The COVID-19 crisis has been devastating for the photography community; according to a recent study, 85% of freelance visual artists and photographers have reported contract cancellations, and 91% expect to lose income in the weeks ahead.
As art fairs go dark and galleries go online, the future of individual jobs–and the industry itself–remains uncertain. And still, despite all this, the photography world is coming together in innovative and inspiring ways, finding new ways to help each other and to support the healthcare workers and non-profits who need it most.
Below, you’ll find just eleven initiatives from photographers, gallerists, organizations, and more to support each other during this challenging time. From print sales to grants, these projects remind us of the resilience of the community and the importance of giving back.
Running through tomorrow, April 9th, this auction from Daniel Cooney Fine Art will help support the gallery and artists during this difficult moment. There are tons of inspiring photographers involved, including Lauren Menzies, Clifford Prince King, Dylan Hausthor, Marcus DeSieno, and many more.
From the legendary photojournalist and activist Donna Ferrato comes this print sale to support Sanctuary for Families, New York City’s largest service provider for victims of domestic violence.
“We worked with Sanctuary for Families before in 1991 on their first fundraiser and raised over $28,000 in a night selling my Living With The Enemy book at the exhibition; it taught me how to be proactive as a photographer,” Ferrato writes.
“We are working together now fighting for victims of abuse with my photographs from the Tribeca document, dedicated to the resilient spirit of Tribeca after 9/11. The images give a boost to collective memory of what the resilient spirit looks for: silver linings in the shadows.
“This isn’t a ‘limited’ fundraiser. I pledge to keep the photographs flowing until the curve is flattened and people get out. That’s when Sanctuary will need a greater reserve to address the needs of traumatized families implementing their newly developed strategies for victims.
“You have a chance to own a piece of the spirit of Tribeca with a documentary photograph created as a reminder to be safe and do good knowing you have contributed to a lifesaving fund for families in desperate need.”
All prints will be made in Tribeca by Ferrato and her assistant Gabo, signed and personalized by the artist. They are available for $100 each; find yours here.
Launched by the photographer Tim Tadder, this artist-driven initiative supports photo assistants during this uncertain period. Though Tadder’s campaign recently closed–after raising $10,000 for his team of assistants–he’s passed the baton to fellow photographers Jason Lindsey and Erik Almas, with more to come.
Here’s how it works: Participating photographers sell 100 limited-edition prints for just $100 each. 100% of the proceeds go to cover the living expenses of photography assistants. “My goal is to have a positive viral exchange that will allow us to come together, add art into your homes, and help pay the rent and grocery bills of our behind-the-scenes heroes,” Tadder tells us.
If photographers want to create their own Art for Assistants campaign, they’re welcome to participate! Photographers will be in charge of printing and shipping for their own initiatives, and the team at Tim Tadder Stills and Motion is available to answer any questions you might have about the process.
This print sale from the team at Diversify Photo, in partnership with Darkroom, will support photographers of color who have been affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic. 100% of the proceeds will go back to the artists themselves.
You can also make a direct contribution to a photographer’s practice or contribute to the Diversify Photo COVID-19 Relief Fund. They have dozens of gorgeous prints available.
Magnum Photos has teamed up with The Everyday Projects for their latest Square Print sale, comprising more than 120 images from artists around the world. This time, participating photographers will select pictures that signify change, on a personal or societal level and on national and global scales. The sale ends April 12th.
Every signed or estate-stamped 6×6” museum-quality print is available for just $100 during the sale, with participating photographers like Elliott Erwitt, Steve McCurry, Susan Meiselas, Bruce Gilden, Ami Vitale, Bruce Davidson, Alex Webb, Wissam Nassar, Cristina de Middel, Martin Parr, Yagazie Emezi, and many more. Magnum photographers will donate 50% of their profits from this Square Print Sale to MSF’s (Médecins Sans Frontières) COVID-19 emergency response.
Format launched this fund to support as many photographers as possible during this difficult period. The fund, worth $25,000, will provide assistance to self-employed photographers facing financial hardships amid the coronavirus pandemic. They’re offering $500 per photographer.
Founded by the British artist Matthew Burrows, this initiative fosters community among creatives worldwide. Any artist, from painters to sculptors to photographers and everyone in between, is welcome to post a piece for sale on Instagram using the hashtag #artistsupportpledge.
Works are priced £200 or less, and anyone can buy. Every time an artist earns £1,000, that artist commits to spending £200 to support another artist somewhere in the world. So far, more than 35,000 posts have been made via Instagram. Be sure to follow along on Instagram for updates.
Open to submissions through April 30th, this competition from Open Doors Gallery was launched to inspire creativity inside the home. Any genre is welcome, as long as the photos were taken during lockdown.
The proceeds from submissions will go directly to the mental health charity Mind. The competition will culminate in a print sale, with 10% of sales going to Mind as well. One winner will have their work published in a limited edition zine by Open Doors & Setanta Books.
Now through May 1st, this year’s Firecracker Photographic Grant is accepting applications, and they’re gearing it towards supporting female and non-binary photographers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant includes a minimum contribution of £2000, to be split into four individual funds of £500 each. The application fee is £8, and 100% of payments go back into the grant fund.
This print sale from the teams at BKC and Seeing Collective in Brooklyn includes photographs from more than 60 artists from around the globe. Prices range from $25-$100, and 100% of the net proceeds go directly to the artists or the COVID-19 charity of their choice.
The BKC community also provides support and resources for photographers during this crisis via their BKC Live online classes and online Photo Critiques and Photo Café, co-hosted with Seeing Collective.
All profits from this special sale from James Hyman Gallery will go to support the National Health Service in the UK. “Unfortunately, NHS Hospital staff, on the front line in the treatment of patients with Covid-19, are still working without the proper PPE (personal protective equipment), and there remains a shortage of testing kits and ventilators,” Hyman, whose wife, Dr. Claire Hyman, works as a surgeon for the NHS, writes.
“As everyone pulls together I have been thinking what I can do as an art dealer. What I have done is put together a selection of works by some of the major photographers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.” Among the the artists featured in the sale are Eugene Atget, Bill Brandt, Harry Callahan, Walker Evans, Andy Warhol, Aaron Siskind, and many more.
Applications for this round of support closed on April 3rd, but Women Photograph is accepting donations for their COVID-19 Emergency Fund on an ongoing basis. The fund will provide one-time support for women and non-binary photographers who have lost work during the crisis. Applications will reopen if they receive more funding and have an increased capacity for support. You can donate directly here.