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Hold Up Half the Sky: Photographs by Women Call for Entry

Dallas Center for Photography

“Women hold up half the sky” is, ironically, a 1968 quote from Chinese Communist Party chairman Mao Zedong. China’s first constitution stipulated that “Women enjoy equal rights with men in political, economic, cultural, education and social life”. Years later that has not translated to top party positions for women, but the expression has been widely adopted by artists and authors around the world to signify the equality of women. 

The juror for this competition is the esteemed photographer Aline Smithson, a visual artist best known for her conceptual portraiture and a practice that uses humor and pathos to explore the performative potential of photography.

“I’m so excited to celebrate and shine a light on women in photography through DCP’s current call for entry. Today, women are commanding significant recognition for their profound storytelling and ways of seeing and understanding the world. Our stories are important, and our photographs reflect an expanded and exciting time in photography. For Hold up Half the Sky, we are looking for work by ALL WOMEN regardless of age, experience, education, race, sexual orientation, or location. Our goal is to create an exhibition that reflects a broad array of approaches to creating photographs, i.e. spectacular images that tell our stories, consider our planet, or simply reflect the journey of women in today’s world.” -Aline Smithson

Selections from this competition will be presented in an exhibition in the DCP Gallery in June 2023. Prizes will be awarded to first, second, and third place.

Entry fees help support our mission as a 501c3 nonprofit to operate our community gallery and to serve as a focal point for creators and appreciators of all forms of photography through education, mentorship, exhibitions, and community outreach.


March 8 – Call opens
April 14 – Call closes
April 24 – Selections and winners announced
May 1 – June 2 – Delivery of framed artwork
June 10 – In-person gallery reception at DCP
June 11 – June 24 – Exhibition will be open at DCP Gallery


First place: $300
Second place: $200
Third place: $100


Aline Smithson is a visual artist, editor, and educator based in Los Angeles, California. She is best known for her conceptual portraiture and a practice that uses humor and pathos to explore the performative potential of photography. Growing up in the shadow of Hollywood, her work is influenced by the elevated unreal. She has exhibited widely including over 40 solo shows at a variety of international institutions and her work has been featured in publications including The New York Times, The New Yorker, and PDN.

Smithson is the Founder and Editor- in-Chief of Lenscratch, a daily journal on photography. In 2012, she received the Rising Star Award through the Griffin Museum of Photography for her contributions to the photographic community and she also received the prestigious Excellence in Teaching Award from CENTER. In 2014 and 2019, Smithson’s work was selected for the Critical Mass Top 50. In 2015, the Magenta Foundation published her first significant monograph, Self & Others: Portrait as Autobiography, and in 2016, the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum commissioned Smithson to create a series of portraits for the upcoming Faces of Our Planet Exhibition. In 2018 and 2019, her work was exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery in London as part of the Taylor Wessing Prize. Kris Graves Projects published her book, LOST II: Los Angeles and included her work in SOLACE and On Death. Peanut Press released her monograph, Fugue State, in Fall of 2021. In 2022, Smithson was recognized as a Hasselblad Heroine.

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