About The Scotiabank Photography Award

At Scotiabank, we are proud to play a role in celebrating the creative vision and accomplishments of our country’s most gifted photographers.

Scotiabank and Photography

Scotiabank has a long-standing history of celebrating the importance of photography in Canada and around the world. In 1976, we established the Scotiabank Fine Art Collection and today the collection continues to acquire the work of renowned Canadian photographers, including the work of some of our past Scotiabank Photography Award winners.

In 2006, Scotiabank hosted a photo exhibition that featured the work of Médecins Sans Frontières in the Congo in Scotia Plaza in Toronto and witnessed the powerful way that photography helps people connect with a moment in time.

In 2010, after several years as CONTACT Festival’s presenting sponsor of their premiere exhibition, we proudly became title sponsor for the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival – the largest photography festival in the world.

To deepen our commitment to the Arts and to ensure a major exhibition of a Canadian artist at the Festival, we created the Scotiabank Photography Award. The Award recognizes the achievements of an established mid to later career artist and strives to accelerate their career as he or she reaches for the next level of national and international recognition.

Most recently in 2015, Scotiabank announced that we are a Founding Partner of the Canadian Photography Institute with a $10 million donation, the largest in Scotiabank’s 183 year history, to the National Gallery of Canada towards the creation of the Canadian Photography Institute (CPI).

Scotiabank’s sponsorship of the arts also includes the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, and the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, among others.

Scotiabank Photography Award

The Scotiabank Photography Award is Canada’s largest and most prestigious annual peer-nominated and peer-reviewed award that acknowledges the outstanding contribution that our winners have made to contemporary art and photography. These are artists who strive to invent, influence and redefine the reception of art in ways that will endure. The Scotiabank Photography Award winner exhibition is a featured primary exhibition co-curated by Paul Roth & Gaëlle Morel at the Ryerson Image Centre during the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. The winner also receives a $50,000 cash prize and a book of their work published and distributed worldwide by Steidl of Germany.

The Award was co- founded in 2010, by Edward Burtynsky, internationally-renowned Canadian photo artist and Chair of the Scotiabank Photography Award jury, and Scotiabank to strengthen Scotiabank’s commitment to the Arts in Canada.

The longlist is announced in January and the short list is announced in March. The winner will be announced in early May during the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, along with the opening of the exhibition at the Ryerson Image Centre and the book launch for the previous year's winner.

Scotiabank Photography 
Award Nominators

Nominations are requested by the Scotiabank Photography Award from independent Nominators from across Canada. Nominators include but are not limited to; curators, photographers, artists, gallery directors, art writers, professors and critics.

Nominees are adjudicated by three expert Jurors over two successive days in March and chaired by Edward Burtynsky. The jurors consist of national and international experts currently working in the field of photography. The jury will select a short list of three finalists and one winner.

Scotiabank Photography 
Award Nominees

Candidates may live and work anywhere in the world, and must have Canadian citizenship.

Eligible nominee(s) should demonstrate:

  1. Excellence and inventiveness in photographic narrative and art form
  2. Singularity of vision integrated with the highest level of technical expertise and quality production
  3. Commitment to a career in photo-based art and demonstrated potential for growth and evolution Meaningful and relevant form and content with capacity to engage a broad audience
  4. Potential to communicate ideas effectively on a national and international stage
  5. National profile and broad history of exhibition and publication
  6. Completed and ongoing projects are accepted