Whistler’s Pro Photog Showdown’s Stellar Line-up

Whistler, BC, February 25, 2003 ­ Organisers have just announced the line-up for the action sport photography gala event of the year ­ the 6th annual Pro Photographer Showdown, part of Whistler’s TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival. The Showdown is set for April 17th.

Three internationally renowned photographers have been invited to present a 12-minute slide show of the best work of their careers in front of a 1200+ crowd during this prestigious annual event. Each legendary in their own fields, the Showdown contenders are surf photographer Art Brewer, Swedish-based outdoors photographer Mattias Fredriksson, and skateboarding photographer Jon Humphries.

The Pro Photographer Showdown forms part of EXPOSURE ­ the culmination of the Pro Photographer Search, Pro Photographer Showdown, the Filmmaker Showdown, photographic workshops and the Whistler Photographic Society Silent Auction. Taking place during the TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival between April 14-18, the EXPOSURE events will deliver an action sport multimedia showcase like no other.

Exposure is to the action sports industry what the Sundance Film Festival is to the film industry. Exposure is a tribute to the inspiring individuals who devote many of their best days to their passion for capturing the essence of sport on film. It is through the work of these spirited artists that others can witness the beauty and see the importance of getting out there and living life to the fullest.

Brief biographies of each of the three photographers invited to the Pro Photographer Showdown:

Art Brewer, based in Dana Point, California, is renowned as one of the world’s premier surf photographers and also has had an extensive career outside the surf genre. Over his 35-year career, Art has seen his work celebrated in gallery showings and mainstream publications as diverse as Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, Esquire, and Playboy. Somehow Brewer manages to inject an overriding sense of poignancy and smart-ass fun into his portraits, bringing the beach esprit to the most landlocked denizens.

Brewer began his career as a freelance surf photographer for Surfer Magazine in the late 60s and subsequently served as staff photographer, darkroom specialist, and photo editor until the late 80s. Brewer has circled the globe countless times chasing the world’s best waves and the surfers who chase them. Over the past 30 years, Brewer has become distinguished among his peers for his role as court painter for the royalty and comrades of the global wave riding culture.

Brewer’s latest project is a book published by Surfer¹s Journal, titled Masters of Surf Photography: Art Brewer that was released last Fall. A one man show of his images from The Masters of Surf Photography: Art Brewer will open June 12, 2003 at The Earl McGrath Gallery in New York City.

Mattias Fredriksson has made a rapid rise to fame in the world of professional photography. With a natural eye and fresh perspective for composition, Fredriksson was able to capture the rarely exposed Scandinavian region in a unique and stunning way that drew immediate attention within the industry. A professional photographer since 1997, Fredriksson first started his career in the photo industry as a writer. After covering an article about the Swedish outdoor photographer Lars Thulin, he became interested in photography and over the years, made the switch from pen to camera. Working as a photo editor and associate editor for ski magazines in Sweden for four years, Fredriksson eventually became a full-time freelancer two and a half years ago. Colleagues have described him as one of the world¹s most enthusiastic professional photographers, working tirelessly in search of the ultimate picture.

With a strong passion for skiing and the outdoors, Fredriksson’s photography focuses on skiing in winter and mountain biking in the summertime. “Although I’ve been skiing since I was four years old, I pretty quickly understood that would never be a professional athlete so I found another way of living the great lifestyle that comes along with this industry.”  Fredriksson, now 28, also shoots snowboarding, white-water kayaking, running and motocross. He works with over 40 magazines throughout Scandinavia, Europe, North America and Japan, with the long list of publications including ski, snowboard, mountain bike and travel magazines.

Jon Humphries is regarded as one of the world’s most renowned and respected skateboarding photographers. He has been described by his admiring colleagues as having a “dramatic vision of the art of skateboarding”. To reach this calibre of skateboarding photography, you have to be a boarder ­ first and foremost. “I grew up skateboarding everyday, so it was natural for me when I got into photography to shoot photos of my friends skateboarding,” says Humphries, 28, who was born in Portland Oregon and now lives in Los Angeles. “Skateboarding has taught me a lot about life. I wouldn’t give it up for anything.”

Humphries started shooting photos as a junior in high school and very quickly his passion for photography turned to the black and white realm. Other than skateboarding and the culture surrounding this sport, Jon also loves to shoot portraits. “Photography has taken me around the world and opened my eyes to all sorts of new places and people. I feel very lucky to be able to do something in life that I love to do.”

Humphries has made a tremendous mark on the skateboarding culture through his published work in Transworld Skateboarding magazine. Past clients have included Adidas, Nike, Savier, The Firm, Etnies, Burton, Salomon, and Bonfire.

A fourth “wildcard” seat at the Showdown is reserved for the winner of the Festival’s Pro Photographer Search, which invites pro and amateur photographers alike to vie for six finalist spots through an open call for entries. The Search takes place April 14 and 15 in Whistler during the Festival.

“The Pro Photographer Showdown has developed into one on of the most important cornerstones of the TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival,” says Doug Perry, the Festival¹s Chairman. “Great photography has a way of touching all of us, taking us to places we have never been. We¹re honoured that these legends of photography will be in Whistler to show us the best work of their careers.” Dave Heath, Best of Show at last year’s Showdown, has been invited to present a highlight show before taking a judges seat for the remainder of the Showdown. Heath is one of the most prolific and unique action sports photographers today and his unique photographic style has long been a staple in action sports publications the world over. Heath has been playing with a 35mm camera since his teens and now at 35, he is a master of his craft, melding a gregarious approach to strangers and strange situations, with a passion for outdoor adventure.

Heath will join a prestigious panel of world-renowned photographers and photo editors to decide the Best of Show winner.

Since its inception six years ago, the Pro Photographer Showdown has attracted top talent, rave reviews and sold out crowds vying for tickets to the event. The Showdown continues to position itself as the premiere action sports visual arts experience, promoting and celebrating camaraderie among the presenters. The panel of esteemed judges will determine the winner of the single award ­ Best of Show ­ but the real honour is to be invited to participate and share the work with other great photographers

Presented by W1, Transworld Snowboarding, Freeze, Skiing magazine, and Sony, the Pro Photography events are part of Whistler¹s legendary TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival. The Pro Photographer Showdown is co-produced by Inspired Group.

Now in its 8th year, the TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival is a 10-day high-energy event fusing sports, music and visual art action, April 11-20.  The Festival highlights include: Ripzone Snowboard Invitational; free DKNY//JEANS LIVE Outdoor Concert Series; Garnier Fructis World Skiing Invitational featuring Salomon Big Air and Superpipe; RBC Olympic FanFair and RBC Rink on the Mountain; Super Demo Days; Whistler Dog Parade; Saab Salomon Crossmax Series; and the Kokanee Freeride.vitational; free DKNY//JEANS LIVE Outdoor Concert Series; Garnier Fructis World Skiing Invitational featuring Salomon Big Air and Superpipe; RBC Olympic FanFair and RBC Rink on the Mountain; Super Demo Days; Whistler Dog Parade; Saab Salomon Crossmax Series; and the Kokanee Freeride.