Fri. Apr 15, 2016

You know when you see someone do something they love passionately and it makes you feel myriad emotions; uncomfortable because of their vulnerability, awe-inspired because of their courage and talent and just a bit jealous because it isn’t you – that’s the Pro Photographer Showdown. Five of the best action sports photographers from around the globe descend on Whistler to show a captive audience their life’s work, and be judged on it. I can’t imagine anything more stressful but these folks just have it, their talent speaks for itself.

Krystle Wright was the only woman competing in the 2016 Pro Photo Showdown on April 14 and did she ever represent. Krystle’s show was, in a word, majestic. She captured the realities of living the adventure lifestyle in a hauntingly moving way. Her diving photos, with a single light trained on the swimmer coming up from the depths, were just stunning – the room audibly gasped. She showed through her photos that the lifestyle takes perseverance, hard work, and guts.

Gabe L’Heureux, the Wild Card entry into the 2016 Pro Photo, hails from SoCal yet, somewhat ironically in my opinion, hates yellow. His show was a study in music pairing perfectly, silhouettes for drama, and a technical use of light and space.

Scott Rinckenberger from Seattle and Jonathan Mehring from New York both had amazing shows – John’s was so New York, gritty and dark, which was at odds with his effervescent smile. I did not envy the judges their jobs. The judging panel was stacked with renowned photogs such as Paul Morrison, Blake Jorgenson, and Eric Berger so when they chose local upstart, Jussi Grznar, it demonstrated that he had earned it.

Jussi’s show was absolutely stunning. Predominantly black and white, it was risky, but his pops of colour made the b&w that much more dramatic. His portraits were emotive and the show had a human versus nature theme that I think really resounded with the Whistler crowd. All in all, his show was beautiful AF and he deserved the Best in Show $10,000 cheque as well as the People’s Choice award.

Congrats to all of the photographers, each show could have won and to put a life’s work up for the world to see is a form of bravery few know.