Aidan J. Sullivan, 2011 © Yan Morvan
Photojournalism- alive and kicking: "I can still remember a time, an exciting time, when a photographer could walk into a magazine to meet with the Director of Photography, sit and discuss a project proposal and walk away with substantial funding that would allow them to produce the work.
When I was at the Sunday Times Magazine we were able to do this, to 'speculate to accumulate' and to take certain risks based on the skills of the photographer and the strength of the idea. The majority of these ventures resulted in award winning work that gave the magazine exclusive material and had its name attached to the work as it gained international recognition.
Sadly, those days are all but gone as our industry, like so many others, suffers the effects of global recession and leap forwards in technology and social media that arguably see much traditional print media as a somewhat lackluster medium .
Next Thursday evening at Visa Pour L'Image in Perpignan I will stand on stage with the Director, Jean Francois LeRoy and announce the five winners of the Getty Images Editorial Grant for 2011.
Each of the recipients will receive $20,000 to complete or embark upon their chosen project.
There is no hidden agenda, anyone from any agency can enter, there are no strings attached, they have been chosen by a panel of independent judges from 400 anonymous entrants, and I will be, yet again, immensely proud.
This will mark the 7th year of the grants, and a formidable $700,000 having been given to worthy photojournalists with stories that should be told, stories that without this support, may not have been told, and that is why I am so proud, that we as a company are willing and able to support photojournalism and these dedicated photographers.
The Getty Images Grants for Editorial Photography was established in 2004, to enable emerging and established photojournalists to pursue projects of personal and editorial merit, focusing attention on significant social and cultural issues.
That is our official 'soundbite' which sums up succinctly what it is and what it stands for, but behind this there is a whole mechanism, a process, hours of commitment from dedicated colleagues and experienced judges and hundreds of hopeful photojournalists.
The judging process has evolved over the years to be, based on the feedback from our judges, one of the most pleasurable the industry.
This year saw some 400 entries from around the world, and these are captured in a bespoke on line system that allows the judges to sign in on and start to chose, their 'top ten' entrants at their leisure over a 4 to 5 week period.
Once we have the top ten choices from all 5 judges, we expect some overlap and generally on the judging day, which alternates between New York and London each year, we have some 45 entries to judge.
This allows the judges ample time to consider each body of work and each proposal in detail, and the debate begins!
Each judge puts forward their comments and arguments for their favorites, and steadily through a process of elimination, we have our five winners.
The highlight for me is the next step, whilst the judges are still with us, we attempt to contact each winner one by one, to tell them the news.
This is a very moving and emotional time, and we have had many tears of joy as the photographers, many of whom are quite literally broke, realize that they will be able to continue their work and hopefully complete the project. It makes the whole thing worthwhile and we leave the room somewhat inspired and proud that we have been able to help these dedicated women and men pursue their dreams of producing this important work.
My sincere thanks to all of my colleagues especially Jamie Penney for his hard work, to our esteemed international panel of judges;
Tom Stoddart, Photojournalist
Jean-Francois Leroy, Director General, Visa Pour l’Image
Jon Jones, Director of Photography, The Sunday Times Magazine
Cyril Drouhet, Director of Photography, Le Figaro magazine
Emanuela Mirabelli, Photo Editor, Marie Claire Italy
If you are in Perpignan please come and join us on Friday for a presentation by all of the attending recipients at the Palais des Congrès, Salle Jean Claude Rolland from 3pm to 4pm
I will leave you with a quote from one of our judges, internationally renowned and highly respected photojournalist Tom Stoddart, and look forward to seeing you all in Perpignan.
“It was a real pleasure to be part of the judging panel for this year’s Grants for Editorial Photography. After spending hours looking at submissions from talented, committed, passionate photographers, I came away with an answer to the age old question - is photojournalism dead? NO - it's alive and kicking!”
Aidan J. Sullivan
Vice President Photo assignment