The world as we knew it has paused for the moment, perhaps changed forever. As for many in the arts, the global pandemic is posing huge and unfolding challenges for the entire photography community, from individual practitioners, to collectives and agencies, as well as global institutions and organizations. The COVID-19 situation impacts us all in different ways and there are certainly more uncertain times ahead, but one thing we know for sure: the global photography community is rallying to provide support.
We’ve curated a list of initiatives, ideas and resources currently available for image-makers to help navigate the coming months, whether that be financial support, professional development opportunities, or inspiring things to read and watch to fill extended time at home. Pulling this list together was a heart-warming experience. Witnessing the scope of this massive collective response from organizations big and small has felt something like a virtual hug, one we wanted to extend to photographers around the world.
While not exhaustive, our hope is that you’ll find something in this list that helps, no matter your location or your situation. We’ll be updating weekly, if you have suggestions for new additions, please let us know by commenting on our Facebook or Instagram page.
— LensCulture Editors
Last updated: 7 May 2020. Cover photo © Arash Ghannadzadeh, Paris
NEW LISTINGS — Updated 7 May 2020:
Beyond the Negative
Beyond the Negative has launched on instagram (@beyond_the_negative) as a platform designed to showcase the work of 50 artist/photographers who push the boundaries of the photographic medium. Some of those boundaries are technical; some are narrative. Each are image makers who reveal our world to us in new and inspiring ways.
Forhanna is a not-for-profit production house from The Netherlands. Photography educator Marc Prüst is running a series of free 30 minute webinars about different aspects of visual storytelling - participate live or watch the recordings later.
Houston Center for Photography
Togethering is an open call for photographs to share how we are each experiencing this extended period of isolation. The photographs selected will become a virtual exhibition that will be displayed on Houston Center for Photography’s website in perpetuity. Open to anyone, anywhere, and is totally free to enter. Deadline is 18 May.
Photographers for the Trussell Trust
Photographs for the Trussell Trust is a print sale of work by British and UK based photographers with 100% of proceeds going towards the Trussell Trust to help those who have been largely affected by the economic and social crisis as a consequence of the Covid-19 health emergency. Until 16 May.
Self Publish Be Happy
How To Online Masterclasses give you access to some of the world’s leading photography-industry professionals who will draw on their own work and long experience to explore theoretical and practical issues related to image, book and exhibition making. Each Masterclass will be an opportunity to go behind the scenes and learn how these experts work – and how to do it yourself.
FINANCIAL RESOURCES, GRANTS & FUNDING
Artist Relief (US only)
To support artists during the COVID-19 crisis, a coalition of national arts grant makers have come together to create an emergency initiative to offer financial and informational resources to artists across the United States. Funding cycles now open.
Art Jameel (Middle East & North Africa)
Art Jameel has introduced a research and practice platform for independent practitioners intended primarily for those who work on a per-project basis and whose practices have been affected by program cancellations and project changes, locally or globally. Open to all practitioners based in the Middle East and North Africa region. Ongoing cycles of funding available.
Firecracker is a wonderful resource for discovering the work of women photographers. The team has compiles monthly online galleries, and recently launched a special COVID-19 edition of The Firecracker Grant, a funding opportunity for international female photographers and non-binary photographers: Applications close 1 May.
International Women’s Media Foundation
The IWMF’s Journalism Relief Fund is open to women-identifying journalists in dire straits. Journalists who have faced significant financial hardship, lost work, have been recently laid off or who urgently need assistance to avoid severe, irreversible outcomes are encouraged to apply.
National Geographic Society
The National Geographic Society has launched The COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Journalists, assisting storytellers around the world who wish to cover the effects of COVID-19 within their own communities. The fund places special emphasis on delivering evidence-based information getting to those who need it, and local distribution models.
New York Foundation for the Arts (US only)
NYFA has published a comprehensive list of emergency grants for US-based artists impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and will also distribute $250,000 in emergency grants to women-identifying visual artists over the age of 40.
The Photographer Fund
Through The Photographer Fund, US-based website builder FORMAT has allocated USD$25,000 in funding to help self-employed photographers worldwide who are facing financial hardship due to COVID-19. Assistance of up to $500 per person is available, applications are open.
