Our Mission

At CatchLight, we believe in the power of visual storytelling to foster a more nuanced and empathetic understanding of the world. We serve as a transformational force, urgently bringing resources and organizations together to support leaders in a thriving visual ecosystem. Our goal is to discover, develop and amplify visual storytellers.

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The lone protestor standing in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square. The shell-shocked Syrian toddler, covered in dust, sitting in the back of an ambulance. The lined face of a migrant mother in the Dust Bowl, as her children bury their faces in her neck. The pack of first graders, hands on each other’s shoulders, walking in terror from Sandy Hook Elementary School. Or yet again, a little girl crying up at a border agent as her Mom is being searched at the Mexican border.

‍Iconic images tell the story of a moment, but more importantly, they make an abstract issue immediate and concrete. When it comes to complex social issues, statistics explain a problem but images allow us to feel. They can do more than raise awareness--they spark action from individuals and policymakers because they reach us in a way we cannot forget.

More images are being shared today than in the entire history of the world.  In an age where pictures have become our everyday vocabulary, the most talented visual storytellers, like poets, bring a context and experience that enrich images with subtle layers of meaning, reaching deep into our consciousness.

Yet, ironically,  it is becoming increasingly difficult for visual storytellers to fund their work. According to this study by the World Press Photo, in 2018, the number of photojournalists working full time as photographers declined to 59% from 74% three years earlier. More than 40% find their financial circumstances to be difficult or very difficult.

Visual storytelling establishes common ground for our society and democracy. Images allow us to share in the  emotions, stories and values that bind us. With them, history becomes easier to access; we are more engaged.

CatchLight believes in the power of visual storytelling to foster a more nuanced and empathetic understanding of the world.  It serves as a transformational force, urgently bringing resources and organizations together to help grow a thriving visual ecosystem. Our goal is to help support, fund, amplify, create and grow visual storytellers at all levels.

We do so by:

  • Recognizing and funding excellence in visual storytelling

  • Supporting outstanding innovators in visual storytelling

  • Building programs and producing projects that promote a sustainable and impactful visual storytelling ecosystem.

  • Building knowledge, community and networks as a development tool for a better society

Brian L. Frank

Brian L. Frank


Banner image: © 2017 CatchLight Fellow Sarah Blesener