Candace Freeland Photography of Merit Award ends 1 August 2023

Deadline: 1 August 2023. The Mitford Museum is hosting its annual photography contest in honor of founder Jan Karon’s daughter and professional photographer, Candace Freeland.

U.S. photographers up to the age of 18 are invited to enter black and white photos based on the theme: My Family.

“At the age of 16, I was handed a clunky Hanimex Praktika camera and exposed my first roll of Tri-X film. My passion for the medium grew as I discovered the work of the photo-journalism masters: W. Eugene Smith, Henri Cartier Bresson, and Dorothea Lange. They were concerned photographers…with an eye attuned to those who suffer the snares of war and poverty.”

Inspired by their legacies, Candace went on to launch an award-winning photojournalism career, which included work with the Associated Press; the Charlotte Observer, US News and World Report, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other leading journals. Her photo exhibitions included Forced Out—The Agony of the Refugee in Our Time, sponsored by Amnesty International, and The Concerned Photographer, sponsored by the International Center of Photography. Candace later moved to Hawaii, where she documented more than a thousand weddings, and later to a final residence in her beloved North Carolina mountains.

The highlight of her life as a photographer was a letter in her early career from W. Eugene Smith (1918–1978), often described as the single most important photographer in the development of the editorial photo essay. “Your photographs,” he wrote, “are quite remarkable. I truly believe you can be a magnificent and honest photographic …contributor to humanity.”

Candace gave the founding gift for the Candace Freeland Photography of Excellence Award. The Mitford Museum is honored to carry forth her legacy of encouragement to young photographers through this heartfelt outreach to youth.


Distinguished jurors select the annual winner of a $5,000 cash prize. We will also award two, $1,000 runner-up prizes.

Photo Contest Website: