Joop Swart Masterclass

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


The Joop Swart Masterclass is the World Press Photo Foundation’s prestigious 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.

Run as a week-long intensive program, the Joop Swart Masterclass identifies, supports, and educates new talent in the field of documentary photography, visual journalism, and visual storytelling. Launched in 1994, the masterclass has contributed to the development of generations of visual storytellers. Participants have later gone on to have their work recognized and published in some of the most prestigious publications around the world.

The educational experience of the Joop Swart Masterclass is based on an assignment to produce a photo essay around a given theme. During the program, industry experts mentor the participants, sharing their personal experience and knowledge. By engaging in dialogue with the masters, as well as with their fellow participants, the program aims to build relationships that will help develop the participants’ work in the future.

The participants are selected by an independent selection committee, based on a nomination process. Find out more about the selection process and see the panel of international nominators.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Joop Swart Masterclass will take place online and 24 participants have been selected in an effort to make the program more inclusive. Learn more about the 2020 edition.