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National Geographic Pictures of the Year Award Ceremony

  • Orr Street Studios 106 Orr Street Columbia, MO, 65201 United States (map)

Orr Street Studios is proud to have the National Geographic Pictures of the Year Exhibit and Awards Ceremony. On display in our gallery are almost 40 of the winning photographs. The exhibit is open for all to see during our regular business hours or by appointment. The Awards Ceremony on Friday April 26th is a public event and all are welcome. Tickets are free and available here:

Origins of The Pictures of the Year:

In the spring of 1944 in Columbia, Missouri, the Missouri School of Journalism sponsored its "First Annual Fifty-Print Exhibition" contest. Founded by Cliff Edom, its 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, Edom founded the College Photographer of the Year contest. CPOY ( continues to provide valuable feedback and encouragement to thousands of young photographers, many of whom have gone on to win in POY. 

In 1948, following a decision to invite magazine photographers to participate, the Fifty-Print Exhibition Contest became the News Pictures of the Year Contest. 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. Pictures of the Year became Pictures of the Year International and is now administered by the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Since then POY and CPOY have grown and are internationally recognized as premiere contests that set the standard for the entire industry. As the contests grew the overall mission of POY has expanded. In 2011 Dr. Loup Langton and Dr. Pablo Corral Vega founded POY Latam ( to “celebrate excellence in documentary and artistic photography in Latin America.” Today, there are POY, CPOY and POYLatam awards' seminars, workshops, exhibits and an important archive photojournalistic work that spans more the past 75 years.