In 2021 POY Latam celebrates 10 years of uninterrupted work promoting visual journalism in Ibero-America.
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 3, 2021. The final rounds in photography will be judged from January 14 until January 17 the film and web will be judged from January 21 until January 24. The amateur Instagram competition will cease to receive registrations on January 31, 2021 and will be judged on February 6. Please read the categories and rules on this page very carefully.
The 2021 Competition is open. We have extended the photography deadline by 24 hours, until midnight on January 3rd (Bogotá and New York time)
The photo contest is open at Picter and will close on January 3, 2021. We have extended the deadline by 24 hours. The film and multimedia competition closes as scheduled at midnight on January 2. The final rounds of photography will be from January 14-17 and the final rounds of film and multimedia will be from January 21-24. Please read the categories and rules on this page carefully. The amateur competition will stop receiving entries on January 31, 2021.
POY Latam 2021
This is a different year, the health crisis has forced us to rethink ourselves. We want a wider audience, including amateur and independent photographers, to help us reflect on the crisis we are experiencing. This section of the contest will take place on instagram and will be judged by the same POY Latam judges. Each one of the winners will receive a $1,000 cash prize. The amateur Instagram competition will cease to receive registrations on January 31, 2021.
The mission of Pictures of the Year Latam (POY Latam) is to recognize excellence in documentary photography and photojournalism in Latin America. We propose a visual reflection on the development of human rights in Ibero-America, and on the issues that compromise and affect us. The contest sheds light on the remarkable realities of the past two years.
Film & Multimedia
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. The new categories will include feature films, short films, web shorts and interactive projects.
This section of the competition is open only to amateur or independent photographers. If you are a professional follow this link.
We have created three amateur categories sponsored by Janssen, as part of his Health Without Pause initiative, which seeks to highlight the importance of patients with illnesses other than COVID-19, the enormous task that caregivers such as doctors and nurses perform, and the need to protect mental health in these times of pandemic.
Meet our judges here.
This section of the contest is only available through © Instagram.
To enter the amateur categories, please follow the instructions below:
- Go to the Instagram profile of @poy_latam
- Follow Poy Latam
- Choose one or more photos in the best possible quality according to the category(ies) in which you want to participate: Patients, caregivers and/or mental health.
- It is preferable that you do not use a filter, or that it is the least invasive.
- In the description/caption, briefly explain what is happening in the photo.
- Add the user “@poy_latam” and the required hashtag to the description/ caption according to the category:
Mental Health: #SaludMentalSinPausa
- You can edit the description of a photo previously published this year.
- Uploaded or tagged photos will be accepted until January 2, 2021.
- Images must respect the integrity of the scene and the actual circumstances. Only posed and/or constructed photos are allowed for portraits.
- Each category will have a winner, and each one will receive a prize of $1,000 US
PDF Amateur Photo RulesDownload
01 Patients: A photograph that captures the experience of patients dealing with diseases other than COVID-19 in this time of pandemic. This category is focused on portraying patients around Latin America who suffer from diseases such as cancer, pulmonary arterial hypertension, multiple myeloma, psoriasis among many others and who have seen the world come to a halt, but their diseases have not. Respect for the dignity of the subject is essential.
02 Caregivers: A photograph that captures the passion and dedication that caregivers (doctors, nurses, health care providers, family and friends) have shown for their patients. This category is dedicated to those who do a quiet job caring for patients or loved ones and have not put a stop to their admirable work.
03 Mental Health: A picture that captures the importance of mental health in times of pandemic. This category seeks to show strategies that people are using to take care of their mental, physical, and emotional health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Do you have everything?
Can I send photos of other subjects than those described in the categories?
No, these categories are only open to the topics explained in the categories. You can participate in the professional contest if you have other themes.
Can I enter photos of patients with diseases other than those listed in the categories?
Yes, they can go beyond the pathologies listed. We want these categories to highlight what this year has meant for patients other than those infected by COVID-19.
Can I send photos about COVID-19 patients?
No, these special categories seek to highlight what has happened to patients with other diseases and to caregivers who treat these diseases other than COVID-19. The mental health category seeks to show what people have done to maintain their mental health, and in this sense a wide variety of activities and situations from the confinement and the new normal can be shown.
On the other hand, there are many categories in the professional contest that are appropriate for submitting photos of any aspect of the pandemic, or any other topic.
How many photos can I post per category?
Up to a maximum of three individual photos per category.
Can I enter more than one category with different photos?
Yes, I can submit up to 3 different photos per category.
Can I enter more than one category with the same photo?
No, you can only upload the same photo once, in one category.
Can I participate in the amateur and professional categories?
If you are an amateur photographer you can participate in the professional competition, but you will be subject to the same requirements as professional photographers.
Professional photographers must participate exclusively in the competition aimed at professionals.
I am a freelance photographer, and my main source of income is not photography. Can I participate in the amateur competition?
Yes, you can. But remember that there is a greater variety of categories in the professional contest.
Can a photo collage or graphic design compete in this category?
No. We are looking for documentary photographs, that is, images that capture real moments. Posed or constructed photos will only be allowed if they are portraits. And in no case will collages or diptychs be allowed, except in the professional category Nuestra Mirada.
Can I send my photos by e-mail or by any other means?
No, in the amateur section of the competition you can only participate by means of © Instagram. The other sections have other rules.
Can I participate if I don’t have a professional camera?
No. This is a category for amateur or independent photographers. We are looking for quality photos that tell a story. However, the judges will not evaluate the photos according to the device, but by their content. You can use a camera or a cell phone.
Can I reflect people with mental health conditions?
Photos that reflect any illness other than COVID-19 may be entered.
Do I have to have my public Instagram account?
Yes, it has to be a public account.
Can I upload photos to other social networks?
Yes, your photos can be posted on other social networks. However, only photos that are published on Instagram will be entered into the contest.
When can I upload my photos to Instagram?
You can upload your photos from November 30th. Photos posted after January 2, 2021 will not be accepted.
Can I send to the contest a photo that I have already uploaded?
Yes, you can change the description and add “poy_latam” and our hashtag. This will allow this photo to participate in the competition.
Will there be prizes?
Yes, each category will have a winner. The prize per category is $1,000 US dollars.
Important note: In 2021’s POY Latam we will only accept images made in Latin America, Spain and Portugal, except in the News (series and singles) and Ibero-American Photographer of the Year categories, in which images made anywhere in the world will be accepted. Images must have been taken between January 1st, 2019 and January 2nd, 2021.
01 Everyday Life (single) – A natural, unposed image, reflecting human experience, culture or celebrating life. Respect for the dignity of the subject is essential.
02 Everyday Life (series) – Up to ten unposed images that reflect human experience, culture, or celebrate life. Respect for the dignity of the subject is essential.
03 News (single) – A photograph of a news event or a current social issue. This category also allows the presentation of a photo taken outside of Latin America.
04 News (series) – A series of up to ten photographs of a news event or current social issue. This category also allows for the presentation of a series or essay made outside of Latin America.
05 Portrait (single) – A posed photograph of one or several people that reveals their essence or personality.
06 Portrait (series) – A series of up to ten portraits of people or groups of people that reveal their essence or personality.
07 Sports (single) – A photograph that captures a peak moment in an individual or collective sport, that promotes an appreciation of sport or celebrates the role sport plays in the lives of professional athletes, amateurs or the public.
08 Carolina Hidalgo Vivar Environmental Award (series) – This special category awards a photo essay of up to ten images that expands our appreciation of nature and/or understanding of the damage humans are causing to the environment and the enormous challenges of climate change.
09 The Nuestra Mirada Award (series) – This special category of up to ten images rewards documentary or artistic work that reflects on the times we have lived through. This category is the only one in which the photos may have been taken at any time and also the only one that accepts real or digital manipulations, as long as they are conceptually justified. It is forbidden to submit essays that have already been presented in previous editions of POY Latam.
