Pictures of the Year
Pictures of the Year (POY) began as a photographic contest in the spring of 1944 in Columbia, Missouri, when the Missouri School of Journalism sponsored its “First Annual Fifty-Print Exhibition” contest. Its stated purpose was, “to pay tribute to those press photographers and newspapers which, despite tremendous war-time difficulties, are doing a splendid job; to provide an opportunity for photographers of the nation to meet in open competition; and to compile and preserve… a collection of the best in current, home-front press pictures.”
In 1945, the Edoms also founded the College Photographer of the Year contest. CPoY (www.cpoy.org) continues to provide valuable feedback and encouragement to thousands of young photographers, many of whom have gone on to win in POYi.
In 1948, following a decision to invite magazine photographers to participate, the Fifty-Print Exhibition Contest became the News Pictures of the Year Contest. Then, in 1957, the University of Missouri and the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) merged their respective contests. Through this partnership, “Pictures of the Year” was developed and continued until 2001 when NPPA and Missouri parted ways. POYi is now administered solely by the Missouri School of Journalism, with additional financial support from Fujjifilm, MSNBC, National Geographic and by the entrants to the yearly competition.
Guided by former directors Angus McDougall and Bill Kuykendall, the scope of Pictures of the Year changed dramatically. The number of entered images increased to tens of thousands, and Pictures of the Year became an international program. And, in 2001 Pictures of the Year became Pictures of the Year International.
As the contest grew the overall mission of POYi broadened as well. Today, there are Pictures of the Year Awards’ seminars and workshops. Each year’s contest is commemorated through exhibits, a book and this Web site. In addition, the public is invited to participate in on-line voting for its “Best Picture of the Year.”
In 2001, the Pictures of the Year International Endowment fund was established so as to provide a firm financial footing as POYi increasingly becomes a center for research and discussion and education.