Raw Talent 2010 – The Speech

Posted by on October 20, 2010 at 2:16 pm.

On September 12th 2010, a typically rainy Vancouver Sunday, 60 photographers rolled themselves out of bed way too early in the morning and made their way to Blenz Coffee in Yaletown. With them they brought 35mm cameras and other equipment resurrected from a state of prolonged disuse. And one of them even brought huge crates full of LEGO.

They were each handed a roll of 12 exposure 400ISO film provided by London Drugs and as they carefully loaded their cameras they waited impatiently for the first theme.

At 8am sharp the first theme, My Entry Number, was released to a mix of groans, laughs and “Whaaat??!?”s and the 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon was officially in progress. Over the next 12 hours the photographers would return to receive 11 more themes, each of which had to be interpreted and captured on the film, in order, before the film was returned for processing no later than 8pm.

What you see here today is a slice of time, a document of Vancouver as it was on one particular day a month ago. And not only how Vancouver – the city – appeared, but how its people at that particular time thought. A photograph is as much a representation of the person taking the picture as it is of the subject. It tells a story not only of what happened in front of the camera, but also behind it. No wonder even though the themes are the same, the end results are so dramatically different.

Now an event like this does not happen without some serious help from the community. And we have been lucky enough to get the support of some great companies that have made this all possible.

First off, as I mentioned, all the film, development, scans and prints were provided by London Drugs. Considering how hard it is to find film these days, and our mandate to keep entry fees as low as possible, this contribution is of pivotal importance to 12×12.

Opus Framing and Art Supplies provided not only all the boards on which the photos hang but also four amazing (and huge) canvas prints for our winners which will be revealed shortly.

As I said, Blenz Coffee in Yaletown let us invade their premises for an entire day during the actual event and they will also be showcasing the winning photos on their point-of-sale screens throughout the lower mainland.

This place we are in right now is the Vancouver Photo Workshops. Again they not only let us invade their space but also were a tremendous help in actually setting up this exhibit. In particular I’d like to single out Wayne and Dave who climbed scaffolding and ran wire for each of the boards for hours on end yesterday.

You may have spotted one of our two collectible 12×12 buttons around here today. They were created by a very cool company called Six Cent Press that is a great supporter of local events.

As for prizes the winners will walk away with some great stuff:

From Pearson Publishing we have a huge pile of great photo books.

From Beau Photo the main winners will get a gift card.

From Joby the winners get a Gorillapod Focus with the new Ballhead X attachments and we also gave away 6 Gorillapod Originals during the marathon.

The winning photos will be displayed in the Vancouver Lookout in the coming weeks to be gazed at by tourists and Vancouverites alike.

During the marathon itself we gave away door prizes from Akash Sablok of Sablok & Sablok Notaries Public and Stephen Fung from Futurelooks.com.

Let’s not forget photographer-moonlighting-as-DJ Jeremy Lim in the back of the room who is spinning the decks and bringing some groove to this evening.

Our media sponsor Vancouver Is Awesome ensured that the message got out and we got a long list of new photographers this year.

And finally event production, web services and financial backing was provided by Pink & Yellow Media (and yes, that’s Angela and myself).

Speaking of, I’d like to introduce you to the planning committee for this year’s event. It consists of Angela and Anny Chih, John Biehler, Benjamin Luk and Lesley Tetlow Stefanski who is in Australia at the moment and sends her appologies for not being here, and of course me. Now I want you to give an extra round of applause to Angela – the organizational mastermind behind this event. If it wasn’t for her organizational skills and unwavering attention to detail we would not be here today, so she deserves a lot of credit for this.

There are a couple more people I need to single out before we go upstairs. After the first 12×12 in 2009 one of the participants came up to us and asked if we wanted him to build a phone app for the event. Well, we could hardly say no to that and for this year’s event we actually had a custom 12×12 app for both Android and the iPhone. That person is Phil Wu, marathoner number 17. And to go with his app another marathoner, number 34 – Kenny Louie, created the awesome Tweet map we had running during the event which showed where people were and what they were tweeting. And like I mentioned our friend Chris Arnold all the way over in the UK developed the Live Labs Pivot collection for us to give people the ability to quickly sort through all the photos and more importantly provide a non-brain-frying method for our judges to do their job.

Speaking of judges, we had an esteemed panel of opinionated people this year. They were Erin Cebula, TV celebrity and long-time friend, Adam & Kev who though they insisted on voting as one ended up arguing like an old married couple, our very own John Biehler who represented the planning committee and last but not least VPW director Marc Koegel.

The judges deliberated for hours and the final results are on display upstairs.

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