Select your language
  • Deutsch

    Sämtliche Inhalte auf der CPN-Website sind auf Englisch verfügbar. Einige Inhalte, wie z. B. Produktbeschreibungen, aktuelle Produkteinführungen und einige technische Artikel, sind ebenfalls auf Deutsch, Spanisch, Französisch, Italienisch und Niederländisch erhältlich. Wählen Sie in der Liste oben Ihre Sprache aus, damit sämtliche darin verfügbaren Inhalte automatisch entsprechend Ihrer Wahl dargestellt werden. Ansonsten wird als Standardsprache Englisch verwendet.

  • English

    All content published on the CPN website is available in English. Some content – such as product descriptions, recent product launches and some technical articles – is also available in German, Spanish, French, Italian and Dutch. Choose your language from the list above and all content that is available in your language will automatically be displayed in your language, otherwise the default language will be English.

  • Español

    Todo el contenido publicado en la página web de CPN está disponible en inglés. Parte del contenido –como descripciones de producto, lanzamientos recientes de productos y algunos artículos técnicos– también están disponibles en alemán, español, francés, italiano e holandés. Elija su idioma en la lista anterior y todo el contenido que esté disponible en su idioma aparecerá automáticamente en ese idioma, o , si no, en el idioma predeterminado que es el inglés.

  • Français

    Tout le contenu publié sur le site Web de CPN existe en anglais. Une partie du contenu (comme les descriptions de produit, les lancements récents de produit et certains articles techniques) est également publié en allemand, en espagnol, en français, en italien et en néerlandais. Choisissez la langue dans la liste ci-dessus, et tout le contenu offert dans votre langue s’affiche automatiquement ; par défaut, le reste s’affiche en anglais.

  • Italiano

    Tutti i contenuti pubblicati sul sito CPN sono disponibili in inglese. Alcuni contenuti come descrizioni di prodotto, lanci di prodotti recenti e alcuni articoli tecnici sono disponibili anche in tedesco, spagnolo, francese, italiano e olandese. Seleziona la lingua dall'elenco in alto e automaticamente si visualizzeranno tutti i contenuti disponibili in quella lingua; diversamente la lingua di default sarà l’inglese.

  • Nederlands

    Alle inhoud die op de CPN-website wordt gepubliceerd, is beschikbaar in het Engels. Bepaalde inhoud, zoals productbeschrijvingen, onlangs gelanceerde producten en sommige technische artikelen, zijn ook beschikbaar in het Duits, Spaans, Frans, Italiaans en Nederlands. Kies de taal uit bovenstaande lijst, waarna alle inhoud die beschikbaar is in de gewenste taal, automatisch in die taal wordt weergegeven. Anders is Engels de standaardtaal.

Interviews

Keeping the faith, paving the path

December 2016

American photojournalist Andrew Renneisen is this year’s winner of the Ian Parry Scholarship Award for Achievement. In an exclusive interview he speaks to CPN Editor David Corfield about accolades, ambition and making the grade...

It’s been quite a year for Andrew Renneisen. The 24-year-old has won the coveted Ian Parry Scholarship, bagged himself an EOS 5D Mark IV by sponsors Canon and has set himself up in Nairobi, Kenya, for editorial clients like The New York Times, National Geographic and Getty Images. Not bad for someone who used to keep his love of photography a secret at school for fear of being branded a geek.

© Andrew Renneisen
© Andrew Renneisen

USA. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. February 9, 2014. Khayree Reid, 27, in his home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Reid grew up in southwest Philadelphia and has been shot a total of 10 times on three separate occasions. He says he still suffers physically and emotionally from the trauma experienced from the shootings. "Yeah, I owned a gun. I got caught up with it. But it's not the guns; it's the people who kill people."

But Andrew has always wanted to be a photographer and is now living a very real dream. With supportive parents and a strong moral ethic, he’s paving his own path and recalls the day he realised that capturing events with a camera was what he wanted to pursue as a profession. “My mom had a basic digital camera and I picked it up one day when we went to the zoo,” he smiles. “I really enjoyed capturing moments and started pursuing it as a hobby. In later years I was the newspaper and yearbook photographer at my high school, but that was considered pretty nerdy at the time; I didn’t tell anyone I loved it...”

