STERN Grant FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

The renowned German weekly STERN magazine and the LUMIX Festival for young photojournalism continue to expand their cooperation. Their latest joint venture, the STERN Grant scholarship award, invites applications from promising young photojournalists. Here we answer some frequently asked questions.

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What is the purpose of the STERN Grant?

The STERN Grant will be awarded to the best proposal for a new yet to be produced story. The STERN Grant is no prize money for already existing photo projects but a production budget to realize ideas and suggestions for an unique future photo reportage. The purpose of the grant is to connect a photograper to a STERN journalist/writer to enable them to jointly produce a story together, which ideally will later be published in a magazine of the „STERN-family“. Thus completed work will be excluded from the competition.

If the STERN Grant only awards a proposal and not a photo reportage why do I need to include a portfolio in my application?

Portfolios and already existing photos submitted with the application are only intended as a work sample, so we can understand the photographic style and the thematic orientation of the candidate better.

I'm very interested in the STERN Grant but cannot find information in English. Does this grant only apply for German photographers and/or persons who speak German? Can I apply if my proposal and other files are in English?

STERN Grant is eligible not only for participants from Germany but for International candidates. You can submit your application either in German or in English. Please find information about the Photojournalism Scholarship in English here.

How detailed should the proposal be?

Your proposal should sufficiently outline the character and purpose of your project. Furthermore an estimation of the financial means is required and the duration of the projects should be included. The proposal must not be longer than one Din-A4 standard page.

I am currently 34, and will turn 35 at the time the grant is announced - am I still eligible?

You are eligible to apply for the STERN Grant if you are older than 18 years old and 35 years old or younger.

Is it possible to apply for the grant as a team of photographers?

Yes, you are free to join forces with a fellow photographer and submit a joint project as a tamdem of two photographers – if you and your fellow photographer are willing to share the grant of 10.00 Euro between the two of you. The team can not exceed two persons.

Is it possible for an applicant to submit two different projects with two separate electronic forms?

No, we only accept one project per applicant. However if you working in a team of two you are eligible to submit a total of two projects in two separate electronic online applications. Am I allowed to submit a project that has been previously submitted to another competition but did not receive the award? If the previous application process has already ended you are eligible to submit the same project.

Am I allowed to apply for the STERN Grant with a project that is currently participating in a competition for another grant due to a submission I did some months ago?

As we have to ensure that no other institution has the prerogative to publish the project that is supported by the STERN Grant we cannot accept proposals to projects which have previously been submitted to other other competions and were the application process is still pending.

If the project have never been awarded or published, but some photos of my previous photograpy project have been, is that a problem?

You are entlited do submit the same project proposal but we do not accept the images that have been previously published.

I like working on long-term projects and over-arching topics. Can I submit a project that I started working on a while ago?

Yes, it is possible to apply with a long-term project you have already started but which has not yet being published – under the condition that this work has never been supported by any grant/bursary/scholarship from other institutions. Please keep in mind as we do not accept already existing projects that the proportion of yet to be produced photos must be more than 70% in relation to the photos already present.

Am I restricted to show new, unpublished work, or can I submit the existing project I have worked on before in slightly modified form by adding some brand new images?

As mentioned earlier we do not accept already published photos. For long-term projects of which some earlier images have already been published in a publication/exhibition, it is crucial to indicate time and place of the release. For this kind of entries the admission to the STERN Grant depends on different criteria: Are the new photos a mere continuation of an existing series? Then the project will be rejected.

Do the new photos prove an development of the original project by revealing new aspects and new insights?

We will check how the continuation of the project evolves to an independent and distinctive work – and we reserve the right to decide each case individually. However, we definetely need the information on whether the project has previously received any funding (grant, scholarship, etc.) – and if so by which institution. And again: Please keep in mind as we do not accept already existing projects that the proportion of yet to be produced photos must be more than 70% in relation to the photos already present.

I want to be sure that my project fits into your rules. Will my application may include planned but not confirmed assumption? I'm still researching this field and I am sending some photos and descriptions about the first chapter of my project.

We do not have the capacity to scan and evaluate potential proposals before entry. If you feel comfortable with a project you are welcome to submit your application – without previous assessment from our side.

What are the rules and regulations regarding the post-processing of the submitted photos?

Generally speaking post-processing of the images is permitted only on a very limited scale. It is important to note that processing by itself is not manipulation. As we do not accept proposals which are based on manipulated photos, for STERN Magazine the code of ethics and entry rules focusses on following issues:

  1. Photographers must not intentionally contribute to, or alter, the scene they picture by re-enacting or staging events. If the concept of the photo project includes staging or re-enacting events it must be clearly disclosed in the captions. Staging and re-enacting are different from posing for portraits. Portraits are a special genre of photography. For any portrait directions given to a subject must be clearly disclosed in the captions.
  2. Altering the content of a picture by “adding, rearranging, reversing, distorting or removing people and/or objects from within the frame” is manipulation and makes an entry ineligible.
  3. Adjustments of color or conversion to grayscale that do not alter content are permitted – thus converting black and white into color and vice versa is allowed. There are two types of color adjustment that count as manipulation:
    1. Changes in color may not result in significant changes in hue, to such an extent that the processed colors diverge from the original colors.
    2. Changes in density, contrast, color and/or saturation levels that alter content by obscuring or eliminating backgrounds, and/or objects or people in the background of the picture, are not permitted.

When and how will the recipient of the STERN Grant be informed?

If the recipient of the STERN Grant won’t be able to attend the Lumix Festival in Hannover on June 18, 2016 where the winner will be announced, he or she will be informed by us via e-mail the same day.