Today marks the first day of a week-long exhibit in the Calumet Gallery (22 W. 22nd Street, 2nd floor, NYC), showcasing the body of work by mentees from the Young Photographer’s Alliance fourth annual mentoring program. The event night is this Wednesday, January 15th from 5:30 to 9:00 PM.

"Richard"  By Jim Clarke, Team London, United Kingdom Mentored by Jasmine Teer & Dan Black

“Richard”
By Jim Clarke, Team London, United Kingdom
Mentored by Jasmine Teer & Dan Black

In 2010, the Young Photographer’s Alliance, whose mission is “inspiring, educating and empowering the next generation of photographers”, offered an opportunity for aspiring young photographers to be mentored by industry professionals. After an application and selection process, the chosen photographers would then work closely with their mentors for ten weeks in exploring a specific theme that addresses an issue in our world today. Four years later, the program has facilitated the emergence of many photographers by helping them develop their own portfolios and presenting their work online and at a gallery in NYC. For many of the mentees, the program was the best chance to bring their skill to a whole new level and open up their work to a large scale audience.

"No Matter What..."  By Anna Piotrowska, Team Bristol, United Kingdom. Mentored by Daniel Bosworth & Alex Acin

“No Matter What…”
By Anna Piotrowska, Team Bristol, United Kingdom.
Mentored by Daniel Bosworth & Alex Acin

“We had two mentors per group to guide us through the process of a real life project. Working as a team makes things more fun and interesting. We share ideas and see how other people go through their own process of change,” says Erica Price, whose photo is featured on this article. “There were different stages of growth and it was interesting to see people in stages where I was and stages where I want to be. This experience has helped me concentrate and narrow down my photography to find out what I really love to capture.”

"Hollywood" By Mei Ratz, Team Portland, OR, United States Mentored by Leah Nash & Christopher Onstott & Tom Hassler

“Hollywood”
By Mei Ratz, Team Portland, OR, United States
Mentored by Leah Nash & Christopher Onstott & Tom Hassler

However, the benefits do not stop there. Along the way, these college students or recent graduates hone their business and marketing proficiencies and learn how to navigate the market. The program is intensive and each mentee is challenged to explore their own creative potential in their own unique ways. In 2010, the theme was adversity. This time, it is entitled “Escape”.

"Help and Escape" by Sunny Chauhan, Team Mumbai, India Mentored by Avinash K Jain & Ian Pereira

“Help and Escape”
By Sunny Chauhan, Team Mumbai, India
Mentored by Avinash K Jain & Ian Pereira

This year, the program is the largest to date, thanks to its major founding sponsor, The American Society of Media Photographers Foundation (ASMP Foundation). It began on June 1st and is composed of 76 college photography students, 33 professional photography mentors, and 19 teams in the United States, Canada, Scotland, India and United Kingdom. These young, aspiring photographers come from various backgrounds all over the world. However, they share the common goal of proving to everyone who views their work just how powerful photography can be, not only in their lives but also as an agent for global environmental and social change.

If you would like to attend, RSVP here.

“How does one capture the essence of the word Escape? By its very nature it cannot be grasped or tamed, confined or controlled. Escape is the flower that grows from the crack in the concrete. It is the choice between having a drink or taking a walk. Escape is the freedom from reality, but it is also reality unrestrained. Escape is a paradox. Escape is inevitable.” – via The Young Photographers Alliance