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Ian Parry Scholarship: Giving young photographers a helping hand

Lucia, nine, returns to her house in the early evening after bathing at a water pump nearby. Photo: Maisie Crow

It’s tough starting out as a young photographer -you’re fresh out of college, keen and ambitious. You’re armed with a fantastic portfolio and brimming with ideas. The world is your oyster. All you need now is your first commission.

You ring around all the picture editors – newspapers, magazines and charities – to see what they can give you. Mostly you get their answer machines, and if you do manage to get through they ask who you’ve worked for previously, what your experience is.

People are cautious about commissioning newcomers they’ve yet to hear of. So where do you start?

Roll in the Ian Parry Scholarship – a photographic award specifically geared towards giving young photographers a helping hand into a very difficult industry.

Ian Parry was a photojournalist who died while on assignment for The Sunday Times during the Romanian revolution in 1989. That was 20 years ago, he was just 24 years of age.

The Ian Parry Scholarship was created by Aidan Sullivan, then picture editor at the Sunday Times and Ian’s friends and family in order to build something positive from such a tragic death.

Each year an international photographic competition is held for young photographers who are either attending a full-time photographic course or are under 24.

The winner receives £5,000 towards doing an assignment of their choice, their work is published in the Sunday Times Magazine and they get to meet picture editors and other key people in the industry.

It really is a foot in the door. The award has been previously won by photographers who’ve gone on to become well known and established – Harriet Logan, Robbie Cooper, Sam Faulkner, Simon Roberts, Marcus Bleasdale, Zihah Gafic and Jonas Bendiksen.

Last year Save the Children linked up with the Ian Parry Scholarship to offer an additional prize to one of the young photographers entering the award – the chance to work with a leading charity to carry out a photography project.

We’re really excited about this partnership – the Ian Parry scholarship is all about giving young and emerging photographers an opening and support into the tough world of the photographic industry and through this additional award Save the Children is able to contribute by offering an opening into working for the NGO industry – an area of growth in the photographic industry. It’s fantastic for us to work with such talented, emerging photographers.

The award Save the Children gives out is an all expenses paid assignment with us on a subject matter or country that is of mutual interest to the photographer and Save the Children.

Last year, our award went to Maisie Crow and she has just returned from Mozambique where she focused on the impact of HIV and AIDS on children – through the eyes of a nine-year-old girl, Lucia, who not only has to care for her sick mother but also her younger sister – taking on the responsibilities of an adult.

Maisie has shot the story in a very intimate way that not only shows Lucia’s vulnerability but also her stoicism and strength.

Her work will be exhibited at the Ian Parry Scholarship exhibition at the Getty Gallery (46 Eastcastle Street, London W1W 8DX) from 16 August for one week, along with the work of all this year’s winners.

Please do come along to see fantastic photography from these young, inspiring photographers.

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