This article summarized with permission from Canon Professional Network.

Paul Kendall spoke with Tom Stoddart about why he keeps coming to Perpignan for the international photojournalism festival – Visa pour l’Image.

“If you’re a photojournalist, Visa is something you need to build into your diary each year”, he told us. “It’s a place to come to be inspired. For some people, it can be overwhelming. They go away feeling deflated. They look at the pictures all around them and feel that they can’t reach that level. I don’t have any problem looking at great work. I never think negatively about it. I know how much blood, sweat and tears go into producing great images and I’m full of admiration.”

Just as important as seeing the work, however, is meeting the people behind it. “I’m seeing people that I only see once a year, because they’re working in one part of the world and I’m in another, and I’m feeding off them, off their energy”, Tom says. “That’s very important. It’s important to realise that we’re not alone and that we’re all insecure. Even the biggest names… they look very confident, but we all have the same insecurities, so I think you get a lot out of that. You realise you’re not alone, and it’s reassuring to know that other people have the same doubts.”

Tom is a great supporter and mentor of young photographers, especially through the Ian Parry Scholarship, which he helped to found and which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year at Visa pour l’Image with a special exhibition at the Couvent des Minimes in Perpignan.

“You see these young guys coming through, and it’s fantastic to be a part of that,” he smiles. “The scholarship has helped to launch a lot of careers. It’s very exciting, if you’re a young guy and you win it.”

And Tom’s advice to aspiring photojournalists?

“Don’t go to college. Come to Visa. And start by sitting next to people in the industry, who know how to make it work, and listen to them. A young lad from my hometown, who wants to be a photographer, is on his first visit. Within an hour of arriving, he’d met the National Geographic guys, he’d met Chris Morris, Maryanne Golon. Then he went to the screening. That’s where you should start… come here and be inspired.”

The Canon Professional Network – CPN – is the online magazine for everything Canon professional from DSLR to Film, from Printers to Network Security Cameras.

To see the whole story of Canon’s involvement in the professional world, please take a look at Canon Professional Network, the website that provides a regularly refreshed mixture of inspiration, education, product information, news updates and great images.

Read the full interview by Paul Kendall with Tom Stoddart on CPN See the latest coverage from Visa pour l’Image on Getty Images