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Call for Submissions:  Burtynsky Grant

Renowned Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky and the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival are accepting submissions for the 2017 Burtynsky Grant—a $5,000 annual grant to support a Canadian artist in the creation of a photobook. Burtynsky generously donated his 2016 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts of $25,000 to create the grant and foster the careers of Canadian artists.


This grant is intended to support artists who are in the advanced stages of developing a photobook. The jury is looking for submissions from those that have created a book dummy, are currently seeking funding to work with a publisher or to self-publish, and who have had little to no prior experience publishing a photobook. The winner will be announced at the end of May 2017.


Deadline May 15, 2017


Please submit the following as a PDF by a file hosting service (eg. WeTransfer or Dropbox) to Hardcopy submissions are also welcome in person or by mail at the applicant’s expense; please deliver to our office at the address below. You must be a Canadian citizen or resident to be eligible.


Minimum ten (10) spreads of a book dummy that best communicate your project and vision for publication
Project statement about your photobook and how you would use the grant funding
Expressions of interest from publishers, if available, and/or details on any other publishing grants or funding received
CV and/or artist statement


For questions, please email


The winner of the 2016 Burtynsky Grant is Aaron Friend Lettner for his book project Doorways. (Now available for pre-order via Anchorless Press.)


Jurors Edward Burtynsky, Annie MacDonell, (artist and instructor at Ryerson University), and Tara Smith (Program Director at CONTACT) received 110 submissions from across Canada, and considered innovative, compelling, and well-resolved book projects by those seeking funding to work with a publisher or to self-publish.


“To award this grant to Aaron Friend Lettner, a young emerging artist, is exciting because of the direct impact it will have on his self-publishing project. Doorways is a thoughtful meditation on narration and symbolism using black and white photographs, prose, and poetry. His past experience in bookmaking has informed his approach here by creating subtle strategies with layout and content, while pushing the boundaries of traditional storytelling.” – The Jury


“Doorways began with several experiments: manipulating photographic materials in the darkroom, integrating text into image sequences, and tampering with the bookmaking process itself” says Lettner, “I became interested in the symbolic properties of images and began to try what I now understand as writing with pictures.”


A student of photography, theatre and percussion, Aaron Friend Lettner continues to practice different methods of storytelling. Questions about the history of language, symbolism and spirituality form ideas that materialise as picture-books, installations and performances. Lettner holds a BFA in Photography and lives between Toronto and Vancouver.