Let’s face it: It can be very difficult to start a career in the creative industry. Competition is fiercer than ever and it can be overwhelming to know where to begin whether you’re a new graduate or someone who is just starting to flex their chops in photography.

Receiving guidance when you’re starting out is incredibly beneficial. As part of the D&AD Next Photographer Award 2017, shortlisted photographers are matched with someone in the industry to provide mentorship.

“Mentors can provide photographers with industry advice, critical feedback on their portfolio and personal insight as to how to break into the business. They play a crucial role in the development of emerging talent.” Gemma Fletcher, Senior Art Director at Getty Images said. “I believe it’s important for those who have more experience to share their knowledge with the next generation. This is why we made mentoring a significant part of the D&AD Next Photographer Award.”

Juno Calypso, Next Photographer 2016, The Honeymoon Suite

Fletcher has spent her career supporting talent in her role as Senior Art Director at Getty Images. As part of her job, she recruits and works with photographers to help them reach their goals, both within and beyond the walls of Getty Images. Getty Images has a long legacy of fostering talent and championing photographers through creative direction, support and a global platform to share and sell their work, which allows photographers to reach new audiences around the globe.

“Our ethos is to move the world with images and emerging talent plays a huge role in bringing new ideas and perspectives into visual culture. It’s important for us as a business to collaborate with dynamic new talent who are reshaping the industry and pushing the medium forward,” Fletcher said. “Photography can be a solitary profession, and in my experience, photographers really value input and insight from industry experts.”

Mireya Gartland, Next Photographer 2016, Vulnerability

Mentorship plays a vital role in this award, but is something that is incredibly valuable for any photographer.

“There are so many benefits to having a mentor,” she said. “Having a source of support and guidance can really help photographers stay on track, focus on their aesthetic and mute the distractions of an increasingly competitive industry.”

Fletcher has been a mentor for the D&AD Next Photographer Award shortlisted photographers since the launch of the award in 2015 and has seen firsthand impact mentoring can have.

“The D&AD Next Photographer Award helps to surface new talent and support them through their journey as young creatives,” she said. “Previous shortlisted talent have gone on to produce incredible award winning work which has been championed by the art world as well as the commercial world.”

The D&AD Next Photographer Award, at the end of the day, is about the future of photography, in which emerging talent plays a critical role.

“We need a constant injection of fresh ideas and energy to push the industry forward, reshape the boundaries of photography and keep things exciting,” Fletcher said.


Want to be a future D&AD Next Photographer Award Pencil-winner? There’s no age limit to enter, and you can submit any type of photography, both commercial and personal. Find out more at D&AD –extended deadline for entry is March 10, 2017.