Joop Swart Masterclass selection process

How to participate in the masterclass

Selection process

The Joop Swart Masterclass is based on a five-step nomination process:

1. January - March: Nomination phase

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.

In 2019, the panel of international nominators was substantially updated with 61 new nominators from all over the world to improve regional representation.

Meet the 2019 Joop Swart Masterclass nominees and view all the members of the international panel of nominators.

2. April: Appointment of independent selection committee

An independent, international selection committee reviews all the submissions from nominees in March. In 2019, the selection committee comprised:

  • Noelle Flores Théard, USA, programs manager Magnum Foundation
  • Mayu Mohanna, Peru, freelance photographer and curator
  • Nyani Quarmyne, Australia/Ghana, freelance photographer
  • Tanvi Mishra, India, curator, photo editor and writer
  • Jenny Smets, The Netherlands, photo editor and educator
  • Tanzim Wahab, Bangladesh, curator

The committee is chaired by David Campbell, director of Programs and Outreach at the World Press Photo Foundation. The chair’s responsibility is to oversee the functioning of the selection process. The chair does not contribute to substantive debates on the nominees and does not have a vote.

3. May - June: Selection phase

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.

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 2019 participants

4. June - September: Production phase 

The 12 selected participants are required to produce new work on a given theme to bring to the masterclass. While the theme provides a certain framework to the participants, they work freely according to their own sensitivity and expressive language.

5. September: Masterclass in Amsterdam

During five days, 12 participants and five masters review the work produced and exchange ideas and experiences on visual storytelling. The masterclass features a diverse program including masters’ lectures, one-on-one sessions, editing sessions, group discussions, guest lecturers and cultural visits.

Who is eligible to be nominated?

The international nominators will be looking for individuals who:

  • Are emerging and early-career image makers with 5-10 years experience
  • 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 the deadline
  • Are free to participate in the masterclass in Amsterdam for one week 
  • Those who have been nominated for a previous edition of the Joop Swart Masterclass can be considered again.

Next nomination period

The Joop Swart Masterclass is currently closed for nominations. Sign up to our newsletter to be notified when the next nomination period starts.