World renowned photo agency Getty Images yesterday announced the winners of three special Creative Bursaries totaling over $20,000.
The agency has been giving out Getty Images Grants since 2004. However, this year’s award were different. The agency wanted to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots by acknowledging photographic storytellers shining a light on LGBTI lives.
Yesterday, at an event at the Getty Images office in New York, bursaries went to Vaughan Larsen, Myles Loftin and Texas Isaiah. They received $10,000, $7,000 and $3,000 respectively (€8,800, €6,160 and €2,640) . The photographers attended the event with friends and family.
In a statement, Andy Saunders, Getty’s Creative Bursary program director, called the three, ‘incredibly talented emerging photographers … actively using their creativity to capture and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community.
Getty winner: Vaughan Larsen
Vaughan Larsen is based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Larsen won with his series, Rites, which ‘explores issues of identity and relationships at the intersection of queer culture.’
Larsen told GSN, ‘I was so ecstatic to see people care about my message as much as I do. A big part of why I’m making these photographs is to expose non-queer people to the perspective of LGBTQ+ identifying people, and Getty Images is giving me that opportunity.
‘The grant money will be going directly back into this project, including photography equipment and props/sets to create more scenes.’
Larsen describes Rites as, ‘a series of self portraits where I’m recreating snapshots from my family photo album’. The images typically focus on moments of ceremony or tradition.
‘These scenes represent moments I feel I can’t as easily partake in due to my queer identity.’
Getty winner: Myles Loftin
New York-based Myles Loftin has already seen his work feature in i-D, Paper Magazine, and The Fader, among others. He told GSN he’d felt ‘overwhelmed and excited’ when he’d heard he’d won the second-prize bursary.
‘I’ve applied to a lot of open calls and competitions and grants, but this is the first one I’ve actually won. The project I pitched is really close to my heart so it was gratifying to know that I’d be able to carry out this project with the help of Getty Images.’
Loftin says he is currently working on several projects. ‘Once I receive the grant money I’ll begin work on my project titled “In The Life” after the anthology published by Joseph Beam. It focuses on affirming black queer people’s existence in the canon of photography.’
Texas Isaiah is based in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland and New York City. His work often focuses on black and brown LGBTI+ individuals.
All three recipients have been invited to license their content through GettyImages.com at a 100% royalty rate for images created within their proposed project. They will also receive continued guidance and mentorship.
The importance of documenting hidden LGBTI lives
The Stonewall riots took place 50 years ago this week, following a police raid of the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. Very few photos of the actual riots exist, which was barely covered by the media at the time. Did this influence Getty’s decision over this year’s bursaries?
‘The overall lack of truly authentic imagery of LGBTQI+ communities and families – both from 50 years ago, and today – is what moved us to create this call to action around the bursary,’ says Claudia Marks, Senior Art Director, Getty Images.
‘The 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, of which we’re fortunate enough to have a few images in our Getty Images Archive, was a great reminder of the need to document queer history for generations to come.
‘It’s a hugely important part of the experiences of so many people’s lives and we recognize the need to not only support the creation of this kind of imagery, but also make sure it’s seen by as many people worldwide that we can reach.’