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 photographer Irina Werning explains how it launched her career.
IPS: With which work did you win the Ian Parry Scholarship?
IW: I won the 2006 award for a black and white story on parties in London named ‘Damned and Beautiful’.
IPS: How did winning affect your professional career?
IW: Winning made me decide to become a photographer. This was the most important moment in my career. If I hadn’t won this award I would be doing something different now. I’m ever so grateful.
IPS: What are you working on right now?
IW: I’m finishing a project on women with very long hair in Argentina. Women in Argentina wear their hair longer than in most Western countries. This tendency can be attributed to Argentina’s hybrid culture and the combined influence of Indigenous, Spanish and Italian traditions. In these cultures, masculine and feminine roles are explicitly defined and often manifested in external appearance.
IPS: What advice do you have for young people that are entering this year?
IW: Try to make a story on something small and local, something from the place where you are from. Be creative in your approach. Don’t be afraid to challenge the boundaries of storytelling. Engage with your subjects and ask them how they would like to be photographed.