Getty Images and Verizon Media award photographers for disability-focused grant

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Grants support and encourage talent as they work to convey the stories, lives and realities of the disability community through imagery

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NEW YORK—December 3, 2019—Getty Images, a world leader in visual communications, in collaboration with Verizon Media, has named five recipients to its latest Creative Bursary grant centering around life with disabilities. Recognizing the challenges faced by photographers worldwide as they look to break into the commercial industry, this distinct grant program seeks to discover and nurture creative talent while also alleviating some of the financial hurdles related to the craft.

Open to photographers globally, and supported by a matching grant by Verizon, Disability Stories is a one-time Bursary, awarding one recipient $15,000, one recipient $10,000 and three recipients $5,000 each, as determined by an esteemed panel of creative industry judges and disability activists.

“Given that today is the United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we couldn’t be more thrilled to honor five truly talented individuals as they seek to picture and share stories conveying the realities of disability,” said Guy Merrill, Creative Bursary Judge and Global Head of Art for Getty Images. “This global Bursary reaffirms our commitment, alongside Verizon Media, to support the authentic representation of people with disabilities in the media—something we began in 2018 when we launched our joint effort, The Disability Collection.”

As one of the largest global media companies, Verizon Media seeks to provide equal access to the world it creates by making its own products and brands accessible and encouraging others to do the same. “Creating premium experiences for all—not just a subset—is our north star,” said Larry Goldberg, Head of Accessibility at Verizon Media. “The Disabilities Stories grant helps to further the creation of content that respectfully and authentically depicts the disability community, and therefore creates media that truly represents all. We're thrilled to be part of this initiative and to empower photographers to do the same."

Recipients of the Disability Stories Creative Bursary include:

First Place ($15,000)

  • Nolan Ryan Trowe for Adopted Family: Nolan is a disabled documentary photographer and film maker who is inspired by the human condition. His project sheds light on a group of 10 people with disabilities who gather weekly in Harlem to discuss disability rights and representation.

Second Place ($10,000)

  • Snezhana von Buedingen for Sofie at Work: Snezhana, from Cologne, Germany, documents the life of a young woman with down syndrome for two years as she transitions into adulthood and faces the day-to-day challenges of her disability. 

Third Place ($5,000)

  • Adetona Omokanye for Beyond 4 Foot 10 Inches: Adetona’s project aims to deconstruct the socio-cultural stereotypes of dwarfs in media and advertising. The subjects in this series are beautiful, compelling, bold and vivacious.

  • Isabel Alexander for Metronome: Isabel captures her brother, who has autism, and the ways in which his disability impacts not only his life, but the lives of those who are closest to him.

  • Jacqueline Foss for Beneath the Skin: Jacqueline, who lives in Baltimore, uses self-portrait therapy to express what it is like to live with chronic ailments.

“With the help of the Getty Images Disability Stories grant, I know this work will have the space and time to naturally grow and evolve,” said Nolan Ryan Trowe, first prize recipient. “I feel free to explore concepts and ideas that I may not have considered before winning this prize, and that’s liberating. This bursary is a chance for people with disabilities to honestly express themselves.”

Lawrence Carter-Long, communications director for the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, spokesperson for the National Disability Leadership Alliance and Creative Bursary judge believes that upgrading the way society sees disability begins with the creative process: “The Disability Stories grants have gone beyond wishful thinking by giving photographers the actual means to turn inspiration into perspiration—to make their creative vision real.”

Each of the five Bursary recipients have been invited to license their award-winning content through, at a 100% royalty rate for imagery created within their proposed project, and are also invited to receive guidance and mentorship from a Getty Images Art Director, as well as a feature on Getty Images’ Creative Insights website.

Note that the Getty Images Creative Bursary Grants are a core piece of the wider Getty Images Grants program, collectively aimed at supporting the world’s photographic and photojournalism community. Since the inception of the program 15 years ago, the company has awarded in excess of US $1.4 million, furthering our commitment to the craft of photography and bringing attention to important stories that would otherwise remain unseen. Further details available here:

About Getty Images

Getty Images is one of the most trusted and esteemed sources of visual content in the world, with over 300 million assets including photos, videos, and music, available through its industry-leading sites and The Getty Images website serves creative, business and media customers in nearly every country in the world and is the first-place people turn to discover, purchase and share powerful visual content from the world’s best photographers and videographers. Getty Images works with over 250,000 contributors and hundreds of image partners to provide comprehensive coverage of more than 160,000 news, sport and entertainment events each year, impactful creative imagery to communicate any commercial concept and the world’s deepest digital archive of historic photography. Visit Getty Images at to learn more about how the company is advancing the unique role of still and moving imagery in communication and business, enabling creative ideas to come to life. For company news and announcements, visit our Press Room, and for the stories and inspiration behind our content, visit Find Getty Images on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or download the Getty Images app where you can explore, save and share the world’s best imagery.

About Verizon Media

Verizon Media, a division of Verizon Communications, Inc., houses a trusted media ecosystem of premium brands like Yahoo, TechCrunch and HuffPost to help people stay informed and entertained, communicate and transact, while creating new ways for advertisers and media partners to connect. From XR experiences to advertising and content technology, Verizon Media is an incubator of innovation and is revolutionizing the next generation of content creation in a 5G world.

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