VII Mentor Program
Focusing on photojournalists who have already launched a career, the VII Mentor Program complements VII Academy’s program of study for those beginning their visual education.
Launched by VII Photo Agency in 2008 and now managed by VII Academy, 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. Many of the program’s mentees have gone on to build successful careers in the media. Some of them are now members of agencies like Noor, and Magnum, and are working on assignment for publications that include The New York Times, TIME, and National Geographic.
The Mentor Program lasts one year with an assessment at six months. During this time, mentees have regularly scheduled contact with program leader Ziyah Gafic and will be integrated into a structured professional learning environment with monthly expert sessions that explore critical topics, including ethics, business practice, grant writing, branding, design fundamentals, story pitching, entrepreneurship, and legalities. Mentees will work with editors, curators, and other media professionals, and be assigned to experienced VII photographers who will provide professional guidance and mentoring. Redux distributes the mentees’ work for the duration of the program.
The 2021-2023 cohort of mentees was made up of ten gifted young photographers with diverse experiences who were chosen from nearly 300 applicants from 65 countries.
VII Mentees had an exceptionally successful year in 2023; two of them won awards at World Press Photo: M’hammed Kilito (Morocco) for Before It’s Gone, and Kimberly de la Cruz (Philippines) for Death of a Nation, while Jackie Molloy (USA), continues to contribute to The New York Times and is having her first National Geographic story published. The three women in the Leica Women Foto Project x VII Mentor Program opened an exhibition of their work (If This Isn’t Love) in September at the Leica Gallery Boston. Debsuddha was awarded the Images Vevey Book Award 2023/2024, and now has a year to publish a book of his work, Belonging, with Editions Images Vevey.