Canon Europe has launched its Canon Student Development Programme for 2022, which offers photography students access to leading photojournalists and experienced photo editors, plus the opportunity to attend key industry events. 

The educational programme, now in its sixth year, lasts between six to 12 months depending on mentee’s progress through the process and is designed to cultivate the next generation of photojournalists.

The programme will work with a range of international experts to support this year’s mentees and provide them with the knowledge and inspiration they need to launch their careers.

Submissions are open to students and interns residing in Europe, the Middle East and Africa until 29 April 2022. A limited number of spaces will also be available for recommendations from industry professionals.

The submissions will be judged by a panel of editors from AFP, Getty Images and Reuters who will decide on the initial 100-strong shortlist of the region’s most promising young storytellers.

Student portfolio reviews during a previous Visa pour l'Image festival

Student portfolio reviews during a previous Visa pour l’Image festival

Expert 1:1 mentoring

Once selected, each of the 100 student mentees will be partnered with one of the programme’s expert mentors.

The mentors include Nobel Peace Prize photographer Finbarr O’Reilly, National Geographic Explorer and VII agency member Anush Babajanyan, award-winning documentary photographer Laura El-Tantawy and lauded Magnum photographer Jérôme Sessini.

Throughout June and July 2022, the students will complete three virtual sessions to refine their portfolio and project synopsis.

The focus will be on exploring different editing options and ways to further strengthen narrative skills and develop authorial signatures.

Based on these sessions, each mentor will nominate their strongest candidates and a 30-strong group will then be chosen by an independent panel for the following stages of the programme.

Award-winning photojournalist Finbarr O'Reilly is one of the Canon Student Development Programme's mentors. © Giles Duley

Award-winning photojournalist Finbarr O’Reilly is one of the Canon Student Development Programme’s mentors. © Giles Duley

Finbarr O’Reilly commented, ‘The Canon Student Development Programme gives photographers, who are in the early stages of their career, direct access to some of the most experienced photojournalists, who can share what they have learned over decades of working in the field, and some of the tips and techniques that they use for visual storytelling. Students get to learn the various stages of ideation, research, concepting, execution, then editing and sharing their work with editors and the wider public.’

Workshops and portfolio reviews

The top 30 shortlisted students will be invited to attend Canon’s workshop, which takes place in the run up to the Visa pour l’image international festival of photojournalism in Perpignan, France.

The workshop will offer a forum to exchange ideas, build relationships and nurture talent.

Students will be exposed to a mix of lectures and practical sessions hosted by photographers, including Canon Ambassador Paolo Verzone, who will run a masterclass on lighting techniques for portraiture.

On the penultimate day, students will take part in group portfolio review sessions hosted by acclaimed industry experts, including Benoit Baume (founder of Fisheye magazine), Chiara Bardelli Nonino (photo editor, Vogue Italia) and Fiona Shields (picture editor, The Guardian).

Benoit Baume, right seated, of Fisheye magazine leads a student portfolio review session at Visa pour l'Image 2019. © Paul Hackett

Benoit Baume, right seated, of Fisheye magazine leads a student portfolio review at the 2019 Visa pour l’Image international festival of photojournalism. © Paul Hackett

Students will have the incredible opportunity to present their work and critique their fellow peers in an exclusive knowledge sharing forum.

On the final day, participants will attend the first day of Visa pour l’image and explore all that the festival has to offer.

Hamburg Portfolio Review

The final stage of the process will see five finalists head to Hamburg for Europe’s newest development platform, the Hamburg Portfolio Review.

During a three-day trip, the final five will each take part in four individual portfolio reviews, have their work exhibited and attend a series of exclusive media appointments with key editors in the industry.

Over the following six months, they will receive longer term mentorships and will be provided with a €2,000 grant and top-of-the-line Canon equipment to support their next creative chapter.

Picture reviews are a vital part of the Canon Student Development Programme

Picture reviews are a vital part of the Canon Student Development Programme

Success stories

Susie Donaldson, Canon EMEA marketing director, said, ‘We are really seeing the incredible successes of the Canon Student Development Programme, as we are watching alumni of previous years advance in their careers. We are constantly learning and evolving how this programme can best serve the creative community it looks to cultivate and support. This year we’ve added new activities to the overall package, designed to support students longer term to make a real difference to their career development.’

Since 2017, more than 1,000 students have taken part in the programme.

Notable success stories have included Ksenia Kuleshova (2017 programme), who has become a successful photojournalist, working for publications including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Michele Spatari (2018) is an award-winning documentary and news photographer for AFP, who has captured some of the most significant events in recent history.

Both of these photographers have subsequently gone on to become Canon Ambassadors.

How to apply

To apply to be a part of the 2022 Canon Student Development Programme just visit: Canon UK Student Development Programme or Canon Ireland Student Development Programme.

Related articles:

Canon Ambassadors predict AI & AR to drive storytelling

Get better adventure, wildlife and portrait photographs whilst travelling

Can photojournalism survive? The industry speaks out…