Prestatyn grave Ian Parry

Grave of Ian Parry (d.1989)

Photo of grave of Ian ParryIan Parry was born in 1965 and was educated at Penmorfa County Primary School and Prestatyn High School. His interest in photography developed at a young age and he learned to develop his own images in a darkroom.

Portrait of Ian ParryAfter leaving school, Ian was a trainee photographer at the Rhyl Journal newspaper before attending the National Council for the Training of Journalists at Sheffield College. Aged 21, Ian embarked on a freelance career. His work appeared in titles such as the Mail on Sunday, The Times and The Sunday Times.

In 1989 the MP for Clwyd North West, Sir Anthony Meyer, challenged incumbent Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for the leadership of the Conservative Party. Ian photographed Sir Anthony throughout the contest.

The last photo Ian Parry filed from BucharestIn December 1989 Ian was sent by the The Sunday Times to cover the revolution that was taking place in Romania. He arrived after days of unrest as civilians opposed to the Communist regime successfully ousted the country’s dictator, Nicolae Ceaușescu. Over 1,000 people died and many others were injured. Ian spent several days in the country’s capital, Bucharest, taking photos of the aftermath of the revolt.

On 28 December 1989, he left Bucharest on a transport plane destined for the Yugoslav (now Serbian) capital Belgrade to catch an onward flight to London. The plane crashed shortly after take-off, and everyone on board was killed. It’s widely acknowledged that a missile hit the plane. The lower photo, courtesy of the Ian Parry Photojournalism Grant, is the last one Ian filed from Bucharest and shows a soldier weeping at a funeral.

In 2023, former Sunday Times picture editor Aidan Sullivan, who commissioned Ian to travel to Bucharest, recalled: “He was one of the finest young emerging photographers of his generation. He had a great deal of personal discipline, which he combined with flair, imagination, and tremendous compassion.”

A month after his death, a photograph Ian took while in Romania won the Nikon Press Photograph of the Month for January 1990. In his honour a scholarship fund, the Ian Parry Photojournalism Grant, was set up to encourage and help young photographers.

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