Wind in the sails


We have asked a selection of Ian Parry alumni to reflect on what it meant to them to win the Ian Parry Scholarship. This week Magnum Photos member Jonas Bendiksen tells how winning gave him just the boost he needed. 

IPS: With which work did you win the Ian Parry Scholarship?

JB: I won Ian Parry in 2002. I had the frightening realisation the other day that I’ve been a freelance photographer for almost 20 years. So this came quite early in my career during those first years of struggling to make it.

 

RUSSIA. Altai Territory. 2000. Villagers collecting scrap from a crashed spacecraft, surrounded by thousands of white butterflies. Environmentalists fear for the region's future due to the toxic rocket fuel.

RUSSIA. Altai Territory. 2000. Villagers collecting scrap from a crashed spacecraft, surrounded by thousands of white butterflies. Environmentalists fear for the region’s future due to the toxic rocket fuel.   © Jonas Bendiksen/Magnum Photos

 

IPS: How did winning affect your professional career?

JB: It was definitely a big puff of wind in the sails. Back then I was on my own without an agency or such support, and winning the Ian Parry scholarship was a great platform. Not only for showing and publishing work but also for my confidence. During the first years of freelancing one is often fighting against oneself, and this definitely helped lower my shoulders and feel like the work I was doing had meaning to others as well.

IPS: What are you working on right now?

JB: I am in the middle of a big new book project I’ve been working on since 2014.

IPS: What advice do you have for young people that are entering this year?

JB: Be yourself and enter work which you feel passionate about. That is usually the work others respond strongly to as well. Good luck!

For more of Jonas’ work click here or go the Magnum Photos website.