Who won the top prize at last night’s Deep Summer?

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Vancouver photographer and filmmaker wins $5,000 and Bonny Makarewicz Memorial Trophy

It was pretty clear from the start that Kaz Yamamura was in the running to win the 2022 Deep Summer Photo Challenge.

Primarily known these days for his video work – see ifhtfilms.com – Vancouver-based Yamamura told the massive crowd gathered at Whistler Olympic Plaza for the event on Tuesday August 9 that it was “really fun to go back to my photography the roots.”

The slideshow of his images – all shot and edited in three days – stood out for the best pairing of epic alpine images with jaw-dropping mountain bike tours. His image of a biker suspended upside down in the air between two cliffs and above a train track drew the loudest cheers of the night.

In the end, he beat out five other photographers, winning the $5,000 prize and the Bonny Makarewicz Memorial Trophy as part of the Crankworx event.

“It’s amazing,” Yamamura said. “My whole team has given up everything to help me. I am so grateful to everyone involved. I couldn’t have done it without them, that’s for sure.

The warm summer evening marked the first time in three years that crowds returned to the grass of Whistler Olympic Plaza for the event. While the format, rules and overall vibe were much the same, this year efforts were made to work better with the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Center and incorporate elements of reconciliation.

“This year we returned to Whistler with a renewed vision,” said co-host Derek Foose. “Were [working] with the SLCC for a new partnership.

To that end, each slideshow featured images from Whistler’s Community Reconciliation Canoe, a month-long project at the SLCC that invites anyone in the community to help sculpt the final canoe.

Participants were then invited to sprinkle cedar chips from the canoe on their favorite spots in Squamish or Lil’wat territory.

Whistler photographer Jeremy Allen’s slideshow, however, embodied that spirit most deeply. He and a team dressed in orange shirts took to the stage to prepare for his submission, in which he helped raise money for the Indigenous Life Sport Academy.

“At first we wanted to buy two bikes for two super awesome young athletes here,” Allen said. “We raised $8,000 and then the sponsor dropped out. Then we crowdfunded – everyone here together – and we raised $30,000. It was made possible by so many brands and people.

(They’re aiming to raise an additional $10,000. Learn more at instagram.com/thefulltimehobby.)

This slideshow featured some of the young riders who are on the program mixed with professionals. While learning the story behind the submission strengthened it, the overall presentation was also compelling in its pacing, variety, and music.

“The Deep Summer experience has been so much for me and I’m excited and thrilled to be here,” said Deep Summer contestant Steve Dan-Andrews. “I got to experience so many things, try out new features and ride some pretty awesome bikes… It was amazing to meet new pro riders and engage with this culture and with everyone. I can’t thank everyone enough for getting me to where I am today.

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