First launched in 2008, the VII Mentor Program pairs emerging photographers with VII Photo’s members who, for a period of two years, will help them build and develop their skills and professional practice, as well as create relationships with editors, publishers and galleries, says the agency.
While the VII Mentor Program used to be a one-on-one educational and professional opportunity for young photographers, VII Photo Agency is now looking to expand the scope of the programme. “We are in the planning stages of expanding the programme to add more mentees and also stage annual meetings and more,” says VII Photo member Ed Kashi. “Our idea is to establish a programme that allows us to create more camaraderie and deeper collaborations.”
But the agency’s plans will be dependent on external funding. “Over the coming months, the agency will be seeking partnerships with other organisations to increase the opportunities it can offer to the mentored photographers,” the agency explains in a press statement.
In the meantime, five young photographers will be joining the VII Mentor Program: Poulomi Basu, Maika Elan, Ali Arkady, Arthur Bondar and Cristobal Olivares. They will respectively be mentored by Stefano DeLuigi, John Stanmeyer, Ed Kashi, Donald Weber and Christopher Morris.
“What’s exciting about working with Ali is that he’s based in Iraq,” says Kashi. “Given how much harder it is for Western and outsider photographers to work safely and freely there, he will have this incredibly unique and intimate perspective to provide for us to see into a country that is so important and going through convulsive changes.”
He adds: “What’s more important is that his interests are not only in news but more so in developing long-term stories and projects on environmental and cultural issues – stories that we are not seeing anymore from Iraq. So, through his eyes, VII will be able to deliver stories from Iraq that would otherwise go unseen.”
As part of the Mentor Program, VII Photo will distribute the photographers’ work, taking a cut on all sales arranged by the agency.
For more information about VII Photo and its Mentor Program, visit www.viiphoto.com