Getty Images, in collaboration with Instagram, has announced the recipients of the Getty Images Instagram Grant, which rewards photographers who use the photo-sharing app to document stories from under-represented communities around the world. The three recipients were chosen from 1,200 entries from 109 countries. Judges focused on quality of imagery, photographic technique and storytelling ability.
Russian photographer Dmitry Markov (@dcim.ru) focuses on documenting the social issues close to his heart. His Instagram account features powerful portraits of the people he encounters everyday in places like railway stations and street markets. He says: "I live in Pskov, a small ancient town in north-west Russia. Here, I volunteer and work with charitable organisations for children with disabilities, including the Russian Children's Fund. My hope is that my photographs will help tell their stories and inspire others to volunteer as well. My goal is to help these orphaned children, who are oftentimes forgotten, and shine a spotlight on their plight and encourage society to look at the problems of such children in a humane way.
"Two years ago I started an Instagram account, using only my phone to document what I see not only in the charities I volunteer with, but in my everyday life in Pskov. Instagram has enabled me to share my photographs instantly, exposing under-told stories and exposing situations others, including city administrations, often turn a blind eye to."
Bangladeshi documentary photographer Ismail Ferdous (@afterranaplaza) has always been fascinated by the stories of people living in under-represented communities. His Instagram account aims to spread awareness about the fashion industry and its negative effects on workers in Bangladesh.
He says: "Rana Plaza was the world's largest industrial tragedy. Many of the international clothing companies responsible have yet to compensate victims who not only suffered the loss of loved ones, but also the ability to work due to injuries, namely the loss of limbs. I don't want their stories to be forgotten. As I continued to photograph those affected by the collapse, I understood how important it was to not just to take a picture, but to engage myself in this issue to best represent it. I want to explore how their lives have changed and what challenges they continue to face. The varying realities will be featured within the context of the post-Rana Plaza garment industry conditions."
He combines still imagery with the voices of the victims and those affected by the tragedy, bringing their voices to life through the use of Instagram.
Freelance documentary photographer Adriana Zehbrauskas (@adrianazehbrauskas) was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil and has been based in Mexico City for the past 10 years. She has covered issues related to the Mexican drug war, migration and religion.
She says: "By official records, 23,605 people have been victims of forced disappearance in Mexico. In 2014 alone it reached 6,000, a record. It is estimated that the real number is much higher; many cases go unreported for fear of retaliation and because of distrust in the local and government authorities.
"Working closely with the families of the 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers School who went missing last September in Iguala, after being ambushed by the local police and supposedly handed over to a narco group, one thing became clear to me: not only had these people been stolen from their future, but a memory of their past was also doomed to disappear. Apart from a few mugshots and cellphone images, very few of the family members had pictures of their disappeared loved ones."
Each of the three winners will receive a grant of $10,000 (£6,490) and mentorship from one of Getty Images' award-winning photojournalists. Their work is being exhibited at Photoville in New York until 20 September 2015. In addition to the three grant recipients, the judges elected to recognise the work of an additional five photographers: Tasneem Asultan (@tasneemalsultan) of Dubai, UAE; Kevin Cook (@kevincookphoto) of Philadelphia, USA; Igor Pisuk (@igorpisuk) of Stockholm, Sweden; Cassandra Giraldo (@afterschoolproject) of New York, USA and Ako Salemi (@f64s125) of Tehran, Iran. These photographers will receive a personal mentorship from a member of the Getty Instagram Grant judging panel.