2014 Banff Mountain Photo Essay Competition

  By Evelyn Drake

The Banff Center is continuing with the competition format of the photo essay, and the theme in the coming year will be MOUNTAINS – IN ALL THEIR WONDER.

We invite photographers to submit photo essays to illustrate their mountain related stories whether they be culture, adventure, wildlife, sport, environment, or natural history. Each essay submitted should consist of two (2) to five (5) images. We suggest you include only those images required to tell your story – unnecessary images may reduce the overall impact of your submission. The call-for-entries and on-line entry form will be available here early in January 2014, and the entry deadline will be April 30th. $3000 CDN will be awarded to the winning essay.

The competition’s goal is to showcase the best in mountain-themed photo essays – to recognize the best stories told through a series of still images. The jury will be seeking a sequence of images that conveys a compelling story or message – with each image strong enough to stand on its own while conveying a greater narrative when viewed in the photographer’s desired sequence.

At its simplest, the definition of a photo-essay (or photographic essay) is a set or series of photographs that are intended to tell a story or evoke emotions in the viewer. Photo essays can be sequential in nature, intended to be viewed in a particular order, or they may consist of non-ordered photographs which may be viewed all at once to reveal their character and dynamics.

To capture the viewer’s interest, good photographic technique must be evident. The intent of a strong photo essay can be difficult to transmit – each image, and the group as a whole, must captivate the viewer with a singular vision and purpose. These visual stories require emotion, narrative arc, and discipline in the editing process. It is crucial that the story-teller think about what they want to say and how one photograph links to the next. Does each image contribute to the telling of the story? Photo essays require planning, structure and careful editing.


All entries will be viewed by a selection committee chaired by the Programming Director. Finalists chosen by this committee will be viewed by an independent jury, with the top contenders then being presented to the public who will vote for the winner. The entry with the most votes will win the $3000 CDN prize. The winner will be announced prior to the 2014 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival (November 1 – 9).

View 2014 Procedures and Regulations (PDF)

Entry deadline: APRIL 30, 2014

Click here for entry details.


Evelyn Drake has been in the camera business since 2004. She has been involved in every aspect of The Camera Store's operations with a focus on marketing and event-based initiatives. She also hosts our YouTube channel The Camera Store TV.