Jacob A. Riis Photography Award

The Jacob A. Riis Photography Award supports the future of photography and civic action by bringing together youth photographers in Denmark and the United States through a competition program. The inaugural 2022 Jacob A. Riis Photography Award will recognize, celebrate, and empower young photographers ages 13-18 whose talent, creativity and community-building spirit are making the world a better place with their cameras. By creating this award, the Jacob A. Riis Museum in Ribe, Denmark advances its mission of youth education programming, showing and discussing social conditions, demonstrating how a dedicated person can contribute to the world and fostering connections between the United States and Denmark. Benefits for the youth Award finalists include becoming part of a new community of people with shared interests, museum exhibition and website honors, and cash prizes.

While technical skill and originality are important – this award competition supports the spirit, vision, energy, and passion of Jacob A. Riis who believed photography was one of the most powerful ways to tell a story, provide hope, bring light to darkness, and educate and inspire people. Riis was a self-taught photographer who never believed he was a professional photographer–though his images helped to build safer, healthier, and more just communities in New York and around the world. As a young boy in Ribe, Denmark, Jacob Riis was full of ideas, energy and a “can-do” spirit and this photography award seeks to recognize the positive energy and challenging work demonstrated by youth photographers and to affirm the value of their ideas and artistic talents.


Jacob A. Riis Photography Award 2022

Theme: How do you use your camera to make the world better?


Eligibility: Open to all youth residing in Denmark or the United States and between the ages of 13-18 years old at the time of submission


Entry Fee: No cost



1st Place – $1000 and Exhibition at the Jacob A. Riis Museum

2nd & 3rd Places – $250 and Exhibition at the Jacob A. Riis Museum

Honorable Mentions – Exhibition at the Jacob A. Riis Museum



To enter, upload one to five of your phone, DSLR or mirrorless camera photos that best capture your photographic talent and commitment to inspiring others to learn and act on your areas of interests. By submitting, you are confirming that you took the photo and the photo submitted is your sole and original work. Each entry should be a single image – not part of a series.  Applicants are welcome to seek feedback from family, educators, and friends as you select 1-5 photos to submit online. For each photo submission, write a statement (250 words or less) describing how and why your photo(s) can inspire, educate, heal and/or encourage others to learn and act. Does the photo encourage the viewer to want to know more? To be kinder? To share what they learned from the photo? For example, a photo might give the viewer a new perspective on the subject or scene because of the composition and how the content of the photo communicates emotion.

Below are ideas to help in writing your statement:

  • What photographic techniques did you use in your photo?
  • What do you want your viewers to understand about your photo?
  • What are the key issues, opportunities, or challenges your subject matter represents?

Your statement will be viewed by the jurors but will not be made public at any time. Do not use self-identifying information in your statements. A photo without a statement will not be accepted. Entries are selected for awards without knowledge of the youth’s name, age, gender, ethnicity, or home country.


Entry period:

Upload photos any time between August 1st and 11:59pm November 30th, 2022.



A volunteer team of Danish and American youth, public and business leaders and professional photographers will judge all photo submissions to select the winners. The jury will be led by photographer Dallas Agnew, (@dallas_agnew_photo).
Finalists will be announced by January, 2023.


Remember to attach:




Remember to also write:

Full name


Place of residence

Contact Information

Participate and submit a picture and statement here:






Sponsoring Organization: Jacob A. Riis Museum, Ribe, Danmark


Want to know more about the program and Jacob A. Riis Photography Award? Click here.