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Lisa Richardson, communications director for the festival, says organizers received a lot of really strong submissions this year, and are starting to hear of photographers who are using the Pro Photographer Showdown as a career goal, work for a few years to compile a portfolio to enter.
A selection panel eventually narrowed the submissions down to five finalists — Whistler’s Blake Jorgenson and Dan Carr, Jancsi Hadik of Switzerland, Frode Sandbech of Norway, and Medig.
“Part of the selection criteria was really to look for photos that weren’t just great images, but would string together with music to tell a story,” Richardson explained. “So the idea really is with your nine minute show, not just to show the best work of your career, but to transport people to an entirely different place.”
Audience members will embark on a journey with each of the five artists.
The event sells-out every year, and this year is no exception. Richardson isn’t sure why the event is so popular, but says she suspects it is because Whistlerites can really appreciate these depictions of mountain culture on another level.
“I think generally the people who are attracted to living here are people who have a highly honed sense of the aesthetic,” said Richardson. “We’re drawn here because certain things stop us in our tracks, so we’re willing to make certain compromises in order to be surrounded by that kind of grandeur on a daily basis.”
The show has transformed immensely since it first emerged 11 years ago, when Eric Berger and Jack Turner presented photos from a snowboard trip they made to Iran.
“People loved it, people were totally into it, so that kind of, I guess, announced to the festival organizers that there was an appetite for a cultural side to the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival,” said Richardson.
This year, while the grand prize winner will walk away with bragging rights and the $10,000 grand prize, the other four will each receive $1,500 in prize money to recognize the hard work that went into their submissions.
“It is a lot of effort,” said Richardson. “It’s not just slap a bunch of good photos together and play them.”
Now, Medig’s nine-minute multimedia presentation, featuring cultural, action and scenic shots, is set to music and is ready to go for the big event. He hopes people will be able to relate to the human side of his work, not just be wowed by intense action shots.