The Deep Winter Photo Challenge is back at Whistler Blackcomb. Six industry photographers have three days to shoot a slideshow that captures their take on Whistler. This week, Tuesday TwoSix is celebrating Deep Winter by putting the spotlight on Josh Dooley and Jesse Dawson, two of the photographers gunning for the $10, 000 prize. Both represent hard for snowboarding, and it’s a good thing– only one snowboard-centric slideshow has ever won the event. Shooting starts today, and there’s pow in the forecast. With Whistler Blackcomb coming off record breaking December snowfall Deep Winter has never looked better– knock one back with Tuesday TwoSix for the scoop.
Josh: Yeah, more or less just days on the mountain. Getting back in the groove with riders, figuring out plans for the season. But it’s been dumping here, and we’re making the most of the snow.
Jesse: I started early with Burton. We shoot new product ahead of the season, so I’ve been on a couple shoots already. Recently I was shooting at Bachelor with Ben Ferguson, we got great snow. It’s been fun!
What do you do in your day-to-day? What’s life like as a snowboard photographer?
Josh: Day-to-day I’ve been spending time riding and shooting products for brands. Electric seems to have been annual the last couple of years, it’s been great shooting their new googles lately.
Jesse: I’m pretty lucky because I work with a team of people who are always trying to tell different stories and work with riders to tell those Burton stories. Because of that, I might be flying to Europe one day or sitting at my desk editing another. It’s always changing, I love it. Social media is keeping us on our toes too, we’re always looking for content for social.
What does Deep Winter mean to you?
Josh: It’s a great opportunity to work with a team in a critical environment. With the time crunch it feels high stakes, and I know it will push me to learn a lot and try new things. I’ve been a fan of Deep Winter– I think I’ve seen the last six in a row– so it’s a bit surreal for me to be participating. One of my favourite slideshows was Chad Chomlack’s. He’s been a mentor to me so I always appreciate his work, but he put together an amazing show. Russell Dalby’s was incredible too, his focus on linework is really fun. I like the shows that have unique, creative feel rather than focusing too much on setting up big shots. It’s worth checking out previous years’ shows on YouTube.
Jesse: When I first heard about the show I was like ‘this is a brilliant, genius PR/Marketing idea by Whistler’ [laughs], but it’s really cool that it puts every photographer in the same situation at the same time. I love the fact that you can’t go find perfect light, you have to deal with what you get weather wise. It’s going to push all of us, and I can’t wait to see what the other photographers do. Like, Josh and I have the same ingredients to work with, but what he does and what I do will be completely different. I think that’s really cool.
You’re based in Vermont, and most of your competition is local. Had you met any of the other photographers before the competition?
Jesse: No, I hadn’t met any of them! I knew who everyone was, and followed some of them for sure. But one of the things I was most excited about was to come out here and meet a whole new group of people. East coast, west coast– we’re kind of far apart!
Tell me about your teams– who will you be working with?
Josh: For me it’s all local athletes, three of whom I’ve worked with since I started pursuing snowboard photography four years ago: Jesse Millen, Sam Weston, and Aaron Santos. I know their skill level, what they’re capable of doing, and that their trick selection will be good. And then we have Craig ‘GooeyLoose’, Frederique Joncas, and Gillian Andrewshenko. It’s a big group, and I’m a bit anxious about that, but not everyone is on every day so I think it will work well.
Jesse: I’m really excited about my team. I’ve got some cool stories for each day. I’m going to shoot Kate Ediger, her son, and her partner Tristan Hansen on day one. Day two I’m gonna do a Burton boys crew day, get the gang out there and let them play. Some of our younger riders like Neko Reimer, Finn Finestone are gonna come out. Along with Mikey Ciccarelli, and Carter Jarvis. On Wednesday I’m going to work with this cool artist named Jesse Gilbert– she’s a strong rider and she’s got a really cool story, so I’m excited.
Have you seen the forecast? Does it work with your vision?
Jesse: Oh yeah, every day.
Josh: 100 percent. Personally I’m stoked to work with storm conditions. Darker will help me achieve what I’ve got in my head. I’m really nervous about the temperature and the winds though, I’m thinking about what will be open and whether we’ll be able to get high enough to stay dry.
Jesse: If we get a lot of snow, it’ll be great. It’ll be Deep Winter! As to whether it works with my vision, it has to [laughs].
Josh shouts out Allie for raising their 8-month-old son with no help for the next four days, Chad Chomlack, and Cody from Electric. Jesse shouts out her Burton family, Brian Finestone, and Mirae Campbell. Check out Josh and Jesse’s slideshows at the Deep Winter Photo Challenge on January 11 at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler.