‘Contrast’ will be this year’s theme

Meet the 2019 Joop Swart Masterclass masters

The World Press Photo Foundation’s best known educational program, the Joop Swart Masterclass, is returning to Amsterdam 17-21 September 2019, to bring together 12 emerging image-makers with some of the most experienced professionals in the field of visual storytelling.

Working closely with the 12 participants announced in April 2019, there will be five professionals leading sessions on the conception, production, and distribution of high-quality visual reports and stories in the contemporary economy of media and photography:

Run as an immersive and interactive educational experience, the Joop Swart Masterclass encourages new and diverse approaches to visual storytelling. It enables the exchange of knowledge and experience, creating a meeting place for practitioners who often work alone.

“Working in such an intense way holds the possibility of great transformations. I am interested to hear from and share with the photographers how their images operate in this vast space called photography, image-making and meaning-making; what they think about our world and how we can see this in their images. For me the masterclass is about turning instincts into meaningful engagement,” says John Fleetwood, director of Photo:, curator and 2019 Joop Swart Masterclass master.

“I am very excited to be fully immersed in a shared creative journey with the masterclass participants and masters in Amsterdam. I’m looking forward to exploring new ideas, while remaining open to challenges and learning from each other,” says Monica Allende, photo editor, curator, educator, and 2019 Joop Swart Masterclass master.


Each year, in preparation for the masterclass, the participants produce a photo essay on one single theme that will be discussed during editing sessions with the five masters. This year, the chosen theme is ‘Contrast’.

“In an increasingly polarized world, photographers can remind us of the importance to explore and see the world in complex and subtle ways. This year’s theme invites participants to unfold the many different layers and variations of their stories, going beyond simple binary oppositions to reveal a plurality of contrasts,” explains Juliette Garms, Programs and Outreach Coordinator, World Press Photo Foundation.

Through their individual projects, the participants will juxtapose, compare, associate, highlight and investigate the emotional, political, social or visual contrasts that they see in the world. Without the burden of necessarily providing answers, their investigations will illuminate the stories that matter to them and open our eyes to new perspectives.

2019 Participants

Chosen from the 245 candidates nominated in March 2019, the participants are six women and six men from 12 different countries. Meet the 12 photographers selected for the 2019 Joop Swart Masterclass here.

Image: 2018 Joop Swart Masterclass. Credit: Laura Urbonaviciute