Joop Swart Masterclass

Encouraging new and diverse approaches to documentary, visual journalism, and storytelling

The Joop Swart Masterclass is the World Press Photo Foundation’s best known educational program. The masterclass is named after Joop Swart, a passionate supporter of photographic talent who played a major role in the foundation’s history, first as the photo contest jury chair from 1966 to 1974, and then as a member of the foundation’s board from 1970 until his death in 1994.

The masterclass encourages new and diverse approaches to documentary, visual journalism, and storytelling. The masterclass is a process that runs over a number of months and includes a week-long event for selected participants in Amsterdam.

An international group of 12 talented participants is selected to work with a number of experienced “masters” who lead 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 masterclass enables the exchange of knowledge and experience in a meeting place for practitioners who often work alone.

The participants are chosen from around the world through a nomination process. A panel of international nominators name candidates who are then invited to submit a portfolio of work accompanied by a curriculum vitae and statement of motivation. A selection committee reviews all these materials and chooses 12 individuals who are required to produce new work on a given theme to bring to the masterclass.

New for 2019

    • There is no age limit for masterclass nominees and participants
    • Nominees and participants will be emerging and early-career image makers with 5-10 years experience
    • The selection process is based solely on nominations from the panel of international nominators. There is no application process, and the World Press Photo Foundation cannot connect individuals to nominators on the panel and cannot provide the contact details of nominators

    The nomination process

    Each nominator on the international panel submit the names of two candidates by the end of February. 245 nominees have been announced for the 2019 Joop Swart Masterclass, from which the 12 participants have been selected. Meet the nominees here.

    Panel of international nominators

    View all the members of the international panel of nominators.

    Who is eligible to be nominated?

      • The international nominators will be looking for individuals who:
      • Have a commitment to work in documentary, journalism and/or visual storytelling
      • Show talent and are motivated to learn and grow
      • Have technical skills of a very high level
      • Have visual and storytelling skills of a good level
      • Are willing and able to produce new work
      • Can converse in understandable English
      • Can submit their digital portfolio before 29 March
      • Are free to participate in the masterclass in Amsterdam for one week in September 2019
      • Those who have been nominated for a previous edition of the Joop Swart Masterclass can be considered again.

      The selection process

      A selection committee organized by the World Press Photo Foundation will review all the submissions from nominees in March 2019. The 12 selected participants have been announced, meet them here.

      The selection process is based solely on nominations from the panel of international nominators. There is no application process, and the World Press Photo Foundation cannot connect individuals to nominators on the panel and cannot provide the contact details of nominators. However, nominators sometimes make their search for candidates public on their social media channels and individuals can also contact nominators independently.

      Selection committee 2019

      The participants were selected by an independent, international selection committee.

      Masters 2019

      Five masters will lead the sessions on the conception, production, and distribution of high-quality visual reports and stories in the contemporary economy of media and photography. Meet the masters here.