Application Open: January 1, 2017 – January 31, 2017, midnight Pacific Time

At CatchLight, we believe it’s never been more important to use the power of photography to drive measurable social change.

The inaugural CatchLight Fellowship is $30,000 each to be awarded annually to three (3) creative leaders in the field of visual storytelling, who have demonstrated excellence in the novel use of photography to depict and bring awareness to challenging social issues. The grants will build on work by each of the Fellows with potential to achieve a next level of excellence in visual storytelling, innovation in distribution and measurable social impact.

We are seeking creative genius: a photographer who works at the highest caliber of artistry, approaches visual and social storytelling with clarity, integrity and purpose, and understands the inherent value of employing other creative disciplines - marketing, technology, communications, etc. - to enhance the impact of their stories. 

Each of the three (3) CatchLight Fellowships will be awarded to one person who is recognized for remarkable creative leadership, as demonstrated by both current work and the potential for leveraging social awareness and engagement. We understand that every project will have multiple collaborators, and CatchLight will make every effort to include core collaborators into our celebratory event in the Fall of 2017. 


As a core program of CatchLight, the intention of the CatchLight Fellowship is to activate a vibrant community of creative thought leaders and storytellers, whose work will be progressively informed and enhanced by interaction with one another.  Each year, a new cohort of Fellows will be chosen, and encouraged to attend our November celebration weekend as presenter, mentor and inspiration to each other and the community as a whole. A CatchLight Fellowship is awarded for life.


In addition, each Catchlight Fellowship is co-sponsored by one of our partners, who will participate on the final jury, and will offer their expertise and distribution structures to the service of their selected fellow. The 2017 partners are The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, The Center for Investigative Reporting, and The Marshall Project


The Fellowship is open to working professionals of any age and from any country who have demonstrated excellence in working with visual storytelling and a commitment to effecting social change. Applicants may work in a broad range of visual formats including photography, video, audio, motion or VR. There are no issues or methodology that CatchLight prioritizes over another; we are looking for new ideas for audience engagement on a social issue – be it local or global – that is important today. The Fellows will have chosen their own themes and issues, and proposed unique and compelling ways of creation and distribution.


We seek a breadth of creativity and representation: geography, gender, issue, medium, and tool. The CatchLight Fellowship pool will be formed by both nomination and open call. Application includes work samples, professional references, a written proposal with the scope of project, and potential ideas for partnerships and distribution avenues that best fit the proposal. Applications will be reviewed and shortlisted by a geographically and professionally diverse jury. There is no fee to apply.