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Snap shot of best in sports action

Five finalists announced for TWSSF Pro Photographer Showdown

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By Nicole Fitzgerald

The five finalists for the 10th annual Pro Photographer Showdown get ready to go lens to lens at the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival April 18 at the Telus Conference Centre.

“The early years of the Showdown were simply our best friends shooting skiing and snowboarding,” said Jack Turner, commissioner of the Pro Photographer Showdown. “Now it’s morphed into an iconic and unique celebration of action sports — surf, skate, bike and snow.”

Americans rule the finalist roster this year with Peter Taras, Nick Hamilton and Jeff Curtes, along with Endre Lovaas of Norway and Jody Morris of Vancouver.

The fivesome will be flown to Whistler for the gala presentation that comes with a 2,000-strong crowd as well as a $10,000 cash purse for the Best in Show.

The Pro Photographer Showdown showcases the best in sports action photography with each finalist presenting a self-curated, nine-minute multimedia presentation with images choreographed to music. The showdown is kind of like having the best images of all the outdoor magazines rolled into one evening. And even more exciting, all those images that might have hit the cutting room floor axed by editors, will often make it to the screen, resulting in a very personal and passionate presentation from each photographer.

Throughout the event’s 10-year history, the Showdown has featured the likes of renowned surf photographers Aaron Chang, Jason Childs, Jeff Divine and Warren Bolster; skateboard gurus J. Grant Brittain and John Humphries; acclaimed mountain bike photographer Sterling Lorence; and ski and snowboard legends Kevin Zacher, Eric Berger, Paul Morrison and Blake Jorgenson.

The showdown has been a launching ground of greatness for many of the photographers, but most of them, as is the case with this year’s participants, are already well on their way.

Photography was in Taras’s blood from the start. His grandfather was a photographer who fought the reds and was hanged by Stalin. Taras has carried on the revolutionary tradition with cutting-edge imagery that landed him a spot as the youngest photo editor Surfing Magazine ever hired.

Lovaas also dedicates himself to the art of photography, but has no plans on quitting his day job as marketing manager and senior photographer for Fri Flyt , Norway’s biggest ski and snowboard magazine. For him, shooting action sports is about hanging with his friends. Lovaas’s resume includes credits such as Matchstick Productions sets as well as magazines around the world.

Obviously editors long to get out from behind the computer and into the field, such is the case with TransWorld Snowboarding Magazine photo editor Hamilton who loves to shoot surfing, but still can’t surf worth a damn — but he did earn TransWorld a Henry R Luce Cover of the Year special citation.

The only credit Curtes earned was a degree in political science with a single credit in photojournalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but that didn’t stop the Boulder shutter hound from landing the role of principal photographer for Burton Snowboards in 1994.

Morris is the only Canuck in the bunch. The current in-house photographer of Plan B Skateboards has enjoyed a 10-year stint as senior photographer for TransWorld SnowboardingMmagazine . The freelancer has also shot for almost every major skateboard magazine in the world as well as Men’s Fitness and various ad campaigns for DC Shoes, Etnies, Adido, Quicksilver, Nixon, Dakine and others.

The five photographers will duke it out for bragging rights. Pro Photographer Showdown tickets are now on sale for $20 at whistler2007.com.

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