Visa pour l’Image 2020 goes digital - Canon champions the next generation of storytellers

London, UK, 21 August 2020 – For the 31ˢᵗ year, Canon Europe is proud to announce it will partner with Visa pour l’Image, one of the world’s leading photojournalism festivals, during the Pro Week – from 29th August – 5th September 2020. This long-standing partnership highlights Canon’s commitment to photojournalism, from students learning the craft to professionals breaking boundaries in the field. Once again, Canon celebrates this alliance with exciting initiatives, from the Canon Female Photojournalist Grant and the inaugural Canon Video Grant through to Canon’s Student Development Programme. This year, due to social distancing measures, some exhibitions will take place as usual in Perpignan, France, while others - including talks, awards, portfolio reviews, screenings and presentations - will be held virtually.

The future of visual storytelling

2020 sees the fourth edition of the Canon Student Development Programme – dedicated to those who want to pursue a career in photography and photojournalism. Running from 1st – 5th September, and being held digitally for the first time, Canon will host over 220 photography students from across Europe, Middle East and Africa in an intensive developmental programme. This initiative aims to enhance their skills and advance students’ careers by introducing them to some of the top professionals in the industry, through webinars and portfolio reviews. This year, there will be 24 professional photographers, including Canon Ambassadors - such as Muhammed Muheisen, Aïda Muluneh and Magnus Wennman - and photo editors reviewing student portfolios. The photo editors and curators participating include Sarah Leen, Kathy Ryan, Monica Allende, Nicolas Jimenez, Olivier Laurent, Whitney Richardson, Lekgetho Makola, Ekow Eshun and Bonnie Briant. Participating students will have images chosen from their portfolios for inclusion in a limited-edition book, due to be published later this year.

Inspiring the future

Starting on 1st September, as part of the Canon Student Development Programme initiative and open to all accredited visitors, there will be a series of inspirational lectures – taking place digitally – by world-renowned professionals. The first will be given by former Guggenheim Fellow, Jason Eskenazi, on the subject of 'Revisiting the Americans'. Other speakers include Visa pour l'Image’s founder Jean-François Leroy, Gaia Tripoli of The New York Times, legendary photographer Sebastião Salgado and one of the most influential music and portrait photographers in the world, and film director, Anton Corbijn. A panel discussion will bring together leading voices to address the unique challenges Black and minority photographers and photojournalists face in the industry, underlining priorities for positive change and sustainable initiatives to encourage, nurture and sustain talent.

The very best of female photojournalism  

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Female Photojournalist Grant, presented by Canon and Visa pour l’Image, which recognises an outstanding female photographer for her contribution to photojournalism. This year’s recipient, Turkish photographer Sabiha Çimen, will be formally presented with the €8,000 grant in acknowledgement of her project – Hafiz: Guardians of the Qur'an. The project focuses on a 1,500-year-old tradition – where Muslims who completely memorise the Qur'an are then allowed to use the title 'Hafız' before their names – and the 8 to 17-year-old girls who attend the Qur'an schools to recite and memorise the 6,236 verses of the holy book of Islam so they can become Hafizas.

Last year’s recipient  of the Canon Female Photojournalist Grant winner and member of the VII Photo Agency, Anush Babajanyan, will showcase her project, A Troubled Home, both at Couvent des Minimes in Perpignan (images printed by Canon) and online. It focuses on large families in the South Caucasus where the government has encouraged the growth of the ethnic Armenian population. Anush began working in the region in 2016 when violence erupted during the Four Day War and wanted to explore the reasons behind the area's growing families.

Canon’s inaugural video grant

Visa pour l'Image 2020 sees the presentation of the inaugural Canon Video Grant. The first recipient is French-Swiss photographer and filmmaker Michaël Zumstein – the investigative journalist spends his time working on commissions for the French and international press, as well as on personal projects. Michaël will receive an €8,000 grant plus the loan of a Canon video camera and two cine lenses, in order to make a short documentary called Bangui la coquette, looking at the organization of Miss Central African Republic. The final version of the documentary will be screened at the 2021 festival.

Exhibition: The Pandemic

A collective work, named The Pandemic, will showcase images by photographers from all over the world who have documented the largest global pandemic of modern times and the biggest story of the year – COVID-19. The collective exhibition includes an image from Fabio Bucciarelli's powerful and intimate reportage for The New York Times and will take place at Couvent des Minimes in Perpignan and online, easily accessed through the Canon Digital Lounge.

For further details on Canon’s involvement at Visa pour I’Image, please visit:

Accredited users can access the Canon Digital Lounge, via the Visa pour l’image site: