The Ian Parry Scholarship 2019 opens for entries

A line of Rohingya Muslim people carry bags of possessions. Photo by Salahuddin Ahmed on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II.
The 2018 The Canon Award for Potential went to Salahuddin Ahmed, a documentary photo activist from Bangladesh, for his series covering the expulsion of nearly 700,000 Rohingya Muslim people from Myanmar. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II with a Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM lens at 1/2500 sec, f/5.6 and ISO800. © Salahuddin Ahmed

An annual contest aiming to promote and develop fresh photojournalist talent across the world, the Ian Parry Scholarship, is now open for 2019 entries.

The competition is free to enter for photographers under 24-years-old or those enrolled in full-time photography education, with two main prizes: The Sunday Times Award for Achievement and The Canon Award for Potential.

Now in its 29th year, the photojournalism competition plays an important role in drawing attention to global issues that are often forgotten by the media in the rush to cover pressing national news stories – and this year's entries must be received by Friday 5 July 2019.

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The Scholarship is dedicated to the memory of Ian Parry, a photojournalist who died aged just 24 while covering the Romanian revolution in 1989 for The Sunday Times. Aidan Sullivan, then picture editor, along with Ian's friends and family, created it to build something positive from the tragedy – and it continues to play a vital role in reinvigorating the world of photojournalism today.

Entrants to this year's contest must submit a portfolio and a clear proposal of a project they'd undertake if they won the scholarship. Each of the winners will receive $3,500, plus a loan of Canon equipment, to help them complete their project. They'll also attend a portfolio review day with leading industry experts in London.

"The scholarship exists to find and support the very best young people striving to produce powerful, meaningful photojournalism in a 'selfie' obsessed world," says award-winning photojournalist and Ian Parry Award board member Tom Stoddart. "Ian would be immensely proud of the long list of internationally-known photographers who were helped at the start of their careers by the scholarship that bears his name."

Soldiers by a tank look at a bombed out residential area. Photo by Ivor Prickett on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III.
Canon Ambassador Ivor Prickett won the Ian Parry Award in 2007. In this photo of his taken in January 2017, Iraqi Special Forces soldiers survey the aftermath of an ISIS suicide car bomb that managed to reach their lines in the Al Andalus neighbourhood of East Mosul. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 25mm, 1/160 sec, f/11 and ISO400. © Ivor Prickett / Panos Pictures

"Enter!" urges British photojournalist Marcus Bleasdale, who won the Ian Parry Award in 2000. "This is the single most important photography award for young photojournalists. It transformed my career and many other photographers'. Just look at the list of people who have been awarded the Ian Parry. It is incredible what they have all gone on to achieve in Ian's memory."

The Scholarship has launched the careers of a series of successful photojournalists, and attracted the patronage of Sir Don McCullin. The 2018 Award for Potential went to Salahuddin Ahmed, a documentary photo activist from Bangladesh, for his series covering the forced expulsion of nearly 700,000 Rohingya Muslim people from Myanmar. The Award for Achievement went to Filipino photographer Ezra Acayan, for his reportage of the two-year war on drugs in the Philippines.

The Canon Award for Potential

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The winner of The Canon Award for Potential will further receive a year-long mentorship program led by Magnum photographer Jonas Bendiksen – a 2002 winner of the Ian Parry Scholarship, who went on to join Magnum Photos in 2004. His work often focuses on isolated communities and enclaves, and he's received numerous awards, including the 2003 Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography, New York, and first prize in the Pictures of the Year International Awards.

As well as the prize money, Canon equipment loan, portfolio review and mentorship, the Canon Award for Potential winner will also have the opportunity to take part in the Transmissions Programme at the Visa pour l'Image festival of photojournalism in Perpignan, France.

Meanwhile, the winner of the Award for Achievement will be see their work appear in The Sunday Times Magazine, and will be automatically accepted into World Press Photo's final list of nominees for the Joop Swart Masterclass in Amsterdam.

The 2019 competition welcomes acclaimed war photographer Giles Duley as guest judge. Following 10 years as a fashion and music photographer in London, Giles shifted his focus to photojournalism and went on to document conflicts in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Bangladesh, Colombia, Iraq and Jordan among others. In 2016 he was commissioned by the UNHCR to document the refugee crisis across Europe and the Middle East.

Think you've got what it takes to win? For further information and to enter the Ian Parry Scholarship 2019, visit before Friday 5 July.

Written by Tom May

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