VII Mentor Program

From: October 16, 2023
To: October 16, 2024
Application deadline
Tuesday 27th June 2023 23:59PM EDT
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Untitled from "Belonging. " ©Debsuddha for the VII Mentor Program

The VII Mentor Program is calling for applications.

The VII Mentor Program provides a structured professional environment for emerging new talents in the industry, focusing on those from the majority world and under-represented communities. The first of its kind, the program was launched by VII Photo Agency in 2008 and is now managed by VII Academy.

Many of the program’s mentees have built successful careers in the media. Some of them are now members of VII, Noor, and Magnum photo agencies, and are working on assignments for publications like The New York Times, TIME, and National Geographic. Two of our current mentees, M’hammed Kilito and Kimberley dela Cruz, won World Press Photo awards in 2023.

The 2023 program will last one year with an assessment at six months. During this time, mentees will have weekly scheduled contact with the program leader (VII Academy Director Ziyah Gafic) and will be integrated into a structured professional learning environment with monthly expert sessions exploring critical topics like ethics, business practice, grant writing, branding, design fundamentals, story pitching, entrepreneurship, legalities, hostile environment awareness training and more. Mentees will work with editors, curators, and other media professionals, and be assigned to a practicing member of the VII ecosystem who will provide professional guidance and mentoring. Redux will represent the mentees’ work for the duration of the program; mentees will also be eligible for eventual commissions through The VII Foundation.


Please click here to apply through Awardforce through June 27, 2023 at 11:59 PM EST.

If you have not applied to a VII Academy program before, you must first set up an account. You then will be able to select “VII Mentor Program” from a drop-down list of categories. The application requires a portfolio of no more than 30 images consisting of stories (not single images) that should demonstrate the breadth of the applicant’s photographic experience; proof of at least six published pieces of work; and information about background and experience. All texts must be submitted in English. Invitations to selected applicants will be sent out in early September 2023. Please contact [email protected] with any questions.

VII Mentor Program Selection Criteria

The VII Mentor Program invites applications from the following:

  • Promising and talented emerging photographers from diverse backgrounds, especially those from underrepresented communities within the industry and regions outside of North America and Europe;
  • Photographers who are already trained and have a minimum of 3 years of professional experience (some allowances will be made for advancement/skills training for working photographers who have had no access to formal education or training);
  • Photographers who can demonstrate a cohesive personal aesthetic vision and are generating interesting, unexpected and mature story ideas. Note: Some applicants may be considered too advanced for the program.

VII Mentor Program Codes of Ethics

Every Mentor at VII is obligated to abide by the VII Mentor Program Code of Ethics.

Every Mentee at VII is obligated to abide by the VII Photographer Code of Ethics.


Ziyah Gafić is the VII Academy Regional Director Balkans and an award-winning photojournalist and videographer based in Sarajevo. Focusing on societies locked in a perpetual cycle of violence and Muslim communities worldwide, he has covered major stories in over 50 countries, including conflicts in Chechnya, Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, and Afghanistan.