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Prize 2022

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Please join us on May 12 for opening night of the photography exhibition and an awards ceremony recognizing the winners of the 2022 Teen Photojournalist Prize.

Photojournalist Prize 2022 Winners

Two girls embrace in a crowd.

Best in Show

Lainey Hogg / Kirkwood High School

As they turn to each other, Lilly Verrill and Aubrey Wooten, seniors, celebrate their last pep rally at Kirkwood High School on April 13, 2021.

Category Winners

Best Landscape

Ava Carson / Nerinx Hall High School

A murder of crows soar over the "Hunters Moon" on October 19th, 2021 making their way across the St. Louis skyline.

Best Sports Action

Kyle Button / Francis Howell North High School

Freshman Kaylee Lohnes slides into home plate on Sept. 29, 2021. Lohnes, of Francis Howell North HS, scored the first of the seven runs the Knights plated against Ritenour HS. The FHN Knights defeated Ritenour 7-2. Lohnes went 1-3 at the plate, with a single and a run scored. She hit for a .354 batting average on the season, the second-highest on the team.

Best Portrait

Lily Kleinhenz / Clayton High School

Jean Haldiman, a senior at Clayton High School in her racing helmet. Shortly after getting her permit, she took an interest in competitive race car driving. In the male dominant sport, Jean is not only the youngest but also usually the only female competing.

Graduates on the Kirkwood High School field

Best Pandemic Life

Lainey Hogg / Kirkwood High School

With their arms around each other, Ceci Escudero and Phebe Hammond, seniors, sing the alma mater, Hail Kirkwood, at graduation on May 7, 2021.

Best Feature

Kate Viglione / Lafayette High School

Drawn in by the glow of the flame, Rylan Retych watches as the bubbles in his hands catch ablaze on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. Students in Honors Chemistry had the opportunity to scoop up methane bubbles and watch the phenomenon of the flame light up in their hands. “I was a little worried, but once it happened, it was absolutely beautiful. I can’t believe I can say I’ve held fire,” Retych said.

Best Sports Feature

Lainey Hogg / Kirkwood High School

Ringing the Frisco Bell, Brady Nauman, senior, and his teammates celebrate a 65-0 win against Webster at the annual Turkey Day game Nov. 25, 2021.

Best Portrait

Luke Sewell / Ladue Horton Watkins High School

Teenager Nate Gibson carefully holds an old studio light in preparation for portraits in St. Louis, Missouri on Monday, June 21, 2021. He stops directly under a skylight where a beam of sun casts across his face.

Honorable Mentions

Honorable Mention in Landscape

Sid Suratia / Marquette High School

A SUV zooms by, braking on a steep slope in Branson, Missouri. The long-exposure taken on June 11, 2021, showcases the Ozark’s Landscape, and the streak of the car passing by leads the viewer’s eye through the frame. The chaotic stormy night, and dark forest complements the linear, almost "alien" motion of the SUV’s lights.

Sunset over the Clayton skyline.

Honorable Mention in Landscape

Maxwell Grellner / Saint Louis University HS

Sunset over the Clayton skyline taken from Compton Hill reservoir park in St. Louis, Mo., on May 6, 2021.

Honorable Mention in Pandemic Life

Katherine Uy / John Burroughs High School

Senior Sasha Kaslow, freshman Isabel Cepeda, and senior Sophia Park dance stage right to Weakness, a piece choreographed by Maisie Zipfel, class of 2023, on January 20th, 2022, during the final dress rehearsal for the John Burroughs Annual Dance Show in Ladue, MO. In January 2020, this yearly school tradition was the last in-person performance before COVID-19 led to prolonged school closure; 2022’s opening night will mark a return to the stage.

Honorable Mention in Sports Feature

Mac Huffman / Ladue Horton Watkins High School

Sophomore Johann Schuldt stands on the empty field after losing the Missouri state soccer game on March 14, 2022. One of the team’s coaches, Bobby Elzemeyer, passed away Dec. 20 2020 after having COVID-19. “It sucked losing, especially with the whole school watching,” Schuldt said. “Bobby would have still been proud, he was there for us no matter what."

Honorable Mention in Portrait

Sruthi Ramesh / Wentzville-Liberty High School

Senior cheerleader Ella Evans looks onto the student crowd as the last home football game of her high school career kicks off. The game ended in an electrifying win for the Eagles varsity football team and was a memorable way to finish the last season of football for the Class of 2022. Senior Ella Hillgartner cheered with her team and the student section at the first home game of the school year.

Honorable Mention in Landscape

Zaire Rose Harrell / MICDS

The ocean may not have a voice but it speaks many volumes.

Honorable Mention in Feature

Andrew Paul Poertner / Francis Howell North High School

A group of museum goers evaluate the painting, “Apples and Grapes” by Claude Monet at The Art Institute of Chicago on March 24 in Chicago, Illinois. The Art Institute of Chicago currently has a gallery on display named “Impressionism” with famous impressionists work such as Renoir, Morisot, Caillebotte, Seurat, Van Gogh, and many more.

Honorable Mention in Sports Action

Maya Culian / Francis Howell Central High School

Sophomore Stevie Lupo holding her opponent in a chokehold as her opponent struggles to get out, allowing Stevie to take the win at GACs on January 7, 2022.

Shekhinah Estes at Iconic Magazines in New York

Honorable Mention in Portrait

Somo Dedkhad / Pattonville High School

Shekhinah Estes, a 21-year-old woman from St. Louis, Missouri, shops for new magazines on Monday, March 21, 2022, st a local bodega called Iconic Magazines in New York City, New York. Estes is an aspiring fashion journalist who has a passion for the fashion industry and collects magazines from different ages and parts of the world. She uses fashion magazines as a way to study by keeping them as inspirations and reading about the stories each journalist writes.

Portrait of Ishamel Karim

Honorable Mention in Portrait

Miles Schulte / Saint Louis University High School

Ishmael Karim poses under floodlight on December 12, 2021.

Honorable Mention in Landscape

Cinthia Talbott / Ritenour High School

Golden hour on Sunday, April 3, 2022.

Honorable Mention in Feature

Nick Sanders / Saint Louis University High School

Raven the chimpanzee curiously tries to see what her mother is playing with at the St. Louis Zoo on March 18, 2022.

Honorable Mention in Sports Feature

Ava Carson / Nerinx Hall High School

Lauren Seppi, 15, celebrates with her Nerinx Hall teammates at the MSHSAA Girls Soccer Class IV State Championships after scoring a corner kick goal against St. Dominics, putting Nerinx in the lead 1-0. "This is our game now. We can’t stop." Seppi said after the goal was scored. Nerinx would go on to lose to St. Dominic in the championship game with a score of 1-3.

Honorable Mention in Portrait

Mekhi Brown / Pattonville High School

Mekhi Brown, 15, taking a pause from everyday life to pray and reflect about not only his past troubles but also past successes, Feb. 26, 2022 in a dark room.

The St. Louis Public Radio Teen Photojournalist Prize invites high school-aged students from across the region to participate in this opportunity to showcase their talent by documenting their world through photography. This contest provides professional recognition, publicity, encouragement, training, and resources to high school students in our listening area.

What I would remember - Mya Davis, Best in Show

The initial STLPR Photojournalism Prize was awarded in 2019 to Mya Davis, a 17-year-old student at McCluer North High School. The winning photograph was selected from 141 submissions in the inaugural program.

The 2022 contest entry period is now closed.

  • Monday, April 4, 2022: Contest entries close at 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday, April 12, 2022: Winning entries will be announced
  • Thursday, May 12, 2022: Opening reception at St. Louis Public Radio


A Best in Show prize will be awarded along with a First Place prize in each category. Prize winners will receive:

  • Master class with STLPR Photojournalist Brian Munoz;
  • Publication on stlpr.org and our social media channels;
  • Gift certificate $800 for best in show, $200 for best in category;
  • Framed copy of winning photograph for the student;
  • Gallery exhibit at UMSL at Grand Center and display on the Public Media Commons outdoor big screen.

Supported by

Trudy Busch Valentine, Trudy B. Valentine Foundation
of the St. Louis Community Foundation.

Sponsored by

Contest Rules

Entry Notice

Please ensure you read all of the contest rules before submitting. Entries should have a title, caption and personal reflection as outlined in the entry form.

Photographs must have been made by the entrant between Jan. 1, 2021 and Monday, April 4, 2022. Contest entries close on Monday, April 4, 2022 at 5:00 PM. The contestant certifies that he/she/they are the sole creator and copyright owner of submitted photographs. No more than 3 photo entries per person. You must complete the form separately for each entry.

Who may enter the contest?

Area high school-aged students are eligible to enter.

Photo Editing

Color images should replicate what the human eye experiences. Because this contest focuses on photojournalism, artistic manipulations are not allowed.

Examples of prohibited techniques include the exaggerated use of color saturation, contrast, burning and dodging methods. You may not remove or add objects or subjects to a photo in part or whole. You may not use software capture filters. Please do not add masks, borders, backgrounds, text or other effects to your entry.