10 The Latin American Photographer of the Year (portfolio) – This special category is open to all photographers. Submit a maximum of forty (40) photographs. A portfolio must be diverse and must include at least four individual photographs and two photo essays. Only one of the essays can be made outside of Latin America. Individual photos within this portfolio must not be repeated in the essays. Organize the portfolio with the individual photos first, followed by the essays. Insert a black image (.jpg) at the beginning of each essay to separate them. No text should be included in these separators. Photographers should present the individual photos and essays in other categories so that the judges are familiar with the work. POY Latam will not take photos from one category for inclusion in another. If you want to enter other categories you must submit duplicate files. This portfolio must include work published or created in the twenty-four months prior to the closing of the competition. 1000 USD cash prize.
Janssen’s special categories on health
11 The Pandemic in Ibero-America (series): Up to ten documentary images and/or portraits. While the world searches anxiously for a vaccine, hundreds of thousands of people have suffered the direct and indirect consequences of the pandemic: confinement, overflowing hospitals, economic crisis, illness and in many cases, death. This category is related to the new reality society has had to adapt due to the pandemic. 1000 USD cash prize.
12 Patients (series): Up to ten documentary images and/or portraits that reflect the experience of patients coping with illnesses other than COVID-19 during this pandemic. This category will reward images of patients around Latin America who suffer from diseases such as cancer, high blood pressure, multiple myeloma, psoriasis among many others, and who have seen the world come to a halt, while their diseases have not. Respect for the dignity of the subject is essential. 1000 USD cash prize.
13 Caregivers (series): Up to ten documentary images and/or portraits that reflect the passion and dedication that caregivers (doctors, nurses, health care providers, family and friends) have shown for their patients. This category is dedicated to those who, throughout the pandemic, have never stopped their admirable work caring for patients or loved ones who suffer from illnesses other than COVID-19. 1000 USD cash prize.
14 Mental Health (series): Up to ten documentary images and/or portraits showing the importance of mental health during this pandemic. This category seeks to show strategies people are using to care for their mental, physical and emotional health during the COVID-19 pandemic. 1000 USD cash prize.
Note: The photographs submitted to the contest will not be used by Janssen outside the context of promoting POY Latam and its winners. Any other use will be agreed upon directly by Janssen and the photographers, upon payment of appropriate compensation.
The book category will not be judged this year due to the inability to gather the judges.
The images must reflect the news and the issues that concern society, while respecting the integrity of the scene and the real circumstances. Images assembled or constructed by the photographer do not honor the essence of documentary photography. Only in the portrait categories are posed and/or constructed photos allowed, and in the Nuestra Mirada category, digitally constructed or manipulated photos are allowed, as long as such manipulation has a conceptual justification. All photos must have been taken in Latin America in the two years prior to the closing of the competition.
You must be a citizen of an Iberoamerican country (meaning all of Latin America, plus Spain, Portugal and the Caribbean), or a legal resident of an Iberoamerican country for at least one year. If there is any doubt, we will ask you for proof of nationality or residence.
Images must be submitted in the corresponding category. They will not be changed by the judges.
Collectives and independent photographers
The photographs must be taken by a person or a collective, and must bear only the name of the photographer or collective in the credit.
Each photographer or collective must fill out an entry form.
Participation in the POY Latam is completely free, but each registration only allows the submission of up to 10 projects in total, and a maximum of 2 per category. A photo in an individual category is considered a project.
Preparation of Submissions
We have decided to use Picter to receive submissions.
Create an account at Picter if you haven’t already done so. You will receive an email with a confirmation link. You can return as many times as necessary to upload your material. POY Latam will appear in Picter starting on November 30, 2020 and will close on January 2, 2021 at 11:59pm Quito and Bogotá time.