As he grew up and decided on a career, he took his camera with him to Syracuse University in New York, USA. “I went in as a broadcast journalist but didn’t like it,” he reflects. “I was working on the university newspaper as a photographer in my spare time and realised that stills photography was what I wanted to do for my major, so I switched to that, much to my parents’ concern. It’s been a hell of a ride ever since.”

A love of people

Andrew’s natural empathy with people stems from a deep fascination with the human race. “Breaking down the themes of human life and trying to understand what makes people tick is what really drives me,” he explains. “To help me understand people, I absorb the works of photographers like James Nachtwey and Don McCullin in particular. These are the guys who I look up to and we should never lose sight of the incredible contribution they have made to our industry. In fact, meeting Don at the awards evening the other week was very special.”

© David Corfield
© David Corfield

Ian Parry Scholarship patron Don McCullin CBE (left) and 2016 Award for Achievement winner Andrew Renneisen (right) speak together in front of Andrew’s winning series at the Ian Parry Scholarship exhibition opening on November 8, 2016.

Andrew remembers the Ian Parry Scholarship evening vividly: “Someone grabbed me and said ‘Don McCullin is looking at your work!’ I felt this great rush in my chest, like a punch. Meeting him was so special; it was nerve-wracking but he is such a warm guy with an amazing history. My favourite image of his is the shell-shocked soldier and watching the ‘Seeking the Light’ film of him on CPN introduced me to his beautiful landscapes, too. So amazing. I was truly in awe.”

Andrew remarks that the one thing all these great photographers have in common is a singular devotion to their craft and in telling their subjects’ stories.

“If I’m researching something I want to photograph, I read as much as I can about it beforehand and talk to people who have been on the ground and covered things similar to what I want to cover,” he explains. “I like to think I have a good bullshit filter and I can look at things objectively. For me personally, you can never have enough information. You plan like crazy in advance but when you are there things always go wrong, so having a nose for something is really important, as is being aware that there might be an even bigger story out there that you hadn’t even considered.”

But covering stories these days, especially in the world’s trouble spots, requires more that just subject knowledge. It requires grit, and faith in one’s methods of self-preservation...

“You really have to take your safety seriously,” Andrew explains. “I have a flak jacket and a helmet, which are standard kit these days over and above your camera gear. Being properly trained to deal with conflict situations is really important, and I have done a couple of hostile environment training sessions which I found to be really essential when preparing to work in countries such as Somalia.”

One camera, one lens

With space always tight for equipment on the move, Andrew prefers to stick to the classic photojournalist set-up. “A full-frame DSLR and a fixed 35mm prime. That’s all I need in an ideal world. Of course I have other lenses too for when the situation demands it, such as the 24-70mm and the 70-200 f/2.8, but that 35mm lens? That’s just the best for the kind of work I like to do. I prefer to go in close and be in the moment.”

He continues: “I consider myself a pretty bad technical photographer actually and this 5D Mark IV will make me raise my game, for sure! But seriously, knowing your camera is really important. You should be able to use it with your eyes closed – in, out and backwards. I’ve used the 5D series of camera right from the start of my career so this Canon is the next logical step.”

© Andrew Renneisen
© Andrew Renneisen

USA. Camden, New Jersey. July 26, 2013. Jorge Cartagena, 11, was hit by a stray bullet two years ago on his way to a corner store in Camden. He is missing one eye and is blind in the other. Jorge is one of the many youth living in Camden affected by violence at an early age.

Andrew’s scholarship-winning portfolio was all shot in monochrome, but the medium is something he is trying to move away from. He explains: “I shot a lot of black and white early on and I’m naturally drawn to it. Sometimes it can be a cop-out, though, whereas colour adds another element, which you need to be aware of. You need to have a reason for black and white.”

“Making an image that makes you stop, or think differently about something, that’s my real aim now as I get more experienced. Being able to interact with your subject on a personal ‘human’ level is also another important quality and certainly working in New York for two years makes you get past any shyness you might have with people!”

