Words: Jen Girardi
A photograph has the power to transport you to another place, putting you inside another landscape for a brief moment in time. Beautifully crafted images, such as those displayed at the Pro Photographer Showdown, are perfect examples. The Pro Photographer Showdown is a perennial sell-out event during the World Ski & Snowboard Festival. This year it saw the life’s work of professional Photographers Krystle Wright, Gabe L’Heureux, Scott Rinckenberger, Jonathan Mehring, and Jussi Grznar.
The show kicked off with Australian born Krystle Wright. The only female competitor, Wright, a self proclaimed Adventure Photographer, was right at home with the men– she has been shooting professionally for over ten years and her talent and style have developed beautifully. Her slideshow started off strong, drawing the crowd in with striking imagery of surfing, full commitment highlines, climbing, camping, B.A.S.E, and just the right amount of amount of balls and bums. Wright showed us a snapshot of a life we all would like to live.
Next up was Burton Staff Photograher, Gabe L’Heureux. A well know name in Whistler, L’Heureux was the wildcard entry for the show and used photos from his trips around the world, from New Zealand to Japan and beyond. L’Heureux showed everything from snowboard legends to infamous parties. With a great song choice (Norman Greenbaum’s “Sprit in the Sky”) L’Heureux truly captured the spirit of snowboarding in his show.
Jonathan Mehring brought us to the streets of New York City before transporting the audience to India, Egypt and Russia with his unique and artistic skateboard photography. Mehring captured not only technical skateboarding but also the story between the shots from stick and poke tattoos to partying on an overnight passenger train.
Scott Rinckenberger was one of the most engaging photographers on the stage and had the crowd laughing before his show started on the big screens. Drawing us in with imagery of hammock life, his photographs ranged from travel to surfing and then took us home to the mountains. Rinckenberger’s strong black and white images were emphasized by the contrast of the mountain landscapes he portrayed. Incredible shots showing the scale of big mountains and huge avalanches were a highlight of Rinckenberger’s show.
The final nine-minute slideshow of the night was from hometown hero, Jussi Grznar. Originally from the former Czecholovakia, Grznar now calls Vancouver home and is no stranger to the Whistler backcountry. Grznar was was quick to admit that he still has to work on his surfing skills, but started his show off strong with magical underwater surf imagery. He then brought the audience to India and around the world following B.A.S.E athletes before bringing it back to the mountains. Powerful black and white photographs closed out his show with landscapes and the snowboarding action shots for which Grznar is best known.
In the end, Jussi Grznar took home the Pro Photographer Showdown title, complete with an oversized cheque for $10,000 and the people’s choice award. Congratulations Jussi– we’re all looking forward to what you show us next.