Documenting snowboard culture 

California shooter wins pic showdown

There was nothing usual about Kevin Zacher’s photography showcase at the ProPhotographer Showdown last week at the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival.

Sure there was the classic action shot with snowboarders, big air and blue skies, but lifestyle images such as telephone poles lining up a misty mountainside or riders milling about old couches and mattresses on the floor after a day on the hill were what landed this California boy his first-place win and the event’s $10,000 prize purse.

"I chose to document the culture of snowboarding," Zacher said. "They live a lifestyle of traveling the earth to find good snow. I wanted to capture that. I’ve been doing that for eight to 10 years. I got to be a fly on the wall and document that lifestyle… I wanted to take different pictures. Not just say, ‘Hey this is a snowboarder in the air,’ but instead ‘This is what is out there and what we experience.’"

Zacher participated in the 2002 Photographer Showdown, back when photographers were invited to compete, which was different from this year’s format of submitting applications to compete.

"Competing to get in: I thought that was a neat challenge this year," Zacher said. "The first time I did it, it was such an amazing experience to see so many people enjoying my photography. I wanted to try to go back and experience it again."

Zacher’s images are no stranger to action magazine junkies. The photojournalism graduate from Northern Arizona University is a senior staff photographer for Transworld Snowboarding Magazine and principal photographer for Burton Snowboards. Currently the California resident is focusing on shooting for advertising campaigns such as Hummer, American Express and Coca-Cola.

Despite his accomplishments, the Showdown continues to be a career highlight, one he shared with his two brothers and father who traveled all the way from Arizona to Whistler to watch Zacher’s presentation and victory.

"To have that many people looking at your work and getting an immediate feedback, as a magazine photographer, you never experience feedback like that," he said. "It is really one of the most rewarding nights I’ve ever had. I really want to thank Catherine Yates (event organizer), W1 and all the people who came out."

If you missed Zacher’s show, visit www.kevinzacher.com to check out his work.

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