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Ian Parry Scholarship 2020 winners: recognising the best new talent in photojournalism

Meet the winners of the 2020 Ian Parry Scholarship awards and discover what made their work stand out.
A crowd of US Marines in white hats pictured from behind standing in Times Square.

Winner of the Sunday Times Award for Achievement, photographer Yuki Iwamura's project was on American pride, illustrated by this shot of US Marine Corps members assembled in Times Square for a photoshoot during Fleet Week. "Coming from rural Japan, where patriotism isn't so present, it's interesting to me to see people so enthusiastic about their country," Yuki said. "But it's not all Americans. It's really divided." Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM lens (now succeeded by the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM) at 1/320 sec, f/8 and ISO100. © Yuki Iwamura

The winners of this year's Ian Parry Scholarship have been announced – a group of aspiring photojournalists who are shining a light on untold stories, from the impact on Japan of an ageing population to the struggles of working class families in the UK.

Now in its 30th edition, this prestigious award was established in memory of Ian Parry, a photojournalist who was tragically killed in 1989 aged 24 while on assignment for The Sunday Times covering the Romanian Revolution.

The scholarship recognises the best emerging photojournalists from around the world who are aged under 24 or studying full time on a photography course. Each winner receives £3,500 towards a chosen project, and a loan of equipment from Canon Europe. This year's winners were selected from more than 300 entrants from 40 different countries. They will receive their awards from patron Sir Don McCullin at a virtual ceremony taking place in November 2020.

Japanese photojournalist Yuki Iwamura has won the Sunday Times Award for Achievement; London-based Capella Buncher has won the Canon Award for Potential; while German documentary photographer Stefanie Silber is to receive a Special Award for her powerful work on the grief of stillbirth. Daniel Harvey Gonzalez and Ingmar Nolting each received a Highly Commended Award, and Subhrajit Sen a Commended Award. The judging panel included Canon Ambassador Brent Stirton among other leading figures from across the photo industry.

A recent graduate in Documentary Practice and Visual Journalism at the International Center of Photography in New York, 23-year-old Yuki originally moved to the US from his home country in 2015 to study Sociology. His award-winning portfolio featured images from his ongoing series American Pride, which looks at patriotism and extremism under Donald Trump's presidency.

"Growing up in rural Japan, I didn't see much patriotism, but it's very present in the United States," Yuki says. "The flag is everywhere. There are schools where they sing the national anthem every day, which would never happen in Japan. That really interested me." In the series, Yuki documented Second Amendment supporters and white supremacists attending rallies and events around the US, from Detroit to Washington DC.

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Yuki plans to use his £3,500 winner's grant to develop an altogether different project. Inspired by the experience of losing his grandfather, Yuki plans to study ageing and death in his hometown of Nagano, Japan, which has the highest life expectancy on Earth. "I grew up surrounded by elderly people," he says. He plans to photograph patients, relatives and staff of the hospice where his grandfather spent his final months, the only hospice in Nagano, but also to explore how ageing affects the town more broadly.

The grant will help pay for Yuki's ticket back from the US, and also give him the space to do the project justice. "This kind of project takes a long time to develop, but I think it's really important to do long-term personal work like this," he says. "It will be a new experience for me as a photographer because working in that kind of environment is very different to doing assignments. It's not just about taking pictures of events but more about listening and waiting, talking to people, researching and getting to know the whole story."

Yuki is looking forward to having the chance to borrow the Canon EOS R5 full-frame mirrorless camera. Particularly when shooting dark scenes, such as capturing sensitive moments in the hospice, the low light capabilities of the camera will give him the advantage of sharper focus and less visual noise, compared to cameras he's used previously.

A young man lies on a bed in a cluttered bedroom, with multi-coloured lights shining around the room from a projector.

Capella Buncher's younger brother Danny, who struggles with mental ill health, in his room in London, UK, spring 2020. "It has been clarifying for me to look at my family through the lens and have that distance," Capella says, "but also for them to see things that they have to address. It has had a therapeutic impact on all of us." From the series And the Livin' is Easy. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III (now succeeded by the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV) with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 1/140 sec, f/2.8 and ISO8000. © Capella Buncher

A baby's coffin in the grave surrounded by foliage and flowers.

Photographer Stefanie Silber received a Special Award for her powerful work on the grief of stillbirth. This photograph is of the grave of baby Janne-Lilli, who died 22 weeks into her mother's pregnancy. A funeral was held by her family in Hamburg. From the series Loud Silence. © Stefanie Silber

Prior to 2019, Capella Buncher had never contemplated a career in photography. After graduating from the University of Bristol in English Literature, she was working in administration for the UK's National Health Service, not sure where she wanted to go with her life. "When you're from a working-class background and you're academic, there's no way that you'd pursue a creative career," she says. "Your parents encourage you to do something more traditional. I left university and thought, 'What am I doing now?'"

Through the not-for-profit programme Create Jobs, Capella got a place on a Visual Storytelling course taught by Magnum Photographers. Photography gave her the opportunity to rediscover her working-class identity after three years surrounded by wealth at university, by turning her lens on her own family.

"There's such a misrepresentation of poor people in Britain in the entertainment industry, in the media and just generally how they're viewed in society," she says. "I wanted to present the other side, the reality."

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A man sitting in an armchair, one hand to his mouth and the other holding a pipe, tattoos visible on his arms.

Capella's father sits in a chair after taking a hit on his pipe. "Especially at the beginning," Capella says, "my family didn't pay much attention to me, which was exactly what I wanted. But there have been moments where I had to double-check their consent was still there, because it is exposing even if it's not sensationalised." Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 1/30 sec, f/2.8 and ISO1000. © Capella Buncher

A man's and a woman's hands hold the tiny foot of a stillborn infant, coated in ink to make a print of it on a piece of paper.

In a moving but almost abstract image, Janne-Lilli's parents make a print of their stillborn daughter's foot. Hamburg, Germany, November 2017. From the series Loud Silence. © Stefanie Silber

Capella has yet to decide exactly which camera she'd like to borrow from Canon but is excited to have the opportunity to work with something that will allow her to observe intimate moments. "In the past I've used a camera that was big and loud, so you really feel like someone's pointing something at you," she says. "I want something compact, small and quiet, with no shutter sound, perhaps the Canon EOS RP."

As part of her prize, Capella will undertake a mentorship with photojournalist and Photo Director of Tortoise Media Jon Jones. She appreciates this as much as the financial aspect, stressing that she has so much to gain from the "insight and the support and the wisdom" of her mentor. Her plan is to expand her project beyond her family. "My family don't represent the working class in Britain in its entirety. Every family is different. I'd like to build up a far more diverse and complex presentation of working class and poor people across Britain, because I think it's really important to make it inclusive and relatable. I'm still very much developing my ideas."

This award recognition has the potential to be truly life-changing, she adds. "I feel like I always had a negative view of my future, but now it feels like maybe I could carve out a life that I would really love, I could achieve the things I want to achieve. People always tell you that you can do whatever you want, but it's hard and not everyone is on the same footing."

Written by Rachel Segal Hamilton


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