded DPOTY. As well as a Member category, we had new Student and Open categories. This opened the competition to a global audience and, to help participation and inclusiveness, we also had concessions so that we didn’t put barriers in the way of entry.  As a result, we attracted hundreds of entries, from across the globe, and, in total, had over 3500 images to judge.

That was completed on schedule by our panel of six experienced judges from UK, Italy, South Africa, and India. After several rounds of on-line scoring the Commended and Winners were chosen. It was clear we had some great work. Our shortlist had many very strong entries, and in the end, we extended the number of commended entries from two to three in each category as it was hard to make ‘the final cut’.   

Our winners all tell important stories. Stories about the pandemic and humanity, about the environmental damage and displacement, and about prejudice and discrimination. Tough topics; but important ones. Told in a wide variety of ways, reinforcing the power and potential of the visual story.

An important part of the DPOTY competition this year, especially for Student and Open winners, was to support photographers’ to develop their work. As part of the prizes this year, the Open winner, Debsuddha, will get development support from Martin Parr, Hon FRPS, and the Martin Parr foundation and similarly, the Student winner, Aishwarya, will get development support from Simon Roberts Hon FRPS.  

Documentary Photography published by the Royal Photographic Society - Documentary Group. Photography which communicates a clear narrative through visual literacy.

Cover photo: Open Winner Debsuddha from the project 'Belonging'