Photo of the Rose Garden in The New York Botanical Garden

The Larry Lederman Photography Fellowship

The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG)’s Humanities Institute cordially invites applicants for a nine-month Larry Lederman Photography Fellowship, awarded to an outstanding photographer whose work focuses on gardens or landscapes. The grant is awarded annually to an established or emerging photographer whose work demonstrates excellence and a creative approach to the art of landscape photography.

The application period runs from September 15 through December 15, 2023. The selected Fellow will receive a $20,000 grant disbursed in installments for a nine-month term, March 1 through November 30, 2024, during which time the Fellow will have complimentary access to NYBG’s 250-acre landscape and historic collections.

During the 9-month term, the Fellow will create a portfolio of photographs that captures the aesthetic character, seasonality, and ephemeral quality of The New York Botanical Garden and/or community gardens in its Bronx Green-Up program, parks, natural areas, and urban landscapes throughout the Bronx environs. At least 20 percent of the work should include photos taken onsite at NYBG, a 250-acre National Historic Landmark site, or its affiliated community gardens. A portfolio of at least 20 prints, from the submitted body of work, will be delivered to the NYBG’s LuEsther T. Mertz Library at the end of the term.

A nomination and advisory committee appointed by NYBG will assess applications. The committee will consider the appreciation for natural beauty that the applicants’ proposals will inspire. Todd Forrest, NYBG’s Arthur Ross Vice President for Horticulture and Living Collections; Rhonda Evans, Director of NYBG’s LuEsther T. Mertz Library; Lucas Mertehikian, Director of NYBG’s Humanities Institute; Jay A. Levenson, Director of the International Program at the Museum of Modern Art; Bryan Whitney, member of the International Center of Photography faculty; and photographer John Maggiotto.

The Fellow will meet monthly with a liaison appointed by the advisory committee to discuss progress and obtain guidance. 

At the end of the term, the Fellow is required to submit a portfolio of signed prints and digital images for inclusion in the Garden’s LuEsther T. Mertz Library and archives. An additional stipend will be available to cover the cost of printing and preparing the portfolio. The Fellow should also make themselves available to participate in a presentation, event, or exhibition arranged by NYBG. 

NYBG will own the signed print portfolio subject to the Fellow’s retention of the copyright in the images; however, the Fellow will be required to grant NYBG an irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide and royalty-free license to use and reproduce the images for its educational, publication, exhibition, promotional, fundraising, archival and other lawful purposes. This license will also extend to the Fellow’s biographical information, footage including his or her voice and likeness, and other materials relating to the Fellow as an individual and photographer. 

Application Guidelines

The Larry Lederman Photography Fellowship is available to photographers 21 years of age or older and a U.S. citizen or international photographer currently authorized to work in the U.S.

Application Deadlines

Opens: September 15, 2023
Closes: December 15, 2023

Award Announced: Mid-February, 2024

Application Requirements

Applicants are required to submit the following, via the form below:

  • Artist Statementup to 200 words. A concise overview of your photography practice. The statement should provide a brief introduction to themes and methods in your practice.
  • Preliminary Proposalup to 300 words. A concise statement of your proposed approach and anticipated coverage of the gardens and landscape.
  • Work Samples –10 2,000 pixels+ digital images with descriptions. These represent your artistic work created within the last five years. This is an important part of your application. Please label each uploaded image with a number 01 through 10, followed by the title, date, and location of each work.
  • Bio/Resume 

We advise applicants to submit applications in advance of the deadline to allow time for work samples to upload and to avoid potential technical problems. Applicants will receive a response within one business day that their application has been successfully received.

For more information please email the NYBG Humanities Institute at

NYBG is committed to an inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible work environment and further recognizes that diversity in the workforce fosters excellence in its mission of advocating for the plants of the world. Leveraging the strong foundation of existing policies and practices, NYBG will advance inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility through a number of institutional initiatives. Its aspiration is to continue to cultivate a workforce and institution that is as diverse as the communities it serves and the audiences it engages.

NYBG is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. NYBG does not discriminate in its employment practices due to an applicant’s race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, and veteran or disability status. Underrepresented communities, Black, Indigenous, persons of color, women, veterans, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.


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      To include: Artist Statement; Preliminary Proposal; Work Samples; and Bio/Resume

    1. Mission: The New York Botanical Garden is an advocate for the plant world. The Garden pursues its mission through its role as a museum of living plant collections arranged in gardens and landscapes across its National Historic Landmark site; through its comprehensive education programs in horticulture and plant science; and through the wide-ranging research programs of the International Plant Science Center.

      The Creation of the New York Botanical Garden and its Historic Landscapes:

      Established in 1891, NYBG was directly inspired by a visit to London’s Royal Botanic Gardens-Kew by botanists Nathaniel Lord Britton and Gertrude Knight Britton. They believed New York should also have a great botanical garden for the enjoyment of nature and to advance public understanding of plants. With its natural features such as the picturesque rocky terrain and old-growth forest with the Bronx River running through, this site was found to be an ideal place. Today, NYBG encompasses 50 specialty gardens, including the Edible Academy; the Native Plant Garden; and more than 30,000 trees. More than one million visitors annually enjoy the grounds. 

      Landscape Design History and NYBG: Calvert Vaux; Frederick Law Olmsted; John Mullaly

      NYBG’s landscape design embodies 19th-century conceptions of urban green spaces. A Map of New York & Vicinity, from 1884, shows a proposed system of park-ways linking green-spaces in the Bronx, from Van Cortlandt Park all the way to Pelham Bay. The “Bronx Park” indicates where NYBG and Bronx Zoo were located and realized. The overall proposal reflects Central Park and Prospect Park designer Frederick Law Olmsted’s vision for “Green Necklaces,” strings of park-landscapes that should surround American cities for much needed recreation, health, refuge, and aesthetic delight. The Garden was placed on this spot, in the northern part of the Bronx, as a perfect expression of the Picturesque in landscape, a notion dating back to 18th-century English landscape design. John Mullaly wrote about the rare sylvan beauties of this forested, rocky spot run through by a river: “What better place than this naturally picturesque terrain, along the gorge of the Bronx River with a dramatic waterfall to layout a Botanical Garden.”

      Landscape Design Sources – Historical Print Works at NYBG:

      The LuEsther T. Mertz Library is known for preserving a rich collection of historical landscape design, including print works illustrating 17th, 18th, and 19th century landscapes and gardens in Europe, Asia, and the Americas, with earliest works dating back to the Italian Renaissance. The Fellow will enjoy access to and draw inspiration from these important landscape prints. 

      NYBG Landscapes Photographed over Time and Mertz Library

      A study of the extensive historical collection of Landscape Photographs in NYBG Archives – and the Mertz Library Photo Vault/Cold Room, offers a unique opportunity to explore NYBG’s 130-year legacy as an Urban Green Space, serving New York and the Bronx Community. Another source of inspiration is aerial views dating back to the 1920s. They show the larger Bronx urban setting of the Garden. The Mertz Library has a rich collection of books on gardens and landscapes. Two recent additions are the books, Magnificent Trees of the New York Botanical Garden and the New York Botanical Garden whose principal photography is by Larry Lederman for whom the Fellowship is named.