Allowed editing includes minor cropping, exposure correction, white balance, color toning, sharpening and contrast adjustments. Changing a color photo to black and white is allowed.


Captions, or cutlines, are the words that go along with an image to explain what’s happening in the photograph and provides more context. Without a caption, the viewer might get the wrong information or the wrong impression about what’s going on in the photo.

Captions must have all the necessary information included in the first sentence of the photograph — who/what/when/where/why. Make sure to include the names of identifiable people in your photograph. Photo captions should try to follow Associated Press style.

An example: John Smith, a 14-year-old student from Maryville, Ill, plays the saxophone on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2022 at Woodland Park in Collinsville, Ill. Smith learned to play saxophone at age 10 from his grandfather James, a local jazz legend who has performed around the world.

Contest Categories

Entries can be submitted for the following categories:

  • General News: An issue-based or general news photograph.
  • Feature: A photograph that captures the human-interest of daily life.
  • Sports: A photograph that captures the spirit of a sports competition – either on the part of an individual or a team – through peak action or reaction.
  • Portrait: A photograph that captures a unique aspect of a person’s character or personality. You are able to pose or direct your subject in this category.
  • Landscape: A photograph from our natural environment or relating to an environmental issue. This can be on a specific local issue or a broader phenomenon of this global crisis.
  • Pandemic Life: A photograph that captures the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the photographer’s community or personal life.

You can view examples of many of these photograph categories on the National Press Photographers Association contest page.

Copyrights and Permissions

By submitting photos to the St. Louis Public Radio Photojournalism Contest, the entrant grants to The Curators of the University of Missouri and St. Louis Public Radio license -- with respect to photographs of which the entrant is the sole creator and copyright owner and/or comments, titles, captions, or reflections made by the entrant -- to use, reuse and publish the same, in whole or in part, in any and all media, now or hereafter, for the purpose of the Photojournalism Prize contest and promotions specific to the contest; and if appropriate, to use my name and pertinent education and/or biographical facts in relation to the contest entry.

The entrant agrees to defend, indemnify, save harmless, and fully and forever release The Curators of the University of Missouri, their Officers, Agents, Employees, and Volunteers, from any and all liability, claims and demands arising out of or in connection with the use of photographs and/or comments, titles, captions, or reflections including without limitation any and all claims for copyright infringement, libel, or invasion of privacy.

The entrant certifies that any and all Models and subjects were treated with respect and dignity and that no people, wildlife or the environment were harmed by the creation of my photograph(s). The entrant also certifies that any and all models and subjects who are identifiable in the photographs gave me consent to use their likeness.

So, what separates photojournalism from simply taking pictures?

Photojournalists can tell a story or make a statement through a single image. The images they capture have the power to transport viewers into a moment in time and show insight on a broader subject. They celebrate times of joy, capture times of anguish and find the beauty in everyday life. These images also allow someone at home to not only know what is happening elsewhere but see it, too. Photojournalism requires patience, creativity and most importantly, curiosity.

Here are some helpful links:

Contest Judges

  • Brian Munoz Headshot

    Brian Munoz

    Brian Munoz is a staff photojournalist and multimedia reporter at St. Louis Public Radio. He most recently worked as USA TODAY as a visual storyteller and editor focusing on politics and sports, including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. His work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, and The Atlantic. Munoz's journalism — both written and visual — has been recognized by state and national organizations, earning him the designation as a 2019 ProPublica Emerging Reporter.

  • Brian Heffernan Headshot

    Brian Heffernan

    Brian Heffernan is the digital editor and special projects editor at St. Louis Public Radio. Before coming to the newsroom in April 2018, Brian worked as a reporter and photojournalist for a variety of publications including Al Jazeera America, BBC, St. Louis Magazine, Riverfront Times, San Francisco magazine and the Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette newspapers in South Carolina.

  • Laurie Skrivan Headshot

    Laurie Skrivan

    Laurie Skrivan has been a staff photographer at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch since 1997. She has covered social issues important to the community including lead poisoning, childhood obesity, the plight of Bosnian refugees, the Ferguson uprising and the struggle of families who are dealing with trauma and violence as well as sports and fashion. She was the winner of the 2017 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award in domestic photography for coverage of gun violence and toxic stress and was part of the team who won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for their coverage of unrest in Ferguson.

  • Michael Thomas Headshot

    Michael Thomas

    Michael Thomas is a freelance photojournalist who is a regular contributor to Getty Images, The New York Times and The Washington Post. He has covered national events such as the unrest in Ferguson, flooding in the Midwest, and the 2016 Presidential Election. In addition, Thomas has worked with corporate clients such as Walmart, Starbucks Coffee Company and Frito Lay.