A Scholarship Opportunity for Aspiring Photographers

The Pasadena City College Foundation, in partnership with the William G. Ericson Foundation, sponsors photographic art competitions at PCC and public high schools in the Pasadena Area Community College District to meritorius participants.

The awards are in the form of scholarships for students of photographic art. 

The Inaugural Competition featured more than 500 entries from 98 PCC students, with 46 students selected to exhibit their work in the Boone Fine Arts Gallery and compete for scholarships of up to $7000.  

Read the scholarship details and FAQ's below - and contact us if you have any questions about the competition and scholarships.

What, exactly, is the William G. Ericson Photography Competition and Scholarship?

The William G. Ericson Foundation, a California nonprofit public benefit corporation was incorporated in 2017. Its purpose is to further photographic art education.  The Ericson Foundation partnered with the Pasadena City College Foundation in 2022 and created the competition and scholarship program to honor the life work of "Bill" Ericson.

William G. Ericson (August 13, 1944 - August 5, 2017) was raised in a publishing family and spent his life in the business. His true passion and profession, however, was photography. He considered himself a photographer above all else. He carried lessons from his parents about the meaning of community.

After graduating from South Pasadena High School, Ericson earned an A. A. from Pasadena City College. He graduated with a B. A. in photography from University of California, Berkley. He went on to become a professional photographer who created iconic images for the motion picture and advertising industries. With his family he owned and published the South Pasadena Review, a weekly community newspaper, and The Quarterly Magazine, an upscale lifestyle magazine in the San Gabriel Valley featuring his photographs.

There are two divisions:  High School and Community College.  The High School Division is for graduating seniors from eligible high schools  See the FAQ section below for eligible high schools.  The Community College Division is limited to Pasadena Cicty College Students. 

Here's how you can enter the competition and qualify for scholarship funds:

  • High School Students - speak with your counselor, photography instructor, or yearbook/newspaper advisor to get started.  You can access your online application HERE.  
  • Pasadena City College Students - connect with photography faculty through the division of Visual Arts and Media Studies.  You can access the online application HERE.
  • Get familiar with the competiion guidelines and categories.
  • Photo submissions may be by analog or digital camera, black and white or color, CMYK and 300 dpi.  All photos must fit within an 11 x 14 format (horizontal or vertical).
  • The student must take the photo and each student is allowed to enter only one photo in one category.  No group work allowed.  No series allowed.
  • Students must also write a 100-word maximum statement on how the scholarship funds will help to further their photography education.
  • All submitted photos become the property of the PCC foundation and the William G. Ericson Foundation. The foundations reserve the right to display the photos and publish the photos to promote and publicize the contest. 

In order to qualify you should meet the following criteria:

You are either:
A senior student at a qualifying PACCD High School
A current, enrolled student at Pasadena City College

(Participants may not be currently or previously working as a professional photographer.)

The following PACCD high schools are invited to participate:

  • Arcadia
  • Arroyo
  • Blair
  • Gabrielino
  • John Muir
  • La Canada
  • Marshall Fundamental
  • Pasadena
  • Rosemead
  • San Marino
  • South Pasadena
  • Temple City

While it certainly is advantageous to have taken photography courses before entering the contest, you do not have to be a photo major at PCC or have taken specific photography courses.  However - you do need to be interested in studying photography at some point - that is a requirement for the scholarship.

Think of it as a "Beginner" Division and an "Advanced" Division.  Most of the students at PCC who are participating will have taken photography courses on the collegiate level prior to entering - offering two divisions allows for competition between students of relatively equal experience.

  • All students may begin applying on January 17, 2024.  Applicants should take care to use the correct link for entry.
    High School Student Application
    PCC Student Application
  • Both division applications will close at April 1, 2024 at 10pm.
  • First-Level Judging will take place the week of April 8, 2024
  • Applicants will be notified of their status on or around April 17, 2024
  • Finalists' photos will be printed, dry mounted, and prepared for the Gallery Exhibition, which will open on May 15, 2024
  • The Final Judging and Awards Ceremony will be on Saturday, May 18 in the Boone Family Art Gallery and the Westerbeck Auditorium on the Pasadena City College campus
We have a fantastic Highlights Reel that will give you a sense  of how it felt to be part of the 2023 Competition and Awards.  

We're glad you asked!  You can find the entire guidelines document for the High School Competition HERE; but here are just a few of the highlights:

  • High School students will submit digital files only. Analog photographs must be scanned and submitted as digital files. Finalist photos will be printed as they are submitted with no adjustments to the original file before they are printed and dry-mounted by Pasadena City College.
  • The submitted photo must be a digital file, CMYK, 300 dpi, and fit within an 11” x 14” format (vertical or horizontal). Submissions must meet these specific requirements to be part of the competition. NO EXCEPTIONS. Only submissions that meet these specifications will be eligible to compete.
  • Minimal manipulation of digital images to accurately render the subject is acceptable e.g.: small adjustments to brightness, color, color balance, and/or sharpness, are acceptable.

 The PCC Division Guidelines can be found HERE.  

Have Questions?
Contact the Pasadena City College Foundation at x7065 or email pccfoundation@pasadena.edu