2016 Mentoring Program

Theme: American Landscapes

View all the 2016 images and essays, starting on our teams page:

2016 Mentoring Program Teams

Talented young photographers (open to those in age range 18-29) in collaboration with professional photographers will explore one powerful subject to create portfolio quality images, develop business and marketing skills, and experience the power of photography to explore and communicate their (personal) perspective on important issues. For 2016, the theme selected is American Landscapes.

About YPA’s 2016 Theme

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.

“A change is brought about because ordinary people do extraordinary things.” –Barack Obama

“It was the job of art to bring true feelings alive. To shock people into awareness.”  –Michael Crichton

What does it mean to be American? Is America Great?

Have we started the great decline like the end of the Roman Empire? What it will mean if we have another divided election? What are people/communities and young people doing to affect real change in our country?  The United States is the country criticized the most worldwide, and yet remains the place people want to move to the most. Pursuing the American dream is still a strong motivator.  With the constant influx of young immigrants, our country continues to attract the youngest and brightest minds enabling us to innovate and develop new technologies.

This is a pivotal year. With the coming elections, there’s increased interest in debating the issues that are important to young people, particularly young artists who are just beginning to explore their personal visual vocabulary and create imagery that may affect change–whether it’s one person’s point of view/perspective or ideas shared by millions.

This year’s theme is wide open for interpretation depending on your values and beliefs and what is most important to you. It’s a chance for you to dig deep and tell us your story through the political issues that affect you the most, whether that be climate change and the environment, polarized political processes, gun control, militarized police force, economic or gender equality and more. Explore signs and symbols–natural features of the land reveal characteristics of society (e.g. development of fishing industries and societies near bays and oceans), man-made monuments, whether churches (faith), street art and memorials all reflect cultural values and priorities during times of great change.

Who is this for?

College students studying photography as a major, and recent graduates of photo programs.

2016 Cities and Mentors

New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

Meet the Mentors:
Barry Rosenthal (New York)
Michael Weschler (New York)
Frank Meo (New York)
Jim Scherer (Boston)
Will Figg (Philadelphia)
David Zentz (Los Angeles)
Slav Zatoka (Los Angeles)

What’s Involved?

The program takes place over the course of the summer. Mentors and mentees meet as a team for a series of 6-8 two-hour sessions over the course of 8-12 weeks between June and September.

To participate, you must have a flexible schedule and be willing to devote necessary time to complete the program, and follow instructions provided to you by YPA and your mentors. Please note our selected cities. If  you will not be residing in one of these cities during the course dates, we can’t accept your application.

Outside of meeting with your mentor you will be required to identify and photograph a subject based on the theme outlined above and deliver three final images and a short essay of no more than 300 words.

How will you benefit?

  1. Both the program and your work will be prominently displayed to a worldwide audience.
  2. The results of the program will be featured in an exhibition in NYC.
  3. You will gain experience and insights from leading industry professionals.
  4. You will learn business skills necessary for an emerging young professional.
  5. You will create exciting new work for your portfolio.
  6. You will push yourself to expand your boundaries and potential.
  7. You will work together with your team to promote both yourself and the program, all while experiencing the power of photography to build community awareness and support around an important social issue.

What do I need to do if I am interested?

  1. Complete the application process through our online registration. You’ll need to submit this along with one letter of recommendation and 5-10 images.
  2. Submitting an application is no guarantee of acceptance. Student selections will be based on quality of work as well as your location and ability for YPA to engage a mentor in your area.
  3. You will be notified about your acceptance within in 30 days.
  4. If accepted to the program, you will be required to pay a one-time fee of $21.00.

About the Program

Young Photographers Alliance (YPA) offers this annual program to provide mentoring for emerging photographers by established professional photographers.

Our Mentoring Program picks up where school leaves off, by providing college level students opportunity to work directly some of today’s most successful industry professionals. Past mentors include: Ozant KamaciRocky KnetenSofia van der DysDirk Fletcher and Shannon Fagan.