Feb 8, 2022
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iStock, a leader in affordable visual communications for the creative, entrepreneurial, student and SMB communities, today announces the four creative commercial artists chosen to receive its inaugural Inclusion Grant, designed to support them as they endeavor to draw attention to underrepresented communities through their work. The grant was open to commercial photographers, videographers and illustrators based in the U.S., UK, LATAM and Australia and is being awarded in partnership with U.S.‑based organization Black Women Photographers, UK‑based organization Creative Access, Fotografas Latam and Australia Council for the Arts.

“This grant demonstrates iStock’s continued commitment to support diverse creators around the world, both financial and in terms of mentorship, as they seek to tell stories around their communities and ultimately take their commercial careers to the next level,” said Claudia Marks, Senior Art Director, iStock. “To that end, we’re thrilled to say that our four recipients from the U.S., UK, Colombia and Australia are each incredible storytellers in their own right, creating visuals which the world needs to see—and that’s something we’re eager to make happen alongside our partners.”

The four recipients include:

  • U.S.: Malaika Muindi, Film‑maker. Malaika creates short videos, coupled with portraits to connect her audience to varied people, communities, and experiences that may be foreign or familiar.
  • UK: Mathushaa Sagthidas, Photographer. Mathushaa’s work often examines her identity – Tamil Eelam ethnicity and British nationality, which is reflected through traditions, history and fashion photography.
  • LATAM: Natalia Ortiz Mantilla, Photographer. Natalia’s work framed in the understanding of the relationship between communities and the inhabited ecosystem, being each territory a source of memory and identity, connected to topics such as resilience, resistance, social justice and gender approach.
  • Australia: Marley Morgan, Photographer. Marley, a member of the Wiradjuri, Gamilaraay and Yuwaalaraay nations, highlights the beauty of First Nations Aboriginal families with a heavy focus on Aboriginal women, motherhood and culture.
“Winning this Bursary means my team and I now have the opportunity to continue to share narratives and create experiences that connect people to people in HD! We will also now have the means to evolve our craft through the mentorship of talented and experienced artists. The grant has presented the opportunity to further expand our work and our audience,” Malaika Muindi, NJ, U.S.

“When you’re looking to launch a career, mentorship and financial support can make all the difference in the world,” said Polly Irungu, Founder, Black Women Photographers. “Believe me, I know first‑hand how daunting it can be to try to navigate the commercial industry space. This grant, coupled with invaluable mentorship from Barbara DuMetz, is a one‑of‑a‑kind opportunity for Malaika to receive funding, resources and just as importantly learn from a Black woman trailblazer in the field.”

“Use of Aboriginal faces in commercial imagery is often for oppressive purposes to highlight negative issues affecting the Aboriginal population such as overrepresentation of incarceration rates, welfare management schemes, children in the care system and social housing. Constant negative imagery takes a toll on perception of self and how others perceive Aboriginal people. Marley aims to address the lack of representation of Aboriginal people in the commercial imagery space by using The Australia Council for the Arts x iStock Inclusion Grant to build a stock image library that provides positive imagery of Aboriginal people,” Marley Morgan, photographer, Australia.

“Through this partnership with iStock, I’m proud to say that we’re setting Marley up for success, giving her much‑needed support to ensure that she can continue to do what she loves on an international stage, while simultaneously serving our community as a proud custodian of our culture,” said Patricia Adjei, Head of First Nations Arts & Culture Sector Development for Australia Council. “First Nations people are the custodians of First Nations culture, and yet, we often see non‑ First Nations photographers recording First Nations’ people and stories, and this new grant seeks to address this.”

Each of the four grants was judged independently by the following judges, in collaboration with the iStock art team:

  • U.S.: Polly Irungu, Founder of Black Women Photographers, and Barbara DuMetz, pioneer in commercial photography
  • UK: Josie Dobrin, CEO & Co‑Founder of Creative Access, and Vanessa Martins, Freelance photographer
  • LATAM: Lorena Velasco and Fernanda Pitaño, Co‑Founders, Fotografas Latam, and Cristina Otero, commercial and fine art photographer
  • Australia: Franchesca Cubillo, Executive Director of First Nations Arts & Culture, and Patricia Adjei, Head of First Nations Arts & Culture Sector Development, both with Australia Council
In addition to the $5,000 prize, each recipient has been given the opportunity to license their winning work on the iStock website at a 100 percent royalty rate. The iStock Inclusion Grant is part of Getty Images’ wider grants program which has awarded US$1.8 million to photographers and filmmakers worldwide since its inception. Please visit Getty Images Grants to learn more.