The prize.

‘I came across a magazine with an inscription that said, “A civilisation flourishes when men plant trees under which they themselves never sit.” But it’s not only plants – putting something in somebody’s life, a young person’s life, is the same as planting a tree that you will not cut and sell. That has helped me a lot in my work. Sometimes the more you give, the more you get. That’s why I’m still going at 90!’ — James Barnor

The James Barnor Prize

James Barnor believes that there are many photographic talents to be discovered on the African continent or from the diaspora.

The James Barnor Prize was born out of James Barnor's desire to promote and support photography talents in the African continent or wider African diaspora, and to increase their visibility at an international level.

This desire to focus on African photography, which is relatively rare in the field of photography awards, reminds us of the objectives of the James Barnor Foundation, to which the Prize is attached: support for African culture and the training, education and promotion of new generations of African artists.

With an endowment of 10.000 €, the Prize awarded by James Barnor Foundation, is intended to reward the journey of an established photographer mid-career that needs support to get the recognition that he deserves.


Each year, the Prize will be awarded to an established photographer living in one of the sub-regions of the African continent chosen annually by the James Barnor Foundation (West Africa, East Africa, South Africa, North Africa and Central Africa). A specific edition will be dedicated to the diaspora.

First Edition: 2022 - West African region

The first edition of the prize was focused on the West African region : Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde (Cape Verde), Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast),Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Saint Helena, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo.

Find out more about the winner of the 2022 edition here.

Second Edition: 2023 - East African region

The second edition focuses on the East African region : Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Uganda, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Selection Procedure

The Foundation contacts a list of experts of the Photography and contemporary African art scenes to nominate candidates. Nominees need to submit a dossier that includes a presentation of their artistic career, and a portfolio including three representative series of work.

The Jury, made up of personalities from the sphere of the arts and photography, as well as members of the James Barnor Foundation board, chaired by James Barnor himself, meet to select the winner. In 2022, the laureate was announced on Friday 8th July in the Rencontres d'Arles.

To learn more about the 2022 laureate, click here : Prize 2022