As for what other skills make a good photographer? “Being situationally aware is a key skill,” he advises. “Knowing what you can and cannot push is really important too, and that comes with experience; you never stop learning.”

He quickly pays tribute to the other vital ingredient in a photographers’ make-up: a good picture editor. “Picture editors are a special breed,” he reflects. “A good one is someone who pushes the photographer they hire to do the best work they can and who knows their style and ethic and pushes for that in the editing process.”

“Lauren Steel at Getty [now Verbatim] has been my mentor for the last two years and she taught me to stay on the straight and narrow and kept me level-headed. I’m a bit of a romantic about stories and money and she keeps me business savvy. I really value that.”

He continues: “Sometimes I get too connected to particular images, too. You get attached to the ones that were super hard to make but sometimes they are just sh*t! Having someone who is totally removed from that image making process, and yet also understands the story, is really critically important. There has been many a time when I have suffered from that. And Lauren has always kept me objective.”

Broadening horizons

With the year drawing to a close, Andrew is taking time out to reflect on an incredible 2016 and spend a month with his family before the lure of the field starts to gnaw away at him.

“I get really antsy when I’m not working, but I needed a break for a little bit. When January comes I’ll be raring to get back on it,” he admits. “And I’m ready to do some more international work, too, which will mean moving over to East Africa which is where the stories that I want to cover are.”

© Andrew Renneisen
© Andrew Renneisen

Somalia. Barawe, October 11, 2016. A girl rests on an unused counter inside a produce market. Barawe was a stronghold for the Al-Shabaab militant group in Somalia's southern coast, but were driven out by the Somali Government and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in 2014. Al-Shabaab continues to fight in the region with counter-insurgency tactics. Somalia is on the brink of its first parliamentary elections since 1984, but issues with security and disagreements in the election process have led to delays.

He explains his rationale: “The business model where you are based in New York and work internationally is not there any more. You have to go to that country and physically live and work there. I visited Nairobi while I was just travelling and I ended getting hooked on the place. I think my work on the bigger picture of race and religion is drawing me to East Africa. I’m trying to focus on Somalia right now, in particular my long-term project ‘On the Brink’ which looks at the country’s fight for democracy, but can’t really be based there right now so Nairobi is the next best option.”

Reflecting on his Ian Parry success as he prepares for this next phase of his life, Andrew pays tribute to the people at the Scholarship who saw in him something that Ian Parry had in abundance: compassion.

“There is so much support from everyone involved in the scholarship and those connections and relationships I have started to make are amazing. It teaches me the value of giving back. I’m so grateful for this award and was a bit overwhelmed by the kindness. I just know I have some pretty big shoes to fill that have been left behind by all the other great photographers who have won in the past.”

“If I can give any advice to young photographers wanting to follow me into this business, I’d say this: don't get discouraged by what people say on the state of the industry, as it strikes me that it’s always been perilous. Find something you are very passionate about and photograph it as much as possible and don’t be scared to break rules. Focus on making bodies of work and grow with the experience it gives you.”

Biography: Andrew Renneisen

Andrew Renneisen

Andrew Renneisen is an American freelance documentary photographer based in Nairobi, Kenya focusing on issues related to race, religion, ethnicity and their role in conflict. Prior to Nairobi, Andrew attended the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, USA, with focuses in photography and information management and technology. Andrew has interned at The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Press of Atlantic City, and The Wilmington News Journal and has contributed to clients and publications such as The New York Times, National Geographic, The Washington Post, Time, Rolling Stone, Bloomberg Businessweek, Stern, Mother Jones, NBC News, and Getty Images. He has been honoured with awards from American Photography, The Hearst Foundation, College Photographer of the Year, The Alexia Foundation and most recently the 2016 Ian Parry Scholarship Award for Achievement.



Showcase

Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, April 3, 2015. A Father Tom Hagan leads the procession of the Way of the Cross ceremony as it winds through the Cite Soleil neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti on April 3, 2015. The Way of the Cross Procession is a Good Friday tradition for many Catholics worldwide.