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Carolina Global Photography Competition

People looking at framed photos.

The 2024 Carolina Global Photography Exhibition is here! Campus and community members can view the exhibition in person at the FedEx Global Education Center or view it online through our virtual gallery

UNC-Chapel Hill students, faculty, staff and alumni are invited annually to submit photos that capture global experiences, connections and perspectives as part of the Carolina Global Photography Competition. Winning photos and finalists will be displayed in the FedEx Global Education Center as part of our annual building exhibition.

Over the course of more than two decades, the Carolina community has submitted around 8,000 photos for consideration in this amateur photo competition, and 500 photographs have been displayed as part of the Office of the Vice Provost for Global Affairs’ annual exhibition.

Submission Guidelines

2024 Deadline: TBD

Each photographer may submit up to three photographs by midnight of the competition deadline. Use the following naming convention for photo files: LastName_City_Country. Indicate the location of each photo (city and country) should be indicated as the “subtitle” of each photograph you submit.

Photos may represent any world region, and there is no restriction on the time period in which the photograph was taken. Entries will be judged on the basis of artistic merit and content, and special consideration will be given to images that are distinctive and embrace new perspectives.

Captioning Your Photo

As part of the submission, you will be asked to write a brief (100-300 word) caption to accompany each photograph. 

The ideal photo description is comprised of two parts: (1) short description of the subject of your photograph; and (2) relevant global or cultural context. 

If your photograph is selected as a finalist, UNC Global Affairs will review and edit captions for accuracy, brevity and consistency before exhibiting the caption with your photograph.

Before you submit your photograph to the Carolina Global Photography Competition, please review our guidelines for ethical photography. If there are identifiable subjects in your photos, you must acknowledge that you acquired their consent as part of your submission. 

Competition FAQ

You may submit up to three photographs through our PollUnit submission form, linked here.  For each entry, please include the following information: 

  • Name 
  • Photo Title 
  • Email 
  • Photo Location (City, Country) 
  • UNC Affiliation (undergraduate, graduate student, faculty, staff, alumni) 
  • Department/Major 

You should indicate the location of each photo as the “subtitle” of your photograph in your PollUnit submission. Including your social media handle is optional. Your photo file should be saved with the following naming convention: LastName_CityCountry

Click here to submit your photo(s) for consideration!

In line with the educational mission of the Carolina Global Photography Exhibition, photo captions should help deepen viewers’ understanding of the regional and/or cultural contexts of the photograph. Captions should offer the viewer additional context that allows them to come to a more informed understanding about the photograph. Below are examples of successful photo captions that have been displayed in past exhibitions:  

  • The Hussaini Village sits on the Hunza River and is surrounded by robust mountains in the valley of Gojal in northern Pakistan. While enjoying chai and chapati, an unleavened flatbread, a local farmer chats with visitors. For farmers to transport crops, and for guests to visit this village, they must cross the Borit River using the well-known Hussaini Bridge, a 660-foot suspension bridge made of small wooden planks about six feet long tied together with rope. Surrounded by the Hussaini Glacier and the Khunjarav River, the Hussaini Village is one of the oldest settlements of the Wakhi people in the Gojal Valley.
  • The Benedictine monks of Keur Moussa Abbey have spent the last 60 years perfecting the design of the kora, a stringed instrument carved from the body of a calabash gourd. The monks build their kora harps in a small workshop on the abbey grounds and offer lessons to teach others. The instrument is featured prominently in the music of Keur Moussa’s masses, where hymns are composed and sung in the monks’ native languages, including Diola, Wolof, and Serer.
  • Looking through this window overlooking the city of Rome, one can catch a glimpse into another world—the Vatican, specifically St. Peter’s Basilica, in all of its extravagance. Through this frame is not only a church but a country within a country. The Vatican houses the Pope, the Holy See (the universal government of the Roman Catholic Church), and an abundance of relics, iconic art, and stunning architecture.

Yes! But by submitting your photo to the contest, you provide permission for Carolina to use your photos for marketing and advertising purposes for both print and digital media. Please refer to Carolina Global Photography Competition terms and conditions in the submission form for more details.

We love to promote the global experiences of our Carolina students, faculty and staff. In the past, photos have been used on various Carolina websites and social media, printed in publications such as Endeavors magazine and the Alumni Review, and used in promotional materials such as brochures, calendars and annual reports. 

No, you can submit a photo from travel experiences, personal, professional or otherwise, that are not affiliated with Carolina. There is also no requirement about when the photo was taken. The photo could be from this summer or from 20 years ago!

Yes! Part-time students and employees, students in joint programs, alumni and former UNC-Chapel Hill faculty and staff are all eligible to participate.

Winners will be notified via email in December using the email address included in your submission.

Photos will be exhibited in the FedEx Global Education Center beginning in January and running through the summer. The exhibition is open to the public, and we welcome and encourage community members and community groups to view the photos on display. Learn more about building hours, location and parking.

YesIf your photo has been selected for the exhibition, you will receive an email from exhibition coordinators with instructions about how to pick up your printed photograph after the exhibition closes.  

The Carolina Global Photo Competition is led by the Office of the Vice Provost for Global Affairs.