“They were running towards me, throwing rocks and golf balls”: Photojournalism internship winner on covering G20

Earlier this year, 24-year-old freelance photojournalist Adrien Veczan won the Canadian
Journalism Foundation’s
2010 Tom Hanson Photojournalism Award. The award is open to Canadian photojournalists that have been in the field for less than five years, and the winner gets a six-week paid internship as a photographer for The Canadian Press, which Adrien completed over the summer.

Applications for the 2011 award are due January 7.

Here is Adrien’s report on his experience (click here for a slideshow of his work at CP).

They were running towards me, throwing rocks and golf balls. Tension was building. I put down the cameras just in time to quickly put on my gas mask. The riot squad was forming a line, and just as I was running towards the action, Frank Gunn pulled me aside and reminded me that my role was to stay behind the police lines in case protesters were to break through.

I was part of the Canadian Press team that covered the G20 summit in Toronto.

Because of Frank’s guidance among the chaos, I was able to capture a photograph that showed Toronto’s financial district like we’ve never seen before, and thus add to our team coverage.

By Adrien Vezcan

This internship allowed me to join the talented CP team of photographers in Toronto; Frank Gunn, Nathan Denette, Chris Young and Darren Calabrese. This G20 anecdote is one of many times these photographers helped me.

It was very humbling to be part of Tom Hanson’s second family. Anything but my best effort day in and day out just wouldn’t cut it.

And even then; I remember Graeme Roy, director of photography, calling me into his office, pointing at a picture of mine on his monitor, and simply saying a decisive “no”.

Nothing more needed to be said; I knew my mistake (which I shall not share), and never did it again. Every day was a learning experience.

I covered news events on the national scene, from the day-to-day press conferences, protests, features, to high profile events such as the G20.

The Toronto life is vibrant and wide-ranging; the spectrum of what a photojournalist may be called to do is infinite. Within hours, I photographed both Queen Elizabeth II attending the Sunday service at church and a million revellers celebrating the gay pride parade.

Queen by Adrien Veczan

Balloon by Adrien Vezcan

I was also sent to many sporting events: Blue Jays baseball, Argonauts and Tiger-Cats CFL football, Toronto FC soccer as well as the Indy car race, Canadian Open golf tournament and the Rogers Cup tennis tournament.

I am now a regular contributor to the Canadian Press as well as a freelancer for other news outlets in Canada and abroad.

I wish to thank Catherine Hanson and everybody involved with the Tom Hanson Award. This was a great honour.