Simply put, I never thought I would have a chance to shoot for The Canadian Press. And I certainly never thought I would ever receive an award in the name of Tom Hanson -- a photographer that we, as new photographers, admired as we saw his name grace our web pages and newspapers.
When director of news photography Graeme Roy called to say I received the award, after the initial excitement, I was incredibly nervous at the thought of having to shoot amongst the wire photographers I respected. During my internship I drew from the solid work of staff photographers Frank Gunn, Sean Kilpatrick, and Ryan Remiorz as I saw their images from the Olympics flow across the wire. I had first-hand advice on how to make clean and compelling images from staff photographer Nathan Dennette, I learned from shooting alongside the incredibly well-rounded freelancer Chris Young and I was motivated by the work of last year award recipient Aaron Vincent Elkaim.
The six-week internship has taken me closer to developing my skills as a photographer and has given me exposure to an incredibly wide range of assignments. The fast-paced celebrity portraits at the Toronto International Film Festival pushed me to work quickly and creatively. The deadline-driven news assignments gave me practice working under pressure.
The challenge of learning how to cover baseball games taught me the power of not only strong action pictures but subtle story-telling pictures too. And on slower days the challenge of feature hunting to add to the daily news photo package furthered my understanding of daily journalism.
I have a long way to go to become the visual journalist I hope to be but I am certain that the Tom Hanson Photojournalism Award internship is a milestone in developing my style as a photographer. It has given me skills that take me closer to my goals and has taught me how to shoot for the wide audience of a wire service which will continue to help me in all fields of photography.
I am thankful to Tom Hanson for giving us new photographers something to aspire to. And I am also grateful for Catherine Hanson who came out of her way to travel to Toronto to present the award to me, along with Heide Glorieux-Kaspar and the rest of Tom Hanson?s family, The Canadian Press and Canadian Journalism Foundation for bringing me closer to my goals in becoming the photographer I want to be.
(All photos Copyright 2012 THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michelle Siu)