Calling all disabled photographers — if you’re looking for a way to influence how the public sees disability, there may not be a more powerful amplifier for your photography than a new grant opportunity from Getty Images and Verizon Media. The Disability Stories grant will award a total of $40,000 in funding to five winners to create authentic representations of disability.
The grant follows a larger collaboration between Getty, Verizon Media and the National Disability Leadership Alliance, called The Disability Collection, which seeks to change media representations of disability by integrating photos of disabled people in everyday situations into the Getty Images stock photo service. In a recent survey, Getty found that only 2% of stock photos depicted disability. Those that do often conform to harmful stereotypes. “This project is an honest effort to better represent people with disabilities,” says New Mobility editor Ian Ruder, who helped vet images for the first round of The Disability Collection. “Getty is committed to making sure the photos don’t reinforce outdated notions of pity and inspiration. Changing longstanding media practice isn’t an overnight project though.”
Disabled photographers are specifically encouraged to apply for the grant program. In addition to the monetary award, winners will also receive guidance and mentorship from one of Getty’s art directors, promotion through their social media channels and the chance to license their qualifying work on Getty Images at a 100% royalty rate. Winners will be determined by a panel of judges that includes those in the creative industries and disability activists, such as Lawrence Carter Long, the communications director for the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, and Sulaiman Kahn, the founder of ThisAbility UK.
Applications are due by November 1, and winners will be announced on December 3, the United Nations International Day of Persons With Disabilities. For more information on how to apply, click here.