2021 Critical Mass Top 50!

Take a look!

Critical Mass

The Critical Mass 2021 TOP 50 has been announced - take a look on our TOP 50 page!

Critical Mass 2022 will open in June, sign up for our newsletter to be notified when it's open!

Critical Mass is an annual online program that makes connections within the photography community. Photographers at any level, from anywhere in the world, submit a portfolio of 10 images. Through a pre-screening process, the field is narrowed to a group of 200 finalists who go on to have their work viewed and voted on by over 200 esteemed international photography professionals (please check out the "success stories" page for connections made in Critical Mass). From the Finalist group, the TOP 50 are named and a series of awards are given. In 2021 we were pleased to offer:

Michael Reichmann Project Development Grant - five Finalists have been awarded $1000 cash to go towards the development of a current or future project. Congratulations to VANESSA LEROY, DANIEL MEBAREK, ANDREA OREJARENA + CALEB STEIN, CLAUDIA RUIZ GUSTAFSON, and OLGA SOKAL!

Blue Sky Gallery Solo Show Award – Congratulations to Federico Estol, whose work will be on exhibit in April, 2022 (month of Photolucida!) at Blue Sky Galley in Portland, Oregon.

Fraction Feature Award – Ten Finalists have been selected to be featured on Fraction Magazine in a dedicated Critical Mass Issue, selected by Bree Lamb. Congrats to: Caleb Cole, Deana Collins, Federico Estol, Kristina Knipe, Pedro Kuperman, Vanessa Leroy, Claudia Ruiz Gustafson, Maximilian Thuemler, Melanie Walker, and Michael Young.

Humble Highlight Award – Five finalists will receive individual deep dive interviews on Humble Arts Foundation's blog, selected by Humble's Jon Feinstein and Roula Seikaly. Congratulations to: Caleb Cole, Tira Kahn, Michael Young, Jenna Garrett, Vanessa Leroy, Federico Estol, Christian K. Lee, Marna Clarke, Shun Tsuiki and Claudia Ruiz Gustafson.

Print Collecting Initiative Award – each of the 200 Finalists will receive a limited edition signed print ("Selah, 2020" - from the series 'Because the Sun Hath Looked Upon Me') by Granville Carroll. This award is generously sponsored by Pro Photo and Hahnemühle.

A Group Exhibition titled HUMAN/NATURE pulled from the Critical Mass Finalist group - curated by Laura Moya as a primary exhibit for the Lishui Photography Festival in China. Congratulations to Deb Achak, Debe Arlook, Thomas Georg Blank + Işık Kaya, Aaron Blum, Peter Bogaczewicz, Goseong Choi, David Ellingsen, Peter Essick, David Freese, Adriene Hughes, Serge J-F. Levy, Holly Lynton, Amanda Marchand, Diana Cheren Nygen, Stefan Petranek, Meg Roussos, Jennifer Shaw, Miranda Schmitz, Sara Silks, Noriko Takasugi, Amanda Tinker, Alex Turner and Barry Underwood.

Gifted Book Award - These Critical Mass Finalists will received a copy of 'Running, Falling, Flying, Floating, Crawling' (Saint Lucy Books, 2021), edited by Mark Alice Durant. Kat Bawden, Meg Birnbaum, Marna Clarke, Andrés Mario de Varona, Rocio De Alba, Regina DeLuise, Sharon Draghi, Tracy Fish, Morgan Davis Foehl, Marsha Guggenheim, Joan Haseltine, Jenica Heintzelman, Kei Ito, Alec Kaus, Billy Kidd, David Knox, Ruth Lauer-Manenti, Lisa McCord, Bruce Myren, Faith Ninivaggi, Lori Ordover, Jared Ragland, Parker James Reinecker, Melinda Reyes, Heather Evans Smith, Erinn Springer, Peggy Washburn and Becky Wilkes.

Merit-Based Scholarships - selected photographers (with a focus on students) will have the entry fee to Critical Mass waived and the finalist fee waived if juried into the Top 200, as well as guidance from Photolucida. Nominations are now closed and selected photographers have been notified!

Mila Teshaieva

Critical Mass Books

Over the years, Photolucida has offered book awards as part of our Critical Mass programming. Photolucida publishes and distributes these titles, and gives copies of the books to all participating photographers and jurors on the years the award is given.


Past titles have been collaborative efforts with publishers such as Daylight Books and Kehrer Verlag. Check out our library of current publications as well as our backlist!