Chris Donovan – 2017

Lido Pimienta performs during the Polaris Prize Gala at The Carlu in Toronto on Monday, September 18, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Donovan

View additional photos of Chris Donovan’s work for The Canadian Press.
View his winning submission for the Tom Hanson Photojournalism Award.
Read the 2017 winner announcement.
View his acceptance speech.

By Chris Donovan

2017 Tom Hanson Photojournalism Award Recipient

I grew up with one of Tom Hanson’s photographs on my wall. It was a photograph of Martin Brodeur, my favourite goalie, celebrating team Canada’s 2002 Olympic gold medal victory in men’s hockey. I only realized it was his image after winning the award, that’s when I realized that my experience was not unique. Tom’s images had the ability to touch the lives of millions of people across the country. When I heard that I was awarded the six-week internship with The Canadian Press in Toronto, I was motivated to work toward my images one day doing the same.

Having the opportunity to shoot for a wire right out of school was extremely beneficial for me. There is a lot of pressure because you know the images will be seen by editors all across the country and it forces you to perform at your highest level. I also had the opportunity to learn a lot from my peers while on assignment which was extremely helpful. I got some great tips from Nathan Denette, Chris Young and Mark Blinch while in the field and I have a lot to thank them for. I quickly learned the importance of planning ahead and filing quickly cannot be overstated.

I started my internship by shooting the Toronto International Film Festival. I was immediately thrown into the fire and was suddenly surrounded by dozens of photographers from all over the world all trying to get the best shot. This forced me to think outside the box and try to get something different. I then covered the Invictus Games which I really enjoyed and it allowed me to get even more creative with my shooting.

When I first started I had an idea of what kind of image CP would want, but Graeme quickly told me to forget about that and shoot the way I wanted to shoot. Graeme’s support helped me grow a great deal throughout the experience. He is a great mentor and truly invested in your success.

Overall, the experience taught me that you can never stop learning as a photographer and that if you feel like you know everything, you will never know anything. It helped me make the decision to move to Toronto from New Brunswick, a decision I never would have made on my own without the support of the folks at CP.

I want to say a big thank you to the Hanson family, the CP staff and the Canadian Journalism Foundation. This experience will always be a pivotal moment in my life as I continue to grow as a photographer.

(All photos Copyright 2017 THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Donovan)

To read more about the Tom Hanson Photojournalism Award, visit the award page.

The Tom Hanson Photojournalism Award is generously supported by: