“It was the toughest decision yet” was the unanimous feedback from the entire Pro Photographer Search Selection Committee when deciding on only six finalists. Whistler?s 4th annual Pro Photographer Search attracted over 30 action sport photographers from Canada, the US and Europe. The Committee have just announced the six finalists who will present in Whistler April 15 and 16 during the resort?s TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival (April 12-21).

The six finalists are:
Scott Serfas (Vancouver, BC)
George Marsh (Bayfield, Colorado)
Toshi Kawano (Whistler, BC, originally from Japan)
Bo Bridges (Hermosa Beach, California)
Dave Humphreys (Squamish, BC)
Ilja Herb (Pemberton, BC)

The Selection Committee, comprised of Whistler-based pro photographers and industry professionals, Greg Griffith, Kurtis Croy, Bruce Rowles, Jeannette Nadon, Leanna Rathkelly and Robin Dutcher, selected finalists based on their images alone as each photographer’s identity was concealed.

“Attention on the Search is at an all time high since the Best of Show at last year?s event, Blake Jorgenson, went on to take Best of Show at the invitational Pro Photographer Showdown two nights later,” says Catherine Yates, Multimedia Events Producer, TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival. “Judging from the calibre of photographers who entered this year’s Search, it’s proof that the event provides incredible exposure to the industry, media, athletes and potential commercial clients as well.”

This year’s Search blends seasoned pros like Serfas and Bridges with emerging artists like Herb. “It will be a phenomenal show,” assures Yates. ?All the photographers are familiar, either through attending previous years’ events, or through word of mouth, with the type of presentation that is required to win. Blake’s winning show from last year was filled with drama and artistry ? everyone was watching and will be trying to up the ante this year for sure.”

To accommodate the crowds that were turned away at last year’s Search, the event has been moved this year to the Atrium of the Whistler Conference Centre. Doors open at 8pm and the Search will begin at 9pm. Tickets are $7 and will be available at the door.

Through a random draw to determine presenting order, three photographers will present each night, with the Best of Show being named the second night. Each photographer has a maximum of 12 minutes to take the audience on a vivid journey through the eyes of their lens into the world of action sports. Set to music, each presentation inspires and moves. This year?s finalists cover a range of action sports including snowboarding, skiing, surfing, rock climbing, ice climbing and kayaking.

The Best of Show will then compete alongside industry legends at the invitational Pro Photographer Showdown on April 18. Past Showdown presenters include such action sport greats as Aaron Chang, J. Grant Brittain, Eric Berger, Scott Markewitz, Paul Morrison and Mark Shapiro. The 2002 Showdown lineup will be announced next week.

The Search has really come into its own in the last couple of years, and is no longer just a qualifying event for the Showdown,” says Yates. “It provides a venue where photographers can show the best work of their careers to date, something that an audience rarely gets to see.”

In the tradition of presenting innovative and unique events, the Pro Photography Events at the TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival were created five years ago to provide an opportunity for talented action sport photographers to get their work shown and gain valuable exposure within the industry. The Pro Photography Events are presented by SKIING, FREEZE and TRANSWORLD SNOWBOARDING magazines.