June 11 2014 01:20 PM

A burning beard, a mini-Superman and an Instagramed dancer take top honors

Jason Bang | North Park | 'Burning of the Beard'

"Dude's beard is on fire!"

That was our general immediate reaction to Jason Bang's submission to our photo contest this year, which ended up winning first place. You're most welcome for the thoughtful analysis. We'll let the photographer explain his work:

"This is Douglas Thompsonx, who is the lead singer of The Marsupials. On the night of their 7-inch EP release party at Til-Two [Club], Doug did what he always does when the band releases new music: he lit his beard on fire during one of their songs. Doug later admitted to me that I was the first to capture this moment in all its smoky glory. While others in the audience had their eyes glued to Doug during his follicle fire, I kept my camera snapping and this is the end result. I loved this shot so much that I had new business cards made with this photo on it!"

Nice get, Jason.

Second place goes to 18-year-old Giovanni Tafoya. Her grandmother, Sylvia Granillo, submitted the photo on Tafoya's behalf, explaining in an email, "The little Superman is my grandson. His older sister Giovanni has loved Superman since she was a child. She's the one that actually took the picture, did the lighting, dressed him and made him pose. She deserves all the credit. I'm just the proud grandmother."

Well done, Giovanni.

We had a tie for third place, between Massimiliano Bertei, who submitted all the way from Rho, Italy (!), and Sean Dejecacion, an annual contest entrant (and third-place winner in 2011) whose primary subject we've watched grow over the years through his photos. Way to go, fellas.

Lastly, we added something new this year—a separate Instragram contest, in which Instagram users picked their favorites by clicking "like." PJ Ortiz Luis came out on top with an evocative dance photo.

Congratulations to all of our winners, as well as our eight honorable mentions. And many thanks to George's Camera in North Park and MacPhun Software in Del Mar for providing prizes.

Second place 
Giovanni Tafoya | Eastlake "Bratty Little Brother Thinks He's Superman" 

Third place (tie) 
Sean Dejecacion | Normal heights | Untitled

 Third place (tie)
Massimiliano Bertei | Rho, Italy | "Havana!"

Instagram winner 
PJ Ortiz Luis | Spring Valley | "Hollowback" 


 Yang Jiang | Hillcrest | "Fading Julian"

 Andrew Charles Price | Vista | "A Violent Sea"

 Emily Dayton | Hillcrest | Untitled

 Blake DeBock | Ranchos Peñasquitos | "Easy Sailing"

 Anthony Donez | Carlsbad | "Hank Sk8s"

 Brian Turner | Ranchos Peñasquitos "North Park Noodle Worship"

 Bryan Snyder | Carlsbad | "God is Awesome"

 Kelcy Gatson | Bankers Hill | "Time"


  • Visit one of the 70 participating restaurants, bars, coffeehouses and nightclubs in town on this night and 25 to 50 percent of sales will go to local HIV/AIDS services and prevention programs. 
  • Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward, who are vying to replace Todd Gloria on the San Diego City Council, will discuss urban issues, such as parking, homelessness and new developments
  • The new exhibition designed by Dave Ghilarducci is made from hundreds of rolls of packing tape and bound together by layers of plastic shrink-wrap. Visitors can navigate their way through cocoon-like passageways...
  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
  • The San Diego County Bike Coalition hosts this monthly bike-in happy hour event to get biking residents involved in their communities and discuss bike projects planned for that specific community
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • So Say We All's monthly storytelling night features stories about those jobs we took because we had to take a job. Featured readers include Allison Gauss, Annmarie Houghtailing, Cecile Estelle, and more
  • Artists from the all-abstracts group show will talk about their work and techniques. Artists include Edwin Nutting, Danielle Nelisse, Leah Pantea, Lenore Simon, and more
See all events on Thursday, Apr 28