When’s the last time your Instagram obsession made you $10,000? As the social photo sharing platform’s numbers keep rising—its photos generate 4.2 billion likes per day—so do the stakes for photographers hoping their work gets recognized. And Getty Images and Instagram recently did just that, awarding three photographers a $10,000 grant and a chance to display their work in public.
The grant is the second ever given under the collaborative program, which was designed to support photographers telling the stories of underrepresented communities. This year’s recipients hail from around the world—and the stories they tell go into the lives of everything from the lives of pregnant teens to the ravages of environmental destruction.
Brenda with her newborn baby Genesis at "Fuerte Apache" neirgborhood in front of the "Gauchito Gil" mural. The "Gauchito Gil" (literally "Little Gaucho Gil") is a legendary character of Argentina's popular culture. His full name was Antonio Mamerto Gil Núñez and he was allegedly born in the area of Pay Ubre, nowadays Mercedes, Corrientes, possibly in the 1840s, and died on January 8th, 1878. He is regarded as the most prominent gaucho saint in Argentina. "Gauchito" Gil is thought to be a folk saint for many people of the provinces of Formosa, Corrientes, Chaco, the north of Santa Fe and the province of Buenos Aires. Gauchito Gil is not recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church, though many Argentines, both devotees and church leaders, have been promoting him for canonization. photo: @christian_foto / @prime_collective #everydaylatinamerica #fuerteapache #gauchitogil #buenosaires #argentina
Christian Rodríguez, a photographer from Uruguay, won for a photo project called Teen Mom that shows what it’s like to be a pregnant teen in Latin America. Rodríguez, a documentary photographer, took on the project to highlight how data shows that Latin America could soon lead the world in teenage pregnancies, he writes on his website. He followed the daily lives and graphic births of young moms, many of whom are living in poverty and uncertain life circumstances. “It can be very difficult for girls,” he told NPR’s Malaka Gharib, “but I want to portray them with the dignity and courage they have.”
Ronny Sen, a photographer from India, won for turning his lens toward a different kind of challenge—that faced by people contending with the nearly post-apocalyptic landscape of a place that has been on fire for over a century. The coalfields of Jharia, India, have been burning continuously since 1916, and despite attempts to study and put out their fires over the years, they’ve never been extinguished. His project, What Does the End of Time Look Like, produced unforgettable images of the environmental and personal devastation wrought by the fires. “The end of time is manifested with shards and fragments; random, scattered elements of human existence, and a community without a future—plunderers of coal who move from site to site with blasting mines,” Sen writes.
Girma Berta (@gboxcreative) takes to the streets of his hometown Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to document the fruit stands and the shoe shiners, the young and the old, the delivery boys and the shopkeepers — and everything in between. “I look for people with a great story that I feel like need to be captured. I also look for their lively interaction with each other and their environment,” says the 26-year-old photographer and a recipient of this year’s Getty Images Instagram Grant. “I am trying to address the immortalizing of my city’s current state, and so much that has been lost in the past without being properly documented.” Girma will be exhibiting his work at this year’s Photoville (@photovillenyc) festival in Brooklyn, taking place September 21-25. Photo by @gboxcreative
Girma Berta, an Ethiopian photographer who lives in Addis Ababa, documents daily life on the streets of his hometown with his iPhone. His series Moving Shadows stitches cutout photographs of Addis Ababa’s everyday people onto colorful backgrounds, Addis Insight explains. The result is a fascinating, detailed slice that highlights tiny, but important, portions of the Ethiopian capital’s cacophonous urban life.
Want to apply for next year’s grant? Click here for more information—and keep those cameras handy for your next newsworthy Insta.