"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.
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!"
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"