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Photography News

$10,000 Photography Grants Now Offered By Getty & Instagram

By Kishore Sawh on May 7th 2015


Instagram seems to get little love, or at least a lot of flack, from those in the ‘serious’ photography community. What it seems they fail to see is that far from just a catalogue of personal experiences and selfies, it’s a veritable publishing platform in its own right, where photographers can share their work to millions bypassing outdated media sources. Yet another example of how the internet has brought factors of production to the masses.

Still, it can seem, given the sheer volume of images taken with utter frivolity, that it’s not somewhere proper ‘work’ can get noticed – that the powers at be, those serious in the business, aren’t watching. But they are. Just this morning Getty Images announced a photography grant program they are bankrolling, and your submission for consideration is for all intents and purposes, your Instagram account. It’s the inaugural Getty Images Instagram Grant aimed and poised to support photographers using Instagram to document events and stories of great social importance from communities worldwide. So it would appear, a collection of selfies won’t qualify you – this seems more about social conscience.

The purpose of this grant is to support photographers using Instagram to document stories from underrepresented communities around the world. We recognize that Instagram has introduced new opportunities for emerging voices, outside the mainstream media, to create and share projects of social importance. This grant provides financial support and mentorship to amplify their impact.

So far, it seems 3 Instagrammers who demonstrate their skill via quality of imagery and the stories they tell, will be granted $10,000 each, along with professional mentorship from Getty Images’ photographers and an exhibition of their work at the Photoville Photography Festival in NYC in September, which is the same month the winners will be announced.


The time to submit applications is now open and will be until June 4th, at which point the submitted works will be judged by a panel of noted photographers: Maggie Steber, David Guttenfelder, Ramin Talaie, Malin Fezehai, and TIME magazine’s director of photography Kira Pollack.


It seems clear that there’s certainly a focus on communities that are underrepresented in mainstream media and issues that just haven’t been part of mainstream typical media, not for lack of importance.

[REWIND: Instagram and The Future of Editorials ]

I also think it’s wonderful for the craft on a whole. Instagram, can, sort of level the field for many people. Many of the most astonishing images I’ve come across on it aren’t notable for their camera trickery or effects, but are simple iPhone images that are brilliant in composition, subject, story, and the rest. So judging strictly from Instagram means certain people out there who have a beautiful eye, and mind, but perhaps not the funds, can be seen and appreciated and supported. It has my support.

You can find out more, and find the application here. Best of luck.

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Brandon Dewey

    good video

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  2. Rob Harris

    I don’t use Instagram due to their rights policy which states in part – “you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service.”

    In other words, they can use anything you post on their site anyway they want. That may work for many, but not for me.

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    • Thomas Horton

      It is important to read the fine print. There are no nice companies on the Internets Tubes. If the service is free, it is the customer that is being sold.

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    • Greg Townsend

      I think that is standard legal speak for ” You allow us to display the images you post to our service on the Internet so people can see then.” Which is basically why we post them in the first place. It’s a very standard clause that can be found in almost all on-line photo services. Google, 500px, Flickr etc.

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    • Greg Townsend

      I’d like Instagram more if they got rid of their gimmicky 1:1 only format. There’s no real reason for it other than to be a bit different. The trouble is that composition is a big part of photography. Most cameras and camera phones shoot about 3:2 ratio and so most images are composed for that dimensions. A picture that looks great in 3:2 probably won’t when cropped 1:1. So unless we start shooting for a square format specifically for Instagram we have an issue. Why can’t they make life simple and drop the silly format.

      1:1 can be a fun format to shoot in but why such a huge platform makes it mandatory is beyond me.

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    • robert garfinkle

      weatherbug is the same way – the claim that I irrevocably lose my rights to posted content…. and so on…

      wanna bet

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