Photo Search and Showdown set to stun 

One is a former newspaper photographer who followed the surf scene to a Bali.

What: Panasonic Pro Photographer Showdown

Where: Telus Conference Centre

When: Thursday, April 22

Tickets: $25

One is a former newspaper photographer who followed the surf scene to a Bali.

One is a well known So-Cal snowboard photographer now making his name shooting lifestyles of rock ’n’ rollers.

And one is an accomplished American adventure film producer and photographer, who just caught a lucky break.

Together, the diverse crew makes up this year’s lineup for the Panasonic Pro Photographer Showdown at the Telus Whistler Ski & Snowboard Festival.

Originally a contestant in this year’s Pro Photographer Search, held two days earlier to determine the wildcard fourth entry to the Showdown, Melissa McManus was judged worthy of the vacant spot in the Showdown after snowboard photographer Trevor Graves pulled out of the invitational event at the last minute.

Winner of the 2004 Women’s Photo Challenge in Aspen, Co. earlier this year, McManus’s work has been featured in a variety of sport and lifestyle publications including Outside, Skiing Magazine, Asia World, Dandelion and People as well as international advertising campaigns for The North Face. A woman of many mediums, she has also produced award-winning adventure film series for NBC, ABC, ESPN and OLN.

She’ll be up against some intense competition from fellow Showdown exhibitors Jason Childs and Embry Rucker.

Childs’ career as a surf photographer spans two decades. He has been featured in all the major surf publications, including Surfer, where he is currently a senior photographer. Prior to that he spent 10 years as a photojournalist for The Age newspaper in Melbourne, Australia, shooting mainly sports.

Rucker recently made the move to San Diego from L.A.

A former senior photographer and editor for Transworld Snowboarding magazine, Rucker’s work has also been featured in Outside, Maxim, Sports Illustrated, Snowboarder, Frequency and the L.A. Times, and his images have represented a long list of companies, including Volcom, Quiksilver, Roxy, Billabong and Burton.

He confirmed he will be exhibiting a collection of snowboarding shots even though lately he says he’s focusing less on action sport photography and more on lifestyle and celebrity portrait photography. So far he’s worked with Jackasses Steve-O and Chris Pontius, Snoop Dogg and shot an MTV wedding feature on Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro.

"This show’s a really good opportunity to go ‘OK, I’ve reached a pinnacle in snowboard photography.’ I got invited to this awesome show and now I can kind of move on," said Rucker, who has attended previous Showdowns. He is excited to have been offered a spot, remarking self-depreciatingly that "a lot of people must have cancelled for them to invite me this year."

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