Sunday, August 16, 2009

Squamish Rock Festival

No this isn't a gathering of mullet fronted bands headlined by Rush, but a rather fine low key gathering of climbers in Canada. Arcteryx invited me over to do a lecture, take part in the film makers seminar and help judge the "Steep Shot" photo shoot out. The latter was great fun with 5 photographers Andrew Burr , Keith Ladzinski , Corey Richards , Susanica Tam , Sonnie Trotter competing for decent big money prizes. Each put together about 5 minutes of slides set to music and the audience being Canadian needed little encouragement to shout out appreciation of their favourite images. The level of all five was incredibly high with Keith Ladzinski, last year's winner and perhaps the most technically accomplished photographer working in climbing to day just being pipped by Andrew Burr. Burr's show was a great example of how to put together a complete show, building up a story, throwing in a few surprises and ratcheting up the emotion to a fitting end.

The thing that really got me about this event was how it brought images alive. As a snapper you often work alone or with just one or two climbers, then an editor and once published although your image is probably seen by many thousands you get almost no feedback. Here with the event held in a brew-pub the atmosphere was, shall we say, well oiled and so feedback was instant and very rowdy. It was a real example of the power of photographs. I'd love to see something like this in the UK but it would only work if the British could lose their polite inhibitions.

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