Amazingly enough, none of the winning shots from this year’s Out of Bounds backcountry photography contest featured any actual skiing or snowboarding.
It’s a shift from years past, reflecting the changing tastes of viewers looking for something more than your average sport action shot, says Revelstoke photographer Zoya Lynch, who took home the top prize after the month-long competition.
“I definitely think those epic hiking shots that we keep seeing convey a lot of emotion,” says the 22-year-old shooter. “People looking at these photos can really feel connected to the effort and wild places that these people are traveling through, rather than your typical ski photo that you can open up any magazine and see.”
Lynch’s winning photo, the moody, monochromatic “Shadow Quest,” earned high praise from the panel of judges, along with the $1,000 prize. Lynch was skiing with her friends near Rogers Pass last winter when she captured the image.
“I think it captured all the criteria of the contest,” says judge and local photo guru Blake Jorgenson. “It’s a good example of a sense of place, which is a big part of photography, and a relationship with that place. It has a really good dramatic composition and good sense of the backcountry and what it’s like to be there. To be able to show that to the viewer clearly is what makes it a winner.”
Jorgenson, who was judging in his third Out of Bounds, was also impressed with the submissions from all 17 shooters from across B.C. who took part in the annual contest and exhibit at Millennium Place.
“I think the photos are getting better every year. There’s definitely a wide variety of skill levels and experience,” he says.
Visitors to the exhibit had the opportunity to vote for their favourite shot throughout the contest, with Whistler’s own Bradley Slack taking home the People’s Choice award and a two-day Backcountry Snowcats tour, for his shot “Blue Room.”
Sean St. Denis, another local boy, came up three votes behind Slack, and won an Arc’teryx jacket.
Event organizers Whistler Arts Council revealed that five of the submitted photos were sold from the exhibit.