Clean Air India

A Photo Contest 

New Deadlines and Revised Instructions
(as on April 22, 2020)

jointly sponsored by
India Habitat Centre (IHC), Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and Collaborative Clean Air Policy Center (CCAPC)

We all know about the growing air pollution in our cities and villages. We can visualise it clearly. But can we visualise and bring alive, through the camera, India and its people in the clean air conditions we aspire to? Can we capture the inspiring realities of change brought about by our country’s efforts to make our air breathable? In fact, the coronavirus pandemic may offer us a unique opportunity to document these scenes.

Help us create an image of what change could bring to our nation. Help us trigger hope, with images of an India that point towards what the country should be aspiring and aiming for as a result of its national air pollution control policies and actions.


  • Revised deadline for submission: September 15, 2020

  • Declaration of results and awarding of prizes: September-October, 2020


  • Winners will be awarded in two technology groups -- one for general photographers using whatever equipment they wish and the other for students using a mobile phone camera. Each technology group would have three categories (see below). 
  • 6 prizes of Rs 50,000 each for winners; consolation prizes for runners-up
  • Entries by winners and runners-up to be exhibited at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi
  • Photos might be reproduced in Down To Earth magazine


Capture inspiring and imaginative visuals – in one of three categories in each of the two technology groups (General and Student Mobile Phone).

  1. Striking change with and without pollution, taken of the same scene in India. These “before and after” pairs will be considered as a single entry.
  2. Experience of clean air within an Indian city.
  3. An inspiring photo of clean air outside cities in India.


  • The contest is open to photographers who are Indian nationals or qualify as OCI.
  • Applicants must be 18 years or older.
  • Submitted photographs must be meant exclusively for this contest. They should not be sent to any other fellowship, scholarship or publication while this contest is in progress.
  • Up to two applications are allowed per applicant – however, they must be in different categories.
  • If one is submitting in the student category, a copy of a certification of the student status may be requested at a later time from the applicant’s university/college. Students using cameras may apply in the first category.
  • All photographs must be taken in India – in cities or outside them. Applications with photos taken outside Delhi are encouraged.
  • Preferably, the photos will not show individuals who are identifiable except in large crowds. If identifiable people are shown, it will be necessary to submit signed consent forms from them.
  • A three-member jury of experts in photography and air pollution will judge..


There is no application fee. An application must include the following:

  • Letter of application – This should describe the strategy behind the photos, details of where and when they were shot and of the device used. It should be in a separate Word file titled with the applicant’s name. The contact details of the applicant, including mobile phone number, mailing address, and email should be indicated clearly. The letter should state that the applicant is 18 years or older and has personally taken the photographs.  For people applying in the student category, it should state the university/college and program of the student.
  • The letter should state clearly to what category the applicant is applying.  There are three in the general category: G1, G2, G3 and three in the student category: S1. S2, S3. (See above.)
  • Image submissions for general and student categories: Color or black and white images are acceptable. Photographs must be submitted in .jpg format and be at least 2,000 pixels wide and no larger than 10 MB. Photographs should be saved in a way that preserves EXIF data for review.
  • Detailed instructions: We do not accept digitally or otherwise enhanced or altered photos. Minor adjustments, including removal of sensor dust or scratches on scans of negatives, dodging and burning, sharpening, contrast, toning, slight color adjustment and conversion to grayscale are acceptable for all categories. Image composites – such as HDR photographs and panoramas – are permissible, but must be marked as such. The addition and subtraction of objects is not permitted. If the judges determine that a photographer has altered his or her photo, they reserve the right to disqualify the entry.
  • Possible later requests: Finalists must be prepared to submit an original, unedited digital file. We reserve the right to disqualify incomplete entries and/or contestants who are unable to submit, upon request, a high-resolution photograph of at least 300 dpi at 3,000 pixels on the longest side. Mobile phone based photographs are exempt from this size requirement, but must be submitted at their highest resolution upon request.  Semi-finalists in the student category will be required to send proof by their collage/university of student status
  • Caption and/or title: Full captions/titles of the photos and name of the photographer should be typed in a Word file listing this information for each image enclosed in the application.
  • No more than 2 submissions are allowed per person in different categories. (Please note that the email server has a limit is 25 MB of attachments per email.)

*Adapted from the Smithsonian photo contest


Applications should be forwarded by email, with the phase “Photo Contest” in the subject line. Each will have three attachments with the name of the applicant in the title:

  • Letter of Application in Word
  • Caption/title and name of photographer in Word
  • Photo in the approved format (above)

Submissions will be acknowledged and given a contestant number.

All submissions must be sent to:

Clean Air Photo Contest
c/o Shivani Sharma
Collaborative Clean Air Policy Centre
India Habitat Centre
Mob- +91-8800484546


The winners will be declared in September 2020 and contacted directly by the contest organisers. Decisions of the judges will be final. Prizes would be awarded to the winners in a ceremony at IHC planned for November 2020. Winners will receive travel support to attend the ceremony, depending on accessibility of travel at that time..

Please note that the organisers -- IHC/CSE/CCAPC -- reserve the right to use the images for promotional and non-commercial purposes. The images can also be used in any of their own publications as well as on their websites. However, should the images be reproduced in any medium other than these, the prize winners will be reimbursed for the same.


Official contest website
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