The Arnold Newman Prize For New Directions in Photographic Portraiture

The 2022 Arnold Newman Prize Winner, Finalists and Honorable Mentions have been announced

Enter your portraits for a chance to win $20,000

The Arnold Newman Prize for New Directions in Photographic Portraiture is a $20,000 prize awarded annually to a photographer whose work demonstrates a compelling new vision in photographic portraiture. The jury will select a Top Ten, from which the winner and three finalists will be chosen. In addition to the winner, the three finalists are invited to participate in an exhibit at the Griffin Museum of Photography and receive a $250 stipend. The Prize is generously funded by the Arnold & Augusta Newman Foundation and proudly administered by Maine Media Workshops + College.

The Griffin Museum of Photography hosts the annual exhibition of work by the winner and three finalists each October.

This year’s exhibition will run from October 4th through October 30th. A reception and award ceremony will be held on October 6, 2022 4 – 6pm at the Griffin Museum in Winchester.

Register your interest below and we will let you know when the 2023 Arnold Newman Prize call for entries is open:


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The Mission

Arnold Newman had an insatiable fascination with people and the physical world around him. In his work, he constantly explored the boundaries of portraiture and embodied the spirit of artistic innovation. He was also a passionate teacher–he taught at Maine Media Workshops + College every summer for over 30 years.  In honor of Arnold’s legacy as both a photographer and mentor, The Arnold Newman Prize for New Directions in Photographic Portraiture recognizes excellence in a new generation of photographers by awarding $20,000 to a winning photographer and elevating the work of the winner and three finalists in press and through an exhibition at the Griffin Museum of Photography. The prize, the second largest in the United States, is designed to assist the winner in continuing the pursuit of their work and to serve as a launching pad for the next phase of their careers.

History of the Prize

The prize was established in 2009 by the Arnold and Augusta Newman Foundation. Maine Media Workshops + College has proudly administered the prize since 2016. Beginning with the 2017 prize, three finalists are selected each year in addition to the winner. In 2018, Maine Media partnered with the Griffin Museum of Photography to host an annual exhibition of work by the winner and finalists each year.

Since 2009, 13 artists have been awarded the prize:

Arnold Newman and Maine Media Workshops + College

Arnold Newman began his relationship with Maine in the late 1970’s, traveling from his home in New York City each summer to join a host of other renowned photographers in Rockport, who were teaching at the Maine Photographic Workshops, now known as Maine Media Workshops. For Arnold, Maine was a place of inspiration and rejuvenation and the Workshops a place to see old friends, be immersed in photography and share his work and experiences through teaching. He never came to Maine for just his workshop; it was always a longer stay. For more than thirty years, Arnold and his wife Augusta were vital influences among the Workshops community.

I first met Arnold at the Workshops in the summer of 1990. On a hot summer night, I sat in the crowded Union Hall Theater to listen to his lecture, and see the images illustrating his long and extraordinary life as a photographer. It was a lecture he would give every year, and each year, he would begin by asking the young photographers in the audience if they knew of the notable subjects in his photographs – always imploring that we must know our history, telling his audience, “we learn from the past.”

It would be a very long lecture. Arnold loved to tell stories. His stories are pretty hard to beat – how many people can share with you their personal account of photographing the man responsible for curing polio ­ or, every President since Truman? Photographing Otto Frank, the father of Anne Frank, on the day the Anne Frank House opened to the public or­ nearly every artist of note in the 20th century? About spending a day with Picasso? Being with Arnold was like being with a walking, talking history book.

I, like so many others in that crowded Union Hall Theater for Arnold’s slide show, was captivated by the way each image appeared to emerge from the innermost essence of the sitter. These were not ordinary pictures of people. Rather, they evinced the spirits of individuals engaged in their various pursuits, their innermost psyches, and their most honest moments. He has provided the world some of the most memorably significant and truest depictions of important figures in the areas of politics, sciences, and of course, the arts. For many admirers of these subjects, Arnold’s are the quintessential images.

During his extended visits to the Workshops, Arnold would act as an unofficial artist­ in­ residence. Many would enjoy the company of Arnold and Augusta for meals under the dining tent, where Arnold would regale his listeners with yet more stories. After all, he had a lifetime of extraordinary experiences to share! Frequently, Arnold would ask young photographers to come sit with him and would ask to see their work. On more than one occasion, one of those informal portfolio reviews launched the career of a now well­ regarded photographer.

Arnold was always a teacher, when he was in the classroom, delivering a lecture, or even just sharing a meal. To learn from Arnold, was to learn from a great master of craft, a visionary photographer and genuinely learned man. He helped many understand, in a most profound way, what it is to be an artist. I am now a teacher. My students know that I do so love to tell “Arnold” stories, stories of my time working with him ­and to recount his many stories as a way to teach history. To a great extent, it was through these stories that I learned.

The life and work of Arnold Newman have had a tremendous impact on the world, on those who know him only through his photographs as well as on those who have had the great fortune to know him personally. He shared with the world his keen observations of the great figures in our history; now, he is a part of that history and an indelible part of the history of the Workshops.

~ Elizabeth Thomsen Greenberg, Rockport, March 2010

Header image by Rashod Taylor.