One of the top international prizes in portrait photography will be administered by Maine Media Workshops in Rockport, where the photographer for whom the prize is named taught for 30 years.

The Arnold Newman Prize for New Directions in Portraiture is named in honor of the New York photographer considered to be the “father of modern portraiture” for placing his subjects in settings that capture the essence of the person if not their likeness, known today as environmental portraiture.

Maine Media Workshops also is increasing the value of the prize to $20,000 from $15,000, making it the second-largest photography prize in the country. The W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography has a monetary award of $30,000.

The Arnold and Augusta Newman Foundation established the annual prize in 2009, and seven photographers have won. Maine Media Workshops’ administration of the prize will increase the school’s profile, said President Meg Weston.

“Our goal is to preserve Arnold’s legacy for the school and for his family,” Weston said. “We have a real interest in raising the profile and prestige of the award.”

The application deadline for the 2017 prize is Oct. 14. The winner will be announced in the spring. In addition to the financial reward, the photographer also receives a solo exhibition at PhoPa Gallery on Washington Street in Portland.

Newman taught at Maine Media Workshops beginning in the 1970s. He came to Maine for inspiration and rejuvenation, said Elizabeth Greenberg, the workshops’ vice president of academic affairs and a family friend. Newman changed photography because he made it acceptable for photographers to tell someone’s story without necessarily taking a picture of their face.

“With Arnold’s work, you didn’t have to know who the person was to know something about them,” Greenberg said. “There’s a growing onus on a photographer to use the media in a way that tells the story of a person or conveys a person’s situation, condition, place or identity without looking into their face or gazing into their eyes.”

As administrator of the prize, Maine Media Workshops will convene an advisory council to select judges for the award. Newman’s sons, Eric and David, are on the council, along with Weston, Greenberg and several others.

The prize will go to the photographer who demonstrates “a new vision for portraiture,” Weston said. The goal of the prize is to encourage the photographer professionally and provide enough financial incentive to take creative risks.

Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

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