Vancouver mountain bike photographer wins Pro Photography Search at WSSF 

North Shore mountain bike photographer Sterling Lorence won the wildcard spot to the Pro Photographer Showdown this week at the World Ski and Snowboard Festival.

"It was cool to experience the cheers throughout the show," said Lorence adding it was as exciting to feel the response from the crowd as it was to win.

"I was less motivated by the competitive side of the show than I was to show 12 minutes of work in front of that many people and get their response to images.

"I've been coming to this event since its inception and it acts as inspiration in a young photographers career."

In an earlier interview Lorence said he has come to the event for years and has been waiting until he had enough meaningful images to put together a mind-blowing show.

"I would say to myself, ‘I would love to be in this one year but it is not yet,’" said Lorence, who has been capturing unique and moody freeride images on the North Shore for 10 years.

"But now another four or five years has gone by and I, for the first time, feel like its time for me to share some of my stories."

Lorence, and five other photographers from North America, were chosen out of 38 entrants to present 12-minute slide shows put to music for the Pro Photography Search which ran Monday and Tuesday night.

Thursday night Lorence’s show competed with three world famous sport action photographers for the Best of Show title in the Showdown.

Results of the Showdown were not available at press time.

There’s no doubt getting into the Showdown and winning it can launch and cement careers.

Whistler photographer Blake Jorgenson won the wild card place in 2001 and then went on to win the showdown.

"He is now one of the most recognized names in action sports photography and he is one of the first to credit the event with giving him his start," said WSSF president Doug Perry who sees the Showdown as one of the hallmark events of the festival.

"That is why we see so many photographers attracted to it now. They want that opportunity.

"For many it is incredibly difficult to be published and this provides a forum for them to show their work to very influential people in the industry."

For Lorence it is all about sharing the stories behind his pictures.

"I am going to be showing my shots including all the ones that no one ever gets to see and they almost tell more of the story sometimes," said Lorence who used 150 images in his show.

They were set to four re-mastered songs, which Lorence describes as eerie.

"A lot of my mountain biking work is shot in the North Shore and in Vancouver and it is sort of dark and spooky," he said.

"When you are riding those trails on the Shore you get a kind of spooky feeling and it’s dark and that is the kind of music I’ve gone for.

"That is the story I want to tell."

Zap Espinoza, executive director of Mountain Bike magazine, said taking part in this kind of event can boost photographers because it showcases what the sport is doing to the outside world.

"The bike riders now are doing things that any snowboarder-ski person would sit back in awe of in terms of the images they are used to seeing within their own sport."

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