Getty Images awards $20,000 LGBTQ+ Stories Creative Bursary to three emerging photographers as part of broader effort to encourage diverse, inclusive storytelling

Self Portrait As My Mother As A Cheerleader, 2018 © Vaughan Larsen
Getty Images press release – 26 June, 2019.

Getty Images, a world leader in visual communications, has named three recipients of its bi-annual global Creative Bursary, titled LGBTQ+ Stories, with each photographer receiving one-time grants of $10,000, $7,000 and $3,000, for first, second and third place respectively.  

As part of Getty Images’ global mission aimed at moving the world with images, the Bursary endeavors to elevate the work of emerging creatives, as well as foster a more visually-inclusive world, by encouraging artists to use their talents to create inclusive visual stories.

For the first time, the latest Getty Images Creative Bursary centered its focus around sourcing content that celebrates the lives and narratives of LGBTQIA+ communities.

“We are thrilled to recognize Vaughan Larsen, Myles Loftin and Texas Isaiah as three incredibly talented emerging photographers who are actively using their creativity to capture and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community,” said Andy Saunders, Creative Bursary program director and Getty Images’ Senior Vice President of Creative Content.

“Our mission is to move the world with imagery and LGBTQ+ Stories aims to do just that—by celebrating the visual narratives of these communities, and in turn, creating a more realistic and inclusive depiction of the world in which we live.”

In acknowledgment of the 50th anniversary of New York City’s Stonewall Riots, Getty Images formally announced the recipients at a pair of events intended to shed light on the LGBTQIA+ movement over the past several decades and simultaneously explore what’s to come, as well as what must be done to further encourage diverse and authentic visual storytelling worldwide.

All three were in attendance, along with friends and family.

Vaughan Larsen, a young artist based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who explores issues of identity and relationships at the intersection of queer culture, took first prize with his series, Rites.

In addition to receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Photography and Imaging from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee in May 2019, Larsen recently received the 2019 SPE Student Award for Innovations in Imaging as well as the After School Special 2019 Grilled Cheese Grant and the 2017-2018 Joy of Giving Fellowship from Imaging America / White House Millennium Council.

In Rites, Larsen aimed to change perceptions and elevate awareness: “My goal for this project was to show people outside of the LGBTQ+ community the perspective of living as a queer person, where you’re not as welcomed to partake in the typical image of the American Dream.”

Second-place bursary recipient Myles Loftin is a New York-based photographer and rising senior studying photography at Parsons School of Design.

Endeavoring to affect positive change, Loftin’s work spans portraiture, documentary and fashion photography, often exploring themes related to blackness, identity and the representation of marginalized individuals.

Awarded third, Texas Isaiah is a visual narrator based in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland and New York City, whose work invites Black and Brown LGBTQIA+ individuals to participate in the photographic process.

Through a collective effort, he aims to examine the importance of legacy, self-empowerment, emotional justice, protection and topophilia and ideally shift away from dominant narratives.

All three recipients have been invited to license their award-winning content through, at a 100 per cent royalty rate for imagery created within their proposed project. They will also receive continued guidance and mentorship from one of Getty Images’ award-winning Art Directors, as well as a future feature on the company’s Creative Insights website.

Submissions were judged by a panel of industry experts, including Kimberly Drew, founder of Black Contemporary Art; Tony Moxham, art director and ceramic artist at Mt Objects and Cerámica La Mejor; Eric McNatt, a portrait photographer whose work has been featured in The New York Times Style Magazine among others; Ryan Pfluger, queer artist and photographer; Laurence Philomene, non-binary photographer, director and curator exploring gender and identity; and Jess T. Dugan & Vanessa Fabre, visual artists who together explore issues of identity, gender, sexuality and community in their works.

Since the inception of the Getty Images Grants program in 2004, Getty Images has donated over $1.5 million to photojournalists and creative photographers, furthering its commitment to the craft of photography and bringing attention to important stories that without funding, may otherwise remain unseen.

Picture credit: Self Portrait As My Mother As A Cheerleader, 2018 ©Vaughan Larsen