ONWARD Compé '14 Opening Reception

Submit & Share Now »


Project Basho presents ONWARD Compé, an international juried competition for emerging photographers. Each year Compé culminates in a group show of framed prints from the selected finalists, with an opening reception at Summit, ONWARD’s annual photography festival in Philadelphia.

Juried each year by a leading figure in contemporary photography, ONWARD Compé spotlights new, envelope-pushing work that continues to further the medium. Now in its eighth year, Compé has solidified its standing as a highly respected international competition, drawing submissions from across the U.S. and around the globe. The competition seeks to increase the exposure of talented image-makers, create outlets for artists’ work, and present compelling photographs in a cohesive and well-curated exhibition.

ONWARD Compé has an open theme and accepts submissions from any photographer who has never had commercial gallery representation.

Compé and Summit are two components of ONWARD, a multifaceted photography happening that encompasses a photography festival in Philadelphia, an international competition, Workshops for discerning photographers, and Galerie, an online gallery featuring selected photographers.


Every year ONWARD invites a distinguished photographer to lend a discerning eye to Compé, serving as guest juror. The guest juror is responsible for choosing 56 noteworthy finalists and ultimately two outstanding grand prize winners from among hundreds of talented competitors.


Elinor Carucci

Her critically-acclaimed images explore themes of family relationships, female experience, and self discovery.

Get to know the Juror »

Elinor Carucci is an Israeli-born photographer who has lived and worked in New York since 1995. Her recent monograph Mother (Prestel, 2013) was included in the New York Times Top 10 Photo Books of 2013 and the Los Angeles Times Year-End Spread of Bold, Inventive Photography Books.

Carucci began working on Mother when pregnant with twins in 2004, and continued to photograph her family’s daily life over the course of nearly a decade. The result is a startlingly emotive series that, through intensely personal views of both blissful and painful moments, paradoxically reveals the universal experience of family intimacy. A similar theme is present in much of Carucci’s earlier autobiographical work, including the series Closer (2002).


Elinor Carrucci: Life and Work [Read her interview »]
The artist received the International Center of Photography’s Infinity Award for Young Photographer in 2001 and the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002. She has exhibited internationally, with solo shows at Edwynn Houk (New York), Sasha Wolf (New York), Fifty One Fine Art (Antwerp), and James Hyman (London), among other galleries. Her work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, The Brooklyn Museum, and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. She currently teaches graduate-level courses in photography at the School of Visual Arts and is represented by Edwynn Houk Gallery in New York.


ONWARD Compé stands out among photography contests as a unique opportunity to connect with an international community of talented fine art photographers.

A view of Compé exhibition

Social Connection

Everyone who enters is automatically featured in the submissions gallery on the Compé website. Each photographer’s images are displayed along with links to personal and social media sites, and a comments feature that facilitates discussion among ONWARD participants.

Prints Matter

With the goal of setting a high standard for photo competitions, Compé remains committed to a two-step judging process:

  • The first round is judged based on digital file submissions.
  • First-round finalists submit exhibition-ready prints for consideration in the final round.

Show Business

Fifty-six finalists selected by our renowned guest juror participate in a CV-worthy gallery show at Project Basho in Philadelphia. The exhibition of prints opens with a reception at Summit, ONWARD’s annual photography festival that also includes portfolio reviews, lectures, and workshops.

Frames on Us

Taking into consideration the financial challenges posed to fine art photographers, ONWARD provides standard-size frames (up to 20″ x 30″) for the exhibition, ensuring a uniform look to the show while decreasing costs for participating photographers.

Ongoing Exposure

Photographers chosen to participate in the ONWARD exhibition will have their winning image included on the exclusive Galerie website, which features all ONWARD photographers, past and present. A selection of photographers will also be featured by our media sponsors.

Get Published

Each year’s selected works are compiled and published in a new edition of the ONWARD catalog, acknowledging the importance of book publishing as a means of display in the fine art community.


With two rounds of judging by ONWARD’s esteemed guest juror, as well as a popular vote, Compé honors a select group of outstanding photographers with an assortment of enviable prizes.

Audience in ONWARD Summit

All 56 entrants selected for advancement to the second round will submit prints in a medium of their choosing to be framed and exhibited at Project Basho Gallery from March to May 2015. All chosen work will also be displayed on the ONWARD Galerie website and published in a printed catalog.


Second-round finalists will be considered for the following prizes:

2 Juror’s Awards – Grand Prize

  • $750 cash prize
  • Invitation to present your work at ONWARD Summit ’15 on March 14th, 2015 in Philadelphia
  • Free FotoVisura account

Popular Vote Prize

  • Acceptance into the second round of judging for Compé ’15
  • $200 cash prize

Honorable Mentions

  • Free FotoVisura account
  • Additional gifts from our sponsors

Popular Vote

We’re giving the people a voice in this year’s competition with our second annual popular vote feature.


The first image submitted by each photographer is automatically published to the online Compé gallery where viewers may vote for their favorites. Votes are limited to one per day per viewer.

The popular vote winner receives a cash prize and automatically qualifies for inclusion in the second round of judging.


Over the past eight years, ONWARD has grown from its humble beginnings as a local photography contest into a highly respected international competition and festival.



2008: ONWARD launched in 2008, attracting 283 submissions. Renowned photographer Andrea Modica served as the competition’s first juror.


2009: In just its second year, the competition drew an impressive 413 entrants. The competition was juried by Peter Barberie, Curator of Photographs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


2010: For ONWARD ‘10, noted documentary photographer Debbie Fleming Caffery judged from an applicant pool of 418 photographers, selecting multiple works from many of the entrants.


2011: ONWARD’s fourth year was marked by its greatest growth yet, attracting a total of 614 entrants. Juried by celebrated photographer Larry Fink, the exhibition traveled to Ricoh’s Ring Cube Gallery in Tokyo, Japan.


2012: ONWARD’s fifth year was marked by the addition of the inaugural Summit photography conference. The competition was judged by photographer Todd Hido.


2013: Juried by Mark Steinmetz, ONWARD ’13 saw a remarkable increase in international involvement, with just under half of the competition’s entrants coming from outside of the U.S.


2014: ONWARD ’14, juried by Andrew Moore, attracted the greatest international participation yet, with Compé submissions from 24 countries and a contingent of photographers traveling all the way from Japan to join in the Summit event.

Be Part of History

Take a few simple steps to participate in this year’s ONWARD!

Submit & Share Now »

  • Entry is $25 for the first photo and $10 for each additional image.
  • Each artist may submit up to ten images.

  • Compé is open to anyone who hasn’t had a contract with a commercial gallery.
  • Participating photographers retain their rights to all of their images.

Need Help?

Read the FAQs and get some answers »

Review all the details before your submit your photographs!