An acquaintance of mine is an accomplished social documentary photographer working on a long-term project in humanistic photography. I have been following his activities for many years. He does not make his living as a photographer, he is a physician. His profession gives him the access and trust that allows him to work on a difficult but worthwhile photographic project. His work has also come to public attention and has had a significant impact in raising awareness about an important social issue. I have encouraged him to apply for the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography as his project is all about raising awareness through photography and stimulating social change. He tells me that as an outsider to the photographic community he is at a disadvantage, and as a physician he is seen as a privileged member of society who does not need funding in the same way that a struggling artist is. He tells me that these grants are best left to photographers who aspire to work for Magnum. So, are non-professional photographers wasting their time by pursuing these sorts of competitions and grants?