Photos: Getty Images is using Instagram to find photographers in underrepresented communities

What happens when the media herd retreats.
What happens when the media herd retreats.
Image: AP Photo/Emrah Gurel
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A year after Sheryl Sandberg added ”Lean In” photos to the Getty Images’ largely homogenous folio of stock photos to show realistic portrayals of women, Getty is entering another partnership to diversify its catalog. This one is a collaboration with Instagram, seeking photographers who use the social media platform to document underreported communities. The three winners will each receive $10,000.

Journalists are often criticized for parachuting into situations when a news story reaches its extreme, rather than telling a community’s stories in full and over time. That’s part of what the grant aims to address, says Elodie Mailliet Storm, Getty’s senior director for content partnerships.

“We’re always trying to find authentic voices and support these voices, and… not necessarily portray the world through conflict,” Storm says. “Ways to show real, if you will, everyday life, from more of a local perspective.”

The winners will be connected with senior Getty photographers for mentorship opportunities, and they’ll be able to showcase their photos at the Photoville photography festival in New York. Applications close June 4, and winners will be announced in September.

Storm emphasizes that the judges want to be surprised by the images, and that applicants shouldn’t follow a template or format. However, aspiring photographers might be inspired by the approach to storytelling seen in Instagram accounts such as Everyday Iran (the founder is one of the judges) and Everyday Africa.

An Instagram spokeswoman, Liz Shepherd, also points to the West Baltimore photographer Devin Allen as an example of the type of local photographers that this grant seeks to encourage. Allen’s Instagrammed image of police in Baltimore last month ended up on the cover of Time magazine.

Photographers have already started using #gettyimagesinstagramgrant to share their potential submissions, and it looks like the competition will be fierce: