By Andrew Lahodynskyj
2019 Tom Hanson Photojournalism Award Recipient
When Graeme Roy, Director of News Photography for The Canadian Press, called early one morning to notify me that I was the recipient of the 2019 Tom Hanson Award, I was at a loss for words. I texted him later that day because I needed a “pinch me” moment to confirm my dream to work for CP had come true. It was the opportunity of a lifetime — a chance to hone my skills and showcase my work to further develop the craft that I love.
My internship at CP was one of the greatest and most challenging learning experiences of my career. I had been freelancing in Toronto for various media outlets but knew that working for the fast-paced “show me what you’re made of” wire service would allow me prove my mettle. As important, I would be working with some of the best and most consummate professionals in the business in the field and on the desk.
My first assignment was the Canadian Open. I rarely play golf and had certainly never photographed the sport so was anxious when I walked out on the course. I was grateful to my seasoned colleagues Nathan Denette and Adrian Wyld who generously shared their expertise ensuring that I captured the best images possible as did Frank Gunn who provided insights into photographing the Queen’s Plate and the importance of being ready for the breakneck speed of the action. Among the highlights of my internship was working with the CP team of photographers and editors on the Toronto Raptors Championship parade. I was perched high atop a Toronto office building where I spent hours documenting the endless stream of fans cheering on their hometown heroes. While the parade moved at a snail’s pace, the mood was electric throughout the day. My photos appeared in national and international publications and I am grateful for the support of my colleagues at CP who helped me achieve this level of professionalism.
The six weeks I spent at The Canadian Press offered many invaluable lessons and experiences which helped me to develop my craft and continue to strive to always do better than the day before. The scope of the work – from photographing the Prime Minister to the Honda Indy – taught me that like all good boy scouts, I always had to “be prepared,” and do my homework to be ready for the predictable but more importantly the unexpected – the money shot that sets a photo apart from the rest. I am grateful to Graeme for continuously encouraging me to follow my instincts and take risks. It was a privilege to work with him and the rest of CP team.
I extend a heartfelt thank you to the Hanson family for your unmatched dedication and commitment to young photojournalists. The Tom Hanson Photojournalism Award changes lives. It has for me and I am honoured to have been a recipient.
The Tom Hanson Photojournalism Award is generously supported by: