Eritrean wedding in Haifa today. #israel #wedding #lovemypeople #haifa #bahaigarden #view #eritrea #stairs
Malin Fezehai (@malinfezehai) via Instagram
By Olivier Laurent
May 7, 2015

Instagram has become a publishing platform in its own right, with photographers—amateurs and professionals alike—using the app to share their stories, bypassing traditional media sources.

Now, Getty Images is bankrolling a new photography grant program that will support the work of photographers who use Instagram to document stories “from underrepresented communities around the world.”

Three Instagram users will received $10,000 each, as well as professional mentorship from Getty Images’ photographers and an exhibition at the Photoville photography festival in New York City this coming September.

“We’ve been thinking very much about our grant programs, and what kind of support we should give to photographers,” Getty Images’ senior director of content partnerships Elodie Mailliet Storm tells TIME. “We wanted to make sure that we reached communities that that are not necessarily being featured in mainstream media, not because their stories are not important but because they don’t have access to mainstream media.”

The winners will be selected by “focusing on the quality of their imagery, their photographic skills and on the projects and stories told through their photos [on Instagram],” says Mailliet Storm.

For Instagram, the partnership is a continuation of the firm’s commitment to putting the spotlight on “people who are doing amazing things,” says Amanda Kelso, director of community at Instagram. “It’s very similar to the things that we do on the main Instagram account. Every day we try to tell these stories and the Getty Images grant is another opportunity to do that.”

The contest will be judged by a panel composed of photographers Maggie Steber, David Guttenfelder, Ramin Talaie and Malin Fezehai, as well as TIME’s director of photography Kira Pollack.

Fezehai, an Eritrean and Swedish photographer, won a World Press Photo photojournalism award this year for a photo she shot on Instagram. “I know how hard it is to find support for work that might not be in the news,” she tells TIME. “So I think this new award is a wonderful thing, especially for underrepresented communities.”

Applications will be accepted until June 4.

Olivier Laurent is the editor of TIME LightBox. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @olivierclaurent

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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