2011 Emerging Pro Winners

Digital Photo Pro Spotlights The Winners Of The
Fifth Annual Emerging Professional Photo Competition

The 5th Annual DPP Emerging Pro Competition was our best one yet. It also was our richest contest ever, with some $20,000 in cash and prizes! This year the program was sponsored by Epson, Sigma, Rogue Photographic Design and Nik Software. Without their generosity and commitment to photography, and particularly their commitment to up-and-coming photographers, this contest wouldn’t have been possible. We’re extremely grateful to all of our sponsors!

From more than 7,450 entries in the categories of Fashion & Beauty, Photojournalism & Sports and Fine Art, our distinguished judging panel determined the Grand Prize winner, as well as the First Place and Honorable Mention winners in each category. You can see the full Finalists Galleries.

The 6th Annual DPP Emerging Pro Competition is coming this fall, and we expect it to be bigger and better than ever!

Grand Prize—Fashion & Beauty
Eduardo Rezende
Eduardo Rezende
What is your age?
34.

Where are you based?
Miami, Florida.

Where did you attend school?
I learned by trying to reproduce photos in fashion magazines. I never assisted any photographer or went to school for photography so I took the hardest way.

What equipment do you use?
Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EF 24-105mm ƒ/4L IS USM, EF 85mm ƒ/1.2L USM, EF 50mm ƒ/1.2L USM, TS-E 90mm ƒ/2.8, Hasselblad H4D-40, 50-110mm ƒ/3.5-4.5 HC AF, 80mm ƒ/2.8 HC and 35mm ƒ/3.5 HC AF.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned either from a teacher or mentor?
In fashion, you must have a good team and know how to say no when you’re offered a “bad assignment.”

What do you think it takes to be successful in today’s challenging and competitive marketplace?
You need to have your style, choose the best magazines in your area, and say no for the things you don’t want to do even if the money is good.

About This Photograph:
It was made for a fashion editorial. The idea was to have a strong background with textures and colors to mix with the clothes and the model always interacting with strong attitudes. I got started doing tests for model agencies, which was a very good school, and it taught me to try different techniques, try everything, and don’t be afraid to dare. When the model isn’t so good or the clothes don’t help or the location isn’t what you were expecting, the inspiration isn’t the same. That’s why it’s so important to choose a good team! I never know what’s going to happen from day to day. Sometimes my inspiration comes from music, sometimes from art, sometimes from films.

First Place—Fashion & Beauty
Neil Norman Laroya
Neil Norman Laroya

What is your age?
26.

Where are you based?
San Francisco, California.

Where did you attend school?
I’m currently in my final semester at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

What equipment do you use?
Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EF 17-40mm ƒ/4L USM, EF 24-70mm ƒ/2.8L USM, EF 85mm ƒ/1.2L USM, EF 50mm ƒ/1.2L USM, PocketWizard Plus IIs, Sekonic L-358 light meter, Profoto lighting kits, Paul C. Buff lights, Creative Light softboxes.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned either from a teacher or mentor?
To just keep on shooting even if it’s not your best work and to make images of what you love!

What do you think it takes to be successful in today’s challenging and competitive marketplace?
Be consistent in marketing yourself and put your name out there. No one will know who you are unless you show them. Keep on shooting and joining contests like the Digital Photo Pro contest.

About This Photograph:
This image was done for my Fashion and Beauty class at the Academy of Art. I had never done a dated shoot, so I thought it would be fun to do one that involved the Victorian era. I had to rent the dress and find the right model and makeup artist. We found a furniture store that gave us the permission to shoot in, and it turned out to work well with what we were doing. Although the photo incorporates a Victorian dress, I felt like shooting it in full color and having the model do a pose like that created this interesting contrast. I find it interesting that ideas just come to you at the most random time and find it even harder when you set time to try and think of a concept. Then preparing for the shoot is an adventure because you have to scout locations and put the right team together. By the time the shoot is done and the images are refined, you feel relieved but want to start a new project again. It’s an addicting cycle.

First Place—Photo Journalism & Sports
Gabriel Romero
Gabriel Romero

What is your age?
37.

Where are you based?
Los Angeles, California.

Where did you attend school?
I’m currently finishing my Bachelor of Science in Visual Journalism at Brooks Institute. I graduate in April. This will be my second Bachelors degree. I first graduated college in 2001.

What equipment do you use?
Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EOS 7D, Canon EF 16-35mm ƒ/2.8L II USM, EF 50mm ƒ/1.2L USM, EF 70-200mm ƒ/2.8L IS II USM.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned either from a teacher or mentor?
The greatest gift that a photojournalist has is time in the field.

What do you think it takes to be successful in today’s challenging and competitive marketplace?
You have to be willing to take chances. You must be willing to do things and go places where others won’t g
o. You must live it. This isn’t a profession; it’s a lifestyle.

About This Photograph:
As a photojournalist, I believe that the cause of photojournalism elevates the art of photography to a higher level. We have the opportunity to give voices to the voiceless and to create awareness where it’s needed in the world. This image entitled “Flashpoint” was taken on March 25, 2011 in the village of Nabi Saleh on the western edge of the Palestinian West Bank. This village is a hot spot due to its proximity to the separation barrier with Israel. There are weekly clashes here between demonstrators and Israeli forces. This day was cold and rainy. My eyes were stinging, and I was half-blind due to tear gas and pepper spray while shooting the series of images that this shot came from. I was in the West Bank in March and April of 2011 reporting on clashes leading up to the UN statehood bid.

First Place—Fine Art
Sara Swaty Roger
Sara Swaty Roger

What is your age?
22.

Where are you based?
St. Louis, Missouri.

Where did you attend school?
Rochester Institute of Technology. I graduated with a BFA in Professional Photographic Illustration for Advertising.

What equipment do you use?
Canon EOS 5D Mark II, EF 50mm ƒ/1.4 USM, EF 24-70mm ƒ/2.8L USM, a Calumet Traveller lighting kit and a Metz flash. I shoot film with a Canon EOS Elan 7N.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned either from a teacher or mentor?
I’ve had amazing teachers who have taught me countless important lessons, but the biggest thing I’ve learned is to reshoot a project if you feel you didn’t accomplish what you desired or if you’re not happy with the result. You can always develop and push an idea further and try again.

What do you think it takes to be successful in today’s challenging and competitive marketplace?
You have to be willing to make sacrifices to accomplish your dream, constantly photograph to develop and refine your skill, and talk to other photographers. Challenge yourself.

About This Photograph:
I took this picture in spring of 2011, and it’s for a personal project about Gender and Material Culture. It was inspired by a variety of factors, beginning with my angst about the gender expectations and roles of women in society. From there, I began to explore the methods and ways these expectations become a part of American culture. The media plays a massive role in determining what constitutes an “ideal” woman, and the indoctrination begins early in life. This image analyzes how material culture influences young girls and boys, starting with the basic idea that pink is for girls, blue is for boys. I borrowed and purchased a variety of pink items from numerous stores and friends who are involved in a female’s life and contacted a real estate agent to photograph in this gorgeous bathroom.

People’s Choice Winners
 
Jeremy Givens
Fashion & Beauty
Jeremy Givens
Esmeralda Sanguino
Fine Art
Esmeralda Sanguino
 
Jason Lavengood
Photojournalism & Sports
Jason Lavengood

Honorable Mentions
 
Adam Regan
Adam Regan
Cheryl Molennor
Cheryl Molennor
 
Somer Ahonen
Somer Ahonen
Alex McDougall
Alex McDougall

Honorable Mentions (cont’d)
 
Jamias Vu
Jamias Vu
Jason Lavengood
Jason Lavengood
 
Steve Wallace
Steve Wallace
Araya Diaz
Araya Diaz
 
Daniel Portal
Daniel Portal

Honorable Mentions (cont’d)
 
Kevin Cook
Kevin Cook
Preston Page
Preston Page
 
Maryanne Gobble
Maryanne Gobble
ShuHui Yang
ShuHui Yang

Emerging Pro Judges

Philip Cheung
Philip Cheung is a photographer currently based in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Originally from Toronto, Canada, he relocated to the Middle East in 2007 and has worked extensively in the region on commissioned and self-initiated projects. Cheung’s work has been exhibited in galleries and festivals internationally, including The National Portrait Gallery (UK), the 2nd Lumix Festival for Young Photojournalism and the Flash Forward Festival. He was one of the featured Pros Of The Future in the September/October 2011 issue of DPP.

Greg Gorman
Greg Gorman is one of the top celebrity photographers of all time. His photography is timeless, and in each image he gives a picture of human nature in its infinite range. For more than four decades, Gorman has been a master photographer. His latest book, FRAMED Greg Gorman, for l.a.Eyeworks is a collection of his long history creating ads for l.a.Eyeworks, featuring some of the most iconic and creative people in our culture.

Stephen Mayes
Stephen Mayes is the Managing Director of VII Photo Agency. He’s a longtime veteran who has worked in photography, art and journalism. Over the past 25 years, Mayes has chaired photography competitions, curated photographic exhibitions and developed creative strategies for major commercial agencies. Mayes is known for his writing and broadcasting on the ethics and realities of photographic practice.

John Paul Caponigro
John Paul Caponigro is an internationally renowned fine artist. A contributing editor and columnist for Digital Photo Pro, and a contributing editor for Apple.com and The Huffington Post, Caponigro is the author of Adobe Photoshop Master Class and the DVD series R/Evolution. A highly sought-after lecturer, he teaches workshops around the globe.

Jonathan Blaustein
Jonathan Blaustein is a photographer, writer and educator based in Taos, N.M. His project, "The Value of a Dollar," went viral, and it has been featured by several news outlets. Blaustein received a BA from Duke University and an MFA in Photography from Pratt Institute in 2004. His photographs are in the permanent collections of the Library of Congress, the Public Collection of the State of New Mexico, the Albuquerque Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the New Mexico Museum of Art, MOPA in San Diego and the UNM Art Museum in Albuquerque.

Laura Taylor
Laura Taylor is a photographer in Los Angeles specializing in portraits and natural lighting. She was featured in the September/October 2011 issue of DPP as one of the Pros Of The Future. Taylor’s intimate portraits have garnered the attention of numerous editors and advertising clients. Moving from Georgia to New York and most recently to Southern California, Taylor is a young photographer with a very bright future.

Ryan Heffernan
A graduate of Bates College in Maine, Ryan Heffernan came to photography through his father, who’s also a commercial still-life shooter. He was featured in the September/October 2011 issue of DPP as one of the Pros Of The Future. Heffernan’s work is highly graphic and filled with tension and kinetic energy. He works extensively with Outside magazine.

Christopher Robinson
Christopher Robinson is the Photography Group Editorial Director for Werner Publishing Corporation and the editor of Digital Photo Pro and Outdoor Photographer magazines. He has more than 15 years of publishing experience. Judging the Annual Emerging Pro Competition is one of his favorite jobs.

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