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The Face Photo Contest Winners

Grand Prize Winner Luke Burke

Laughter is Good for the Soul

I captured this image for a personal project for Black History Month. As an African American, I have always been proud of my heritage and am always finding ways to educate myself and others on the history of African Americans. And this year the project was extremely personal for me. During the process of creating this project, I was in search of a cover model for the entire project, and found Precious Enyida. She was a friend of a friend, whose parents came from Rivers State, Nigeria (near Lagos). For the shoot, she wore hand-made clothes from Lagos. With her background, I thought she was the perfect choice for this project. For the actual shoot, I tried to make the environment comfortable and light, which paid off, since I was able to capture the model laughing. And that is what I wanted to portray about African Americans…that we are loving people and enjoy fun. Technically speaking, I used an Elinchrom 500 bxri and an Impact Luxbanx Small 36-inch Octagonal Softbox and a grid. The Octobox was mounted on a C-stand, held directly above the subject to create the lighting effect.

In loving memory of Dariel Danate Reid Jr.

Second Prize Winner Pat Rose

Sophia With Roses

I made this portrait of quiet solemnity in collaboration with my lovely model, Sophia, whose interesting presence and striking beauty lent so much to the series of emotional portraits we made during our photo session. We shot in natural light at a large window in my own little pop-up studio with a simple backdrop using my Canon EOS 6D and Sigma 50mm lens. I loved shooting in natural light for our photo session on a gorgeous spring morning with a bright but cloudy Portland sky, which always makes for beautifully diffused light. For the shoot, I also used Superior Seamless background paper, a California Sunbounce Micro Mini reflector and a Lastolite collapsible reflector. For post processing, I used Lightroom and Photoshop to adjust to skin details, overall color and contrast to achieve the look of understated elegance I wanted. I also added some subtle texture to the background to lend a somewhat painterly quality to the portrait.

Third Prize Winner Greg Davis

De Otro Mundo, Oaxaca, Mexico

I’ve been working on a project on Oaxacan culture for over two years, which I hope will coincide with an exhibition I have been asked to create for the grand opening of a new museum and art center being built in Waco, Texas. This image was captured on the streets of Oaxaca City during the annual Day of the Dead festivities. It’s been said you die two deaths—one when your physical body perishes and the second when the last person who remembers you passes on. So remember: Honor your ancestors! What’s interesting about this photo is that it’s the first time I shot with a competing camera system: I happened to be on assignment down in Oaxaca, Mexico, when my Canon DSLR showed up, dead on arrival! But luckily Mexican photographer, Diego Huerta, saw my Instagram post about my dilemma, and he brought me his Nikon D850, plus several lenses. So, this image represents the first time I’ve had the opportunity to shoot with a Nikon system. Now, I love both Canon and Nikon….and Diego Huerta!

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