Uighurs wait at a bus stop in old Kashgar, Xinjiang Province, China, July 27, 2014.
From the series: Uighur Life Persists in Kashgar Amid Growing Tension in Restive Xinjiang ProvinceUighurs wait at a bus stop in old Kashgar, Xinjiang Province, China, July 27, 2014.Kevin Frayer—Getty Images
Uighurs wait at a bus stop in old Kashgar, Xinjiang Province, China, July 27, 2014.
A Uighur man looks at pants for sale before the Eid holiday at a night market in old Kashgar, Xinjiang Province, China, July 28, 2014 .
A Uighur couple have their first dance at their wedding celebration after being married in Kashgar, Xinjiang Province, China, on Aug. 2, 2014.
Uighur women laugh as they take care of their children at home before the Eid holiday in old Kashgar, Xinjiang Province, China, July 28, 2014.
Uighur children play with balloons on the Eid holiday in alleyway in old Kashgar, Xinjiang Province, China, July 29, 2014.
Chinese Kazakh eagle hunter Margars Mazkin, 74 years, sits with his eagle before leaving for competition in the mountains of Qinghe County, Xinjiang, northwestern China., Jan. 31, 2015.
A Chinese Kazakh eagle hunter releases his eagle during a local competition in the mountains of Qinghe County, Xinjiang, northwestern China., Jan. 31, 2015.
Spectators react as they watch a Chinese Kazakh eagle hunter, not seen, release his bird during a local competition in the mountains of Qinghe County, Xinjiang, northwestern China., Jan. 30, 2015.
Chinese Kazakh eagle hunters ride with their eagles during a local competition in the mountains of Qinghe County, Xinjiang, northwestern China, Jan. 30, 2015.
A shepherd dog leaps in the air as it protects a homestead next to a local eagle hunting competition in the mountains of Qinghe County, Xinjiang, northwestern China, Jan. 30, 2015.
Chinese drag queen who goes by the stage name Xiaoyi stands in the doorway to try to attract customers at the Chunai 98 club in Nanning, Guangxi Province, southern China, on Jan. 11, 2015.
Chinese drag queens get ready backstage before performing at the Chunai 98 club in Nanning, Guangxi Province, southern China, on January 10, 2015.
Chinese drag queen who goes by the name Shancun swings on a pole while performing a routine for customers at the Chunai 98 club in Nanning, Guangxi Province, southern China, on Jan. 10, 2015.
Chinese drag queen who goes by the name Shancun, third from left, has a drink with customers after performing at the Chunai 98 club in Nanning, Guangxi Province, southern China, on Jan. 10, 2015.
Chinese drag queen Baomei dances on stage at the Chunai 98 club in Nanning, Guangxi Province, southern China, on Jan. 11, 2015.
Tibetan Buddhists in China
Tibetan Buddhist take part in a special prayer during Monlam or the Great Prayer rituals at the Labrang Monastery, Xiahe County, Amdo, Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province, China, March 3, 2015.
Tibetan Buddhist women prostrate during Monlam or the Great Prayer rituals at the Labrang Monastery, Xiahe County, Amdo, Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province, China., March 5, 2015.
Tibetan Buddhist monks walk in a procession in the snow during Monlam or the Great Prayer rituals at the Labrang Monastery, Xiahe County, Amdo, Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province, China, March 4, 2015.
A Tibetan Buddhist man prays towards monks as they sit outside the main temple during Monlam or the Great Prayer ritualsat the Labrang Monastery, Xiahe County, Amdo, Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province, China, March 5, 2015.
From the series: Uighur Life Persists in Kashgar Amid Growing Tension in Restive Xinjiang ProvinceUighurs wait at a bus
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Kevin Frayer, Diana Markosian Win Chris Hondros Fund Awards

Apr 16, 2015

When photojournalist Chris Hondros was killed in Libya four years ago, he left behind a legacy of award-winning images that continue to inspire photographers today. “It’s the kind of work that so many of our generation of photographers would aspire to do,” says Kevin Frayer, a Canadian photojournalist. “He was prolific in his excellence.”

Today, Frayer has won the Getty Images and Chris Hondros Fund Award, which comes with a $20,000 to support his documentary work.

Established a few months after its namesake's death, the Chris Hondros Fund is designed to help advance the work of photojournalists who embrace Hondros’ legacy and vision. Frayer, who is based in China, will use the grant to continue his long term work in Asia, he tells TIME.

“Right off the bat, I would have to say it was one of the most significant phone calls I’ve received in my career,” he says of learning he had won the grant. “To win this kind of award is absolutely humbling and [I feel] honored. I admired Chris Hondros’ work and his courage. He was, for me, the consummate photojournalist, somebody that worked with an intense dedication and told stories in such a wonderful compassionate way.”

Until 18 months ago, Frayer worked as a chief photographer for the Associated Press. Today, he’s a freelance contributor for Getty Images, which, he says, allows him to go more in-depth on the issues he’s covering. “I felt that the cycle of news I was working on wasn’t necessarily [allowing me] to tell the stories I wanted to tell,” he explains. “You go to the breaking news because that’s what you’re assigned to do, and as soon as the violence ends you leave that story and, maybe, never return.”

Now, his approach is more anthropological and dedicated. “You have to keep going,” he says. “In Afghanistan, for example, we couldn’t embed with the Taliban, so we continually embedded with the NATO forces, because it’s better to see something than nothing at all. If there’s a story, you have to do something to get it.”

Of course, the $20,000 grant comes with the pressure of living up to Hondros’ name. “It will inspire me to try to do strong work in the name of the award,” says Frayer. “My goal would be to take every cent and to put it towards something that I would hope Chris Hondros would be proud of.”

 Chris Hondros Fund From the series Goodbye my ChechnyaDiana Markosian 

The Chris Hondros Fund also awarded photographer Diana Markosian, who received the organization’s first Emerging Award. The Armenian-American photographer will received a $5,000 grant.

“I met Chris as a graduate student at Columbia when he came to speak about his work,” says Markosian. “His talk [had] a real impact on me. I was a wannabe photographer. I had this dream to see the world, and I had no desire to do things the conventional way – graduate, stay in New York, work my way up the corporate ladder. Chris encouraged me to find my own way.”

Markosian, who says she is slowly finding her voice as a photographer, will use the grant money to continue her current projects. “I want to create work that is personal, that speaks to people on an intimate level, and creates a sort of experience,” she says.

Kevin Frayer is a freelance photographer represented by Getty Images.

Diana Markosian is a freelance photographer.

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