Marta Iwanek/The Canadian Press
It didn’t take long for the nerves to set in. I had worked at papers before, but at the wire, I knew I would have to work much more quickly and independently and my work would be sent nationally or even internationally. Luckily, throughout my time at CP, I received thoughtful guidance from photographers Nathan Denette, Frank Gunn, Chris Young, Darren Calabrese and director of news photography Graeme Roy.
I learned that being prepared is key. Researching a story beforehand allows you to anticipate the meaningful images. This allows you to spend more energy being ready for the unexpected images that often complete the story.
I was encouraged to follow and photograph the news of the day. Feature hunting was a good exercise in capturing the moments that may have been missed on a busy news day.
While photographing a baseball game, I was reminded of the importance of knowing the narrative and being able to recognize the subtle pictures that tell the story of the game and the season so far. At a marathon finish line, I learned to focus on where the action will be rather than where it currently is, reinforcing the importance of anticipating the image. I also learned the value of reacting quickly when the unexpected does arrive. I was reminded to be confident and true to my own voice. I learned these lessons in specific circumstances, but it was interesting to see how one lesson from one assignment could transfer to the next.
In those six weeks, I felt like I had been taken on the rollercoaster of life experiences occurring around us. In late September, tragedy struck north of Toronto when an alleged drunk driver killed three young children and a grandfather. The outpouring of grief and support among the GTA was very moving and I tried to capture this through photos of vigils, visitations and funeral. This fall saw the Blue Jays reach the playoffs, and the end of a nine-year Conservative federal government.
My last days were spent photographing Fashion Week. The lessons of being prepared and researched came in handy when photographing four runway shows back-to-back with limited time to file in between. I managed the shooting schedule and had time to explore the sidelines of the event, where some of the most interesting images were hidden.
I am most thankful to Tom Hanson’s family, The Canadian Press and the Canadian Journalism Foundation for giving me this wonderful opportunity to give young photojournalists a chance to expand their skills. I felt so welcomed, supported and challenged at the same time, which provided a great environment to learn in. This experience will continue to strengthen my work as I grow and move for¬ward as a photographer.
(All photos Copyright 2015 THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marta Iwanek)
To read more about the Tom Hanson Photojournalism Award, visit the award page.
The Tom Hanson Photojournalism Award is generously supported by: