elkaim-photo

Aaron Vincent Elkaim shot this photo on Jan. 29 of protesters gathered at Dundas Square in Toronto to support the protests in Egypt against President Hosni Mubarak. ((Aaron Vincent Elkaim/Canadian Press))

A freelance photographer from Toronto whose work has appeared in the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail and the National Post has been named the winner of the second annual Tom Hanson Photojournalism Award.

Aaron Vincent Elkaim was named the winner Thursday out of a strong field of hopefuls. The award is administered by The Canadian Journalism Foundation and The Canadian Press.

Most recently, Elkaim shot photos for CP of people in Yonge-Dundas square supporting the protestors in Egypt, a meeting with constituents by Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and a convoy of gigantic beer vats arriving in Toronto.

Elkaim, who was also one of the finalists in last year's inaugural competition in 2010, will join staff at The Canadian Press for a six-week internship later this year.

"This award is going to offer me an amazing opportunity to gain experience and guidance from the staff at The Canadian Press," Elkaim said. "I am very much looking forward to it."

The award was created in memory of Hanson, a renowned Canadian Press photojournalist who died suddenly in 2009 at the age of 41.

Hanson earned a reputation as a fearless and talented shooter during his 15-year career with Canada's national news agency. The award-winning photojournalist captured iconic images, ranging from scenes of tension at the Oka conflict to the backstage political machinations on Parliament Hill.

Hanson lived and worked in Ottawa, though he travelled the world several times over while on assignment, in pursuit of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan, the 2006 evacuation of Lebanon, the humanitarian crisis in Haiti and countless other stories.

One of his most celebrated photos, of a kilt-wearing bagpiper in a gas mask emerging from the protests at the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City, was named Picture of the Year in 2001 and nominated for a National Newspaper Award.   

His sudden death in March 2009 prompted his employer and the Canadian Journalism Foundation to establish the award to promote the work of aspiring photographers at the early stages of their careers.

Elkaim acknowledged the influence that Hanson has had in the industry.

"He was an inspiring photojournalist. I think it's wonderful that he can live on as a valuable role model for an emerging photojournalist like myself."   

Last year's winner Adrien Veczan spent most of his summer with The Canadian Press photo team, shooting everything from the G20 to the Pride parade to the Queen's visit.  He is now a regular contributor to The Canadian Press.