Photo captions and information
Captions can be indispensable during judging. Write the captions carefully. Incorporate your credit and where the photo was taken and the full caption into your file using a captioning program such as Bridge, Photo Mechanic or Lightroom. Captions can be written in Spanish, Portuguese or English.
Please include all information within each file in the IPTC field. There are different programs that can be used to embed the captions. There are tutorials like this one on the internet that explain how to embed the information into the files.
It is essential to fill in at least the following fields: Creator/Photographer (name of the photographer or group), Caption, City, Country, State. Place the description of the entire essay in the caption field of the first image of the essay.
You will be able to sort the photos and make sure all the information is present in Picter. Please edit or add information to the file BEFORE uploading to Picter by embedding the information. Replace the photo in Picter if you need to make changes. We cannot read the information if it is not embedded in the file.
Individual photos and series
Only one image is allowed within each .jpg file. Multiple photos in the same file will not be accepted except in the Nuestra Mirada category.
A photo can only be submitted once in an individual category.
A photo submitted in an individual category may appear in a single series.
A series can only be submitted once.
All series or essays consist of a group of 5 to 10 photos.
Entries will not be changed by the judges.
Images should only be submitted as .jpg files
The .jpg image should be recorded in “maximum quality”, or with a compression ratio greater than 9. The minimum size is 4,000 pixels high or wide, but it is preferable to send them in the original size.
If your original photos are less than 4000px on the long side, we suggest you enlarge them in photoshop to the minimum size accepted by our platform.
All images must be recorded in 8bits, in Adobe RGB (preferred) or sRGB color space.
Rules for digital processing, the use of mobile applications and the documentary nature of the images
POY Latam accepts two types of images: color and black and white. With respect to color images, the goal is to replicate what the human eye sees. Routine corrections of tone, white balance and exposure are acceptable. Photos that have been exaggeratedly manipulated may be disqualified by the jury.
Alteration of content, armed or constructed photographs, double exposures, masks, frames, backgrounds, text, handwritten notes, or other artistic effects are prohibited, except in the Nuestra Mirada category.
Diptychs or triptychs are not allowed, except in the Nuestra Mirada category.
Film borders are acceptable only if the image was originally taken on negative, slide or polaroid film, and if such a border is part of the nature of the medium used.
- All series must have 5 to 10 photos.
- All images must be taken in Latin America, except in the category News (series) and/or Photographer of the Year.
- The photos do not need to be published to participate in the contest.
- Anyone can participate, however most participants are professional photographers.
- The photographs must have been taken between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2020, but there is a special category – The Nuestra Mirada Award – which is not subject to this time frame.
- Photographs must include captions within the digital file. You will be able to verify that the information is correctly incorporated into the file when you upload your images to Picter. Please do not send photos without information.
- Each photographer or group must fill out an individual registration form.
- The deadline for uploading your work is January 2, 2021 at 11:59pm (Quito or Bogotá time).
Judging & Winners
The judging of the amateur and professional photography categories will take place on January 14-17, and the video and interactive judging will take place on January 21-24. We will soon announce the judges.
The photo judges will meet online and review each and every photo submitted to the contest. Unlike the previous POY Latam, and due to the inability to gather jurors in the same place, the judges will vote independently and anonymously within the Picter platform, and only the images that have received at least two affirmative votes from the judges will move on to the final round, which will be broadcast live on our social networks.
The decision of the judges is final.
The winners will be announced by Friday, January 29, 2021.
Ibero-American Photographer of the Year:
One thousand dollars paid directly by POY Latam.
Janssen’s health categories:
One thousand dollars paid by Janssen.
Winners of the other categories:
Digitally sent certificates
The copyrights of the works presented belong to the respective authors. They grant POY Latam the international, irrevocable and perpetual authorization to reproduce the works presented in any of its publications, websites or exhibitions and referencing the photographer and the prize received in the competition.
The participants guarantee that the work presented is original from the artist or the collective and, as such, said artist or collective is the only and exclusive owner and holder of the copyright of the work presented; and that the party that presents the work has the right to publish it or present it for its possible exhibition and grants POY Latam all the required permissions. Participants agree not to submit works that (1) infringe the copyright, intellectual property, industrial property, personal or moral rights of others, or of any other nature, including but not limited to, copyright, trademark, patent, professional secrecy, privacy, publicity or confidentiality obligations; and (2) in no case violate applicable state, federal, provincial or local law.
The photographs submitted to the contest will not be used by Janssen or any other sponsor outside the context of the POY Latam promotion and its winners. Any other use will be agreed upon directly by the sponsors and photographers, upon payment of appropriate compensation.
01 Documentary Film
A documentary of 41 minutes or more.
A documentary of between 15 and 40 minutes.
A documentary of less than 15 minutes in length.
04 The best use of online photography
This award honors exceptional and innovative efforts in documentary storytelling through photography or video. We are looking for websites and social media accounts that rely heavily on photography or multimedia to tell a story as a critical part of the user experience.
05 Excellence and innovation in experimental visual storytelling
We are looking for innovative documentary projects such as VR, 360º video, branching narratives, experimental works, 3D and interactive documentaries.
At least one of the authors must be a citizen of an Ibero-American country (understood to be all of Latin America, plus Spain, Portugal and the Caribbean), or a legal resident of an Ibero-American country for at least one year. If there is any doubt we will ask you for proof of nationality or residence.
Please read the categories carefully. The judges will not change the category of the submitted work.
Submissions are open to non-fiction films, videos and interactive projects of all formats, themes and lengths. The filmmaker accepts the responsibility of submitting his/her work in a digital format accessible online. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to review interactive projects that are not easily accessible online or that require specialized hardware.
All eligible films must be completed by 2019 or 2020.
It is free to participate in POY Latam. POY Latam does not pay screening fees.
Projects will be accepted between November 30th and January 2nd using this form.
POY Latam requires that the work submitted to the contest be online. Videos can be uploaded to Vimeo (private password protected link), Youtube (not listed link), or the FilmFreeway video player.
The judges will choose the best multimedia work of the year, which will receive a $1,000 cash prize. The other winners will receive a digital certificate.
The final evaluation will take place between January 21 and 24. Please be sure to read the category descriptions carefully. Judges will be announced shortly.
Winning entries will be screened at the University of Miami’s Cosford Cinema in 2021 as part of a POY Latam exhibition.
The copyrights of the works presented belong to the respective authors. They grant POY Latam the international, irrevocable and perpetual authorization to reproduce the works presented in any of its publications, websites or exhibitions, while referencing the photographer and the prize received in the competition.
The participants guarantee that the work presented is original from the artist or the collective and, as such, said artist or collective is the only and exclusive owner and holder of the copyright of the work presented; and that the party that presents the work has the right to publish it or present it for its possible exhibition and grants the POY Latam all the required permissions. Participants agree not to submit works that (1) infringe the copyright, intellectual property, industrial property, personal or moral rights of others, or of any other nature, including but not limited to, copyright, trademark, patent, professional secrecy, privacy, publicity or confidentiality obligations; and (2) in no case violate applicable state, federal, provincial or local law.
An announcement from our main sponsor
Much of our success and credibility is due to the volunteer work of dozens of judges who have accompanied us over the past decade
Previous POY Latam winning works. Visit our archive, with thousands of the best photographs and documentary videos from Latin America
“As the largest documentary photography competition in the region, it gives a bird’s eye view of what is happening on the continent. It also reveals a new generation of photojournalists, avant-garde and irreverent, who are moving away from traditional references and developing a new way of looking.”Manuela Picq, Al Jazeera
“POY Latam celebrates excellence in documentary and artistic photography in Latin America. Our commitment is to transparency and our mission is to connect the visual creators of the region and build communities through competition, exhibitions, publications and educational spaces.”The Directors