The Pulitzer Center
The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a non-profit organization that supports independent global journalism, is seeking proposals that develop innovative approaches to reporting on the novel coronavirus crisis using collaboration among journalists and newsrooms across state lines or national borders. This opportunity is open to all newsrooms and independent journalists in the United States and abroad.
INSPIRATION, EDUCATION, COMMUNITY & CREATIVE OPPORTUNITIES
Aint Bad Magazine
For it’s regular feature What We’ve Found, Aint-Bad Magazine wants to know how you’ve experienced COVID-19 through your photographs. How have things been for you inside? Loving it? Going insane? If you’ve been going outside – what’s it like out there? Submit your work by 28 April.
Angkor Photo Festival Resources for Photographers
Southeast Asia’s longest-running international photography event, Angkor Photo Festival believes in supporting the vibrant and dynamic photographic community that has arisen in Asia. The team is constantly updating their blog with COVID-19 related resources.
Arab Image Foundation
Browse a wonderful digital collection of more than 25,000 images related to the Middle East, North Africa and the Arab diaspora via the Arab Image Foundation’s new digital platform.
Artist Support Pledge
An initiative set up by the Sussex-based artist Matthew Burrows, which is offering a self-sustaining lifeline to an ever-expanding number of fellow artists across the world. The concept is simple: artists are invited to post pictures of their works for sale for £200 or less on Instagram using the hashtag #ArtistSupportPledge. Every time an artist makes £1,000 in sales they then pledge to plough back £200 on purchasing the work of another artist using the hashtag.
A Small Voice Podcast
Hosted by Ben Smith, A Small Voice is a free fortnightly podcast featuring in-depth, long-form interviews with a diverse range of world-class photographers. Enjoy conversations with Alys Tomlinson, Lua Ribeira, Carolyn Drake, Sohrab Hura, Anders Petersen, Mark Steinmetz, Todd Hido and many, many more (over 100 episodes!)
Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) (Australia only)
ACCA Open - Digital Commissions is new open-call initiative, inviting Australian artists of all backgrounds, career levels and practices to share ambitious proposals for the production of new work to be presented digitally in August 2020. Three artists or collaborations will each be awarded an artist and production fee and offered the support of ACCA’s curatorial team to help realize their project.
Create From Home
Being stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t create something remarkable! Create From Home is a video playlist from New York megastore B&H Photo and covers everything from home photography, audio editing, and more.
The Everyday Projects
Looking for multiple perspectives on what’s happening in the world today? The Everyday Projects uses photography to challenge stereotypes that distort our understanding of the world. Check out the community’s region-based Instagram accounts to discover a new generations of storytellers all over the world. The team has also put together a comprehensive guide for visual journalists during the pandemic.
FORMAT International Photography Festival
FORMAT International Photography Festival (UK), in partnership with Ballarat International Foto Biennale (AUS) and Gallery of Photography Ireland, is creating a visual record of the COVID-19 crisis on Instagram called the Mass Isolation Project. Photographers are invited to participate by tagging their images or sending submissions to the various regional accounts.
Head On International Photography Festival
In lieu of this annual photography festival held in Sydney, Australia, the festival organizers have launched an exciting program of talks, panel discussions, workshops and webinars all online and free! Join in online for over 50 hours of free events across 1-17 May.
Home Life Still Life
A creative initiative encouraging photographers to create a still life image using materials found at home. Check out the work of other photographers and see their set-up behind-the-scenes, or submit an image of your own.
International Centre of Photography (ICP), New York
ICP has several initiatives running for photographers around the world. Visit virtual galleries from home, take an online class, watch and attend curated public programs, and share your images and stories with ICP on Instagram by using #ICPConcerned.
Isolation Art School
Isolation Art School, an ‘art school for all, by all’, is freely available on Instagram. Free home-based projects for adults, children, experts or amateurs during the pandemic that have so far ranged from tips for making kitchen table sculptures to to fashioning a wearable elephantine sculpted head from twisted newspaper.
The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing the visual arts communities to find alternatives to traditional exhibition spaces. Through a new initiative called The Thesis Project, Lenscratch will exhibit graduating MFA candidates in a series of new features during the first week of May.
If you’re reading this list, you’re already here — so take some time to look around! LensCulture is an amazing resource to discover a wide range of contemporary photography from cultures around the world. The free online archives feature more than 15 years of articles, interviews, book reviews, and lots of amazing photography. Download our six free PDF guides for pages of advice, inspiration and recommendations on specific topics, or check out our talented award-winners for hours of photography inspiration.
Magic Hour Podcast
Magic Hour is a podcast interview series with photographers and people involved in the medium. It was founded in 2016 and is hosted and produced by Jordan Weitzman. Conversations with photographers, publishers and editors such as Jason Fulford, Justine Kurland, Elle Perez, Jack Woody, Siobhan Bohnacker and many more.
Magnum Photos is publishing fascinating video conversations from quarantine between members such as Alex Majoli and Mikhael Subotzky, and Newsha Tavakolian and Rafal Milach. The agency is also sharing new work from its members on Instagram under the title Diary of a Pandemic.
The Messy Truth Podcast
Photo Director Gem Fletcher explores contemporary photography. Photographers, commissioners and editors share their work and process, discussing everything from the impact of social media, representation, gaze, awards, mental health and more. These candid conversations unpack the future of visual culture and what it means to be a photographer today.
Museum of Modern Art, New York
With the physical space temporarily closed, MoMa will soon be opening a series of virtual exhibitions, including Dorothea Lange: Words and Pictures on 30 April. The museum also offers a free online course called Seeing Through Photographs which aims to address the gap between seeing and truly understanding photographs.
Based in Italy, PH Museum has launched a number of initiatives in respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including a selection of new photobook titles for viewing and purchase, and a list of grants and funding opportunities for visual journalists. For inspiration, be sure to check out the museum’s stunning online exhibitions. For professional development, online mentoring with industry experts is available.
Photographic Resource Centre, Boston
PRC Nights, a long-standing tradition, continues online via Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic. One a month, a guest photographer presents their work along with three PRC members for a lively evening of conversation on rotating themes.
The Photographers’s Gallery (TPG), London
TPG offers various online initiatives for photographers looking for creative inspiration from home. Screen Walks is a new series of live-streamed artist or researcher-led explorations of online spaces. Viewpoints offers a curated and eclectic set of perspectives designed to provoke new thinking around photography’s role in contemporary culture. Unthinking Photography is an online resource that explores photography’s increasingly automated, networked life.
PHOTO 2020 International Festival of Photography
While the inaugural Melbourne event has been rescheduled to 2021, festival organizers have announced a series of live streamed conversations between 23 April and 10 May 2020. Called PHOTO LIVE, the first season explores the social and cultural role photography plays in our lives. Speakers include Cristina de Middel, Hoda Afshar, Adam Broomberg, Atong Atem and Sara, Peter & Tobias.
COVID-19 Archive is an ongoing project from Public Source featuring documentary photographers, journalist and writers from across the globe who are going to great lengths to record these events as they unfold. Submissions welcome.
Social Documentary Network (SDN)
SDN is seeking visual stories by photographers worldwide to present their work on both the COVID-19 crisis and the solutions on the SDN platform.
Stay At Home
This new initiative showcases engaging (wordless) photographic conversations between self-isolated photographers all over the world. Photographers are welcome to apply to participate.
Work Show Grow
Lead by UK-based photographer and educator Natasha Caruana, Work Show Grow is running a month-long program of free virtual events on Instagram for photographers and visual artists called The Interval. Enjoy artist talks and live Q&As, positive mental health activities, professional development and creative exercises, and more.
Women Photograph is a non-profit initiative that aims to elevate the voices of female visual journalists. Be sure to check out The Journal, a collaborative project of 350+ Women Photograph members sharing stories, documenting private spaces and daily lives during the current pandemic.
World Press Photo
The 2020 World Press Photo Awards have been announced, spend some time looking through the galleries of winners and finalists across the photography and digital storytelling categories. World Press has also published a list of resources supporting visual journalism.
In this new education initiative by photo agency VII, photographers can engage directly, online with a ‘live’ instructors and participate in a lectures, mentoring, medium and long-term masterclasses. Free and paid options available.
1854 & British Journal of Photography
1854 Presents is a new initiative that brings world-class photographers from the pages of the BJP magazine to the community via online artist talks, how-tos, Q&As, and panel discussions that explore all the topics you want to hear about. Upcoming talks include Martin Parr and Simon Roberts. Catch up on past talks by Laura Pannack and Jack Latham.
2020 Guggenheim Fellows in Photography
Collector Daily has put together a list of this year’s winners with links to their individual websites. Consider this a wonderful portal to discover some of the best in contemporary photography today.