Oh snap

Erin McKee does battle with photographer Chr!s Sm!th.

Professional photographer and graphic designer Chris Smith is inviting all local photographers—regardless of experience—to duke it out at The Ship Pub on April 14.

For one night, shutterbugs are encouraged to bring their best images to display from 6 pm on the day of the event, and from 8 o’clock on the crowd will have three hours to vote for their favourites. To ensure that participants have an equal shot at the prizes names will not be displayed on the prints themselves.

Smith calls it Battle SNAP. He says the spirit of competition will encourage people to push themselves.

“A large part of the inspiration came from Hip Hop battle culture,” he says. “Most of the top DJs and MCs cut their teeth in the battle scene. This isn’t about ego stroking. It’s about being dedicated enough to want to push yourself and to meet people with similar commitment within your craft.”

There are thousands of closet artists in this town, and he hopes this will help develop a St. John’s photo community in offering a non-traditional public space for artists to become inspired, and to get connected.

“I’m really hoping that local photographers will form new friendships and will start new projects outside of Battle SNAP,” he says. “I think it’s really important to get your art out there. It’s like any vocation. If an accountant just sits at home adding numbers over and over for no real purpose, they’re not sharing their talent with the world.”

Smith—who was recently awarded Best Photographer of the Year at the ECMAs and is well-known for his vivid shots of musicians—has two tips:

“Don’t concentrate so much on technique that you forget to shoot something that’s actually interesting,” he says. “A good photo should be able to have a conversation with the person looking at it.”

He also says not to worry too much about composing for that one shot.

“Shoot lots. Don’t worry if only one out of a hundred photos is any good,” he says. “The real question is ‘did you get it?’ And to put it in context, some National Geographic photographers shoot 15,000 to 18,000 photos to get the 12 or so that actually make it to print.”

“There’s no photographer that shoots absolute gold with every click of the shutter.”

Battle Snap St. John’s takes place Monday April 14 at the Ship Pub: www.battlesnap.com for rules and info. To check out Chris’ photos, visit www.funkfactor.com.

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