World Mental Health Day: Picfair offers free images, $27K in grants, and interview inspiration

World Mental Health Day: Picfair offers free images, $27K in grants, and interview inspiration
Francis Augusto, Emma Hardy and Charlie Clift will be part of Picfair's efforts for World Mental Health Day (Image credit: Picfair)

Photography start-up Picfair is making a big effort this year around World Mental Health Day, taking place on 10 October. 

In addition to £20,000 in grants (approximately $27,400 / AU$37,600) and free images, it has announced a series of live Instagram interviews with photographers Emma Hardy, Francis Augusto and Charlie Clift (pictured above), as well as Scott Shillum and Steve Wallington, founders of The Photography Movement – a non-profit organization promoting mental health through photography. 

• Read more: Can photography improve your mental health?

The interviews will take place via the Picfair Instagram account and form part of a campaign called 'Mind The Lens' month throughout October, in which Picfair is turning over its social media channels to conversations, guides and content that promote better mental wellbeing. 

Francis Augusto will be interviewed on Picfair's Instagram channel in October (Image credit: Francis Augusto)

Emma Hardy is known her for intimate and unselfconscious portraits of famous faces including Tilda Swinton, Natalia Vodianova, Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender and Stella McCartney. Francis Augusto is a photographic artist who loves documenting humans and the everyday, and his clients include the likes of Adidas, Canon, Getty Images, Google, and The Sunday Times.

Charlie Clift has been commissioned by the likes of BAFTA, GQ, The Sunday Times Magazine and the BBC, and his work has been featured in the National Portrait Gallery and the Creative Review Photo Annual.

Picfair will also be hosting guest content from photographers such as Paul Williams and Matt Doogue, both passionate advocates of the role photography has played in their mental health recoveries.

Grants for photographers

And that's not all: £20,000 of Mind The Lens grants are also up for grabs to those looking to further a unique mental health and photography project.

Picfair is awarding 10x £2,000 grants (approx $2,740 / AU$3,760) to projects that explore or support the relationship between photography and mental health. Applications are open to photographers, mental health specialists or anyone working on wellness projects incorporating photography. Submissions close on 29 October and grants will be announced on 15 November – you can apply here.

Applications will be judged by a panel including Fiona Shields, head of photography at The Guardian, Katy Cowan, founding editor of Creative Boom, and Picfair's own head of content, Philip Mowbray.

(Image credit: Jose at

Free images for media use

Partnering with non-profit group The Photography Movement, Picfair will also launch a range of tools and free content throughout the month of October, including a free-to-use image gallery (Picfair will pay the photographers) for anyone covering mental health issues in the media. 

This special gallery will be curated from over 500,000 photography stores on Picfair, with the aim of broadening the visual spectrum of mental health imagery available to journalists and bloggers.

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Tom May

Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specializing in art, photography, design and travel. He has been editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. He has also worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, T3, Heat, Company and Bella.