Honoring exceptional undergraduate work in photography, the Lyon Prize is awarded in memory of writer, artist, photographer and UC Berkeley administrator Matt Lyon. It recognizes an undergraduate student in any major at UC Berkeley. The Prize is for photography, including but not limited to, fine art photography and documentary work. The prize is administered by the College of Environmental Design.
March 1, 2023
First Place: $1,000, Second Place: $250, Honorable Mention: $100
All enrolled UC Berkeley undergraduate students, in any major or undeclared, are eligible.
When someone dies at an early age, as Matt did, he leaves many things unfinished. When he died, at age 45, Matt was still in the middle of shaping the future of the University’s Office of Public Affairs. He was drawing. He was writing a book. And one joint project — the project in which he took the greatest pleasure — was the raising of his daughter, Zoe.
Photography was something he had loved since childhood. As a teenager, he carried his camera with him everywhere. He developed his own film and made his own prints. Everyone and everything was a potential subject. He was as adept at portraits — especially self portraits — as he was at landscapes. He loved to experiment. And he had an eye for unlikely subjects — doorknobs, cornices, puddles. For a period in his 30s, he photographed nothing but freeway underpasses and overpasses. Unlike many people who outgrow their childhood hobbies, Matt stuck with his. When he became a father, he turned his lens to documenting Zoe’s life. Every photo he took of her was, in its way, a piece of art.
Of all the ways in which Matt’s memory could be honored, a prize for aspiring young photographers is by far the most appropriate. Matt fostered talent wherever he spotted it. He was the driving force in reviving UC Berkeley’s Dorothea Lange Fellowship in documentary photography, and he was proud of the graduate students it recognized. He would take delight in knowing that a lifelong passion of his is inspiring new generations of photographers. And he would be honored to have this prize for undergraduates named for him.
All entries must be submitted digitally.
Photographs: Each entry should include 5 photographs on a single theme of the photographer’s choice. Students must submit electronic image files in order to be considered. Black and white, color, or digitally produced images are acceptable. The images should be no smaller than 5″x7″ and no larger than 16″x20″. Digital photos included with the application should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written description: Include a brief written description (400 words maximum) of your submitted work, stating your theme or describing your project and why you chose to pursue it. You may include a title sheet and brief captions for each photo submitted, but this is not required.
Information sheet: Your submission must include a cover sheet listing the entrant’s name, mailing address, phone number(s), email address, complete student identification (SID) number, major, and class year.
Art Practice faculty will evaluate the submitted work and select the winner.
Please note: Federal financial aid regulations require that all awards received by a student cannot exceed their financial aid need as determined by a congressional formula. It is possible, therefore, that the cash award for a Prize could reduce some component of a needy student’s package of financial aid awards. In these cases, the Financial Aid Office attempts first to reduce loan or work aid; fellowships, grants or scholarships are only reduced as a last resort. Regardless of your financial aid situation, the IRS views fellowships, grants or scholarships that are not directly applied to tuition or other educational expenses as taxable income.