Message in a Photo (MIAP) is a private Dutch foundation that was established in 2013 by Diane van der Marel.

Our mission is to create awareness about relevant social topics through visual (lens-based) storytelling.

In a world that is becoming increasingly visual, we believe visual storytelling has the power to reach and engage broad audiences; spark conversations; bridge different cultures and beliefs; and create empathy and awareness.  


Experience has shown that successful projects require extensive preparation, business and marketing insight, networking skills, collaboration, intelligent arguments and creative thinking.

We challenge both promising and existing ideas. Besides, we inspire visual storytellers to collaborate, share and exchange knowledge with their peers, artists from other disciplines as well as experts and thinkers from diverse worlds.


Powerful networking can help visual storytellers reach different and broader audiences.

MIAP stimulates and empowers such networks, partnerships and collaborations between its fellows, other artists, and experts and thinkers – with extraordinary results. The visual stories MIAP has partnered in have been seen in both art museums, art galleries, newspapers, (outside) exhibitions and on social media.

We have sponsored the following projects and artists:

Year one, theme Food:

  • Henk Wildschut
  • Paul den Hollander
  • Nina Kopp
  • Caitlin Sas
  • Sarah Mei Herman
  • Lonneke van der Palen

Year two, theme Water with partners FOTODOK and UNSEEN:

  • Marie Jose Jongerius
  • Elspeth Diederix
  • Anne Geene
  • Niels Stomps
  • Jan Rosseel

Year three:

  • Jan Hoek and Duran Lantink: Sistaaz of the Castle
  • Marieke van der Velden and Philip Brink: The Island of all Together
  • Anais Lopez: Country without Orphans
  • Three collectives @UNSEEN: Wandering Bears, Mt Figure, Studio 47
  • Lagos Photo: How Long is Now

Year four: Fellowship

  • Jan Dirk van der Burg: the BOSS Bag Story
  • Ananda van de Pluijm: Mapping the Black Hole
  • Jan Hoek: the New Masai
  • Nadine Stijns: the Anarchist Citizenship
  • Cynthia Boll: Sinking Cities
  • Annette Behrens: Soy

We also help photographers and visual artists look for new business opportunities by promoting partnerships with social organisations and businesses. In doing so, we believe this new generation of storytellers will be better prepared for the increasingly challenging market. By doing so we believe the most compelling stories will go forth into the world…