2018 International Print Competition Winners Announced

Congratulations to the 2018 International Print Competition winners. In August, 26 District PPA Sunset Print Award winners vied for the coveted top spot, when the judging was finished, the winners were announced:

1st Place: Leaving with Dignity – Kimberly J. Smith

2nd Place: From the Ashes – Dawn Muncy

3rd Place: Heaven’s Hands of Hope – Brian Castle

There’s always such creative diversity in the Sunset Print Award winners and 2018 was no exception. From a snowy landscape in Winter Pastel to a canine Gentle Giant to a train bringing families Home for the Holidays, the judges did not have an easy job selecting the top three images.

“From the Ashes” by Dawn Muncy – 2nd Place

For Smith, winning back-to-back titles is exciting and she’s incredibly happy that her work has such an impact on the judges, “Impact is so important. I put a lot of emotion behind the story in my images and the judges can tell,” she says. “It’s not just another pretty picture. When they see the title [of the image], I want them to brace for impact, I want them to feel something, and apparently, they did.”

Muncy describes the stages of her “competition journey” and how the third and final phase allows her to be expressive with her work: “When you get to be yourself and let your creativity flow, that’s when competition becomes powerful. I know the rules, now I want to show the world who I am.”

First-time Sunset Print Award-winner Castle also thrives on creating emotional impact through his visual storytelling.

“Heaven’s Hands of Hope” by Brian Castle – 3rd Place

“When I can give my clients an image that creates emotion and causes them to tear up, I know I’ve done my job,” he says. “I would never have learned that unless I started competing.”

Along with an engraved crystal trophy, the winners will also receive cash prizes: $2,000 for First Place, $1,000 for Second Place and $500 for Third Place. We want to thank all the participants in the 2018 Sunset Print Awards and will have information regarding the 2019 awards coming soon.

 

Prints That Win: Heaven’s Hands of Hope

LexJet Sunset Print Award winner Brian Castle of Picture Perfect Photography was destined to be a photographer. The Kingsport, Tenn., native grew up in a town that was home to Eastman Kodak.

“Heaven’s Hands of Hope” by Brian Castle

“My dad worked for Eastman Kodak and I spent time in the darkrooms, where I learned to develop film,” Castle says. His experiences in the EK darkrooms and his parents’ influence led him down the photography path. “I was in high school when I picked up my dad’s film camera. I was hooked, it was over. That’s when I knew I wanted to be a photographer.”

Since Castle started with film in a pre-digital world, he had to learn to get the shot right from the beginning. “I learned early on that I needed to set the shot I wanted and then take it, not shoot a bunch of pictures and hope for the best,” he says. “Even with digital, I still set the shot beforehand. I guess it’s because I can still hear my mom and dad saying, ‘don’t waste my film’ when I was younger.”

Castle is already inspiring his 2-year-old daughter to follow in his story-telling footsteps. “Now that I’ve given her a camera, I’m teaching her about telling a story,” he says. “It’s not about getting the perfect picture, it’s about telling someone’s story. If I didn’t do that, I didn’t do my job.”

With his PPA Southeast District award-winning image “Heaven’s Hands of Hope,” Castle did his job by telling his own story. He says that he wanted to do something different, he just didn’t know how. The idea for the photo came to him in a dream.

“I wanted to tell the story of how I turn to God when the weight of the world is too much to bear,” he says. “The hands below me are my wife’s and daughter’s and represent my Earthly family. They are the ones who lift my hands to Heaven when I don’t have the strength.”

Castle knows that the presentation of the image is just as important as the story, which is why he used lighting to create an oblong vignette, giving the appearance of praying hands behind him.  To create a mystical look and complete the ethereal feeling, he chose to print the image on LexJet Sunset Cotton Etching 285g.

While this is a very personal image for Castle, he felt that it was important for people to feel the impact of the story and understand that there is a place to turn in times of struggle. He’s had such a profound response to the image that he’s decided to make a video about the image to share the story and show people how to look for help when they need it.

Creating impact for his clients is what drives him. His motivation comes from his clients, but he’s learned the importance of impact through competition. “When I can give my clients an image that creates emotion and causes them to tear up, I know I’ve done my job,” he says. “I would never have learned that unless I started competing.”

Competitions are critical for photographers. Not just for merit, but for experience and guidance. The opportunity to improve comes with every competition and feedback provided by the judges. Castle takes the competitions seriously, not only to help him with his clients but also in hopes of reaching a personal goal: Rich Newell’s World Photographic Cup team. “When you represent Team USA, it’s like being in the Olympics of Photography. That’s the summit,” Castle says.

With continued support from his family and his faith in God, Castle feels that he will be able to climb any mountain that lies ahead of him. In the meantime, he wants to continue creating art for his clients: “I don’t want to give them just a photo for their wall. I want to give them an experience, a piece of art. I want them to feel emotion every time they look at the image.”

January Webinars with Canon and HP

Ring in 2019 with a free printer webinar. If you are looking to upgrade your equipment this year, these webinars can help you decide which printer is the best fit for your workflow.

The latex webinar is hosted by HP’s leading Latex specialist, while the Canon webinar – led by professional photographer and Canon specialist – will give you information about the full line of PRO-Series printers. Don’t forget, you will receive additional savings when you purchase a qualified printer. Space is limited, sign up today.

Canon PRO-Series Webinar: Join us Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 11 a.m. ET to learn about Canon PRO-Series printers. Attendees will receive an additional 5% off their PRO-Series printer purchase. SIGN UP NOW

HP Latex Webinar: Join us for a webinar on HP’s Latex printer technology on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 11 a.m. ET. When you attend this webinar, you’ll save $1,000 on an HP Latex 315 Print & Cut Bundle or HP Latex 335 Print & Cut Bundle; or save $3,000 on an HP Latex 560 or HP Latex 570. SIGN UP NOW

Sign up online or call one of our printer specialists at 800-453-9538 for more information.

January Rebates: Ring in the New Year with Savings

Welcome to 2019! We want you to kick off the new year with these instant and mail-in savings from Epson, HP and Canon.

Not sure which printer is right for you? Sign up for the HP Latex or Canon PRO-Series webinar and read more about how to maximize a variety of applications for aqueous, latex and solvent printers.

This month’s rebate highlights include: Save up to $2,500 on the new HP DesignJet Z6810; Canon is offering up to $600 in instant rebates on imagePROGRAF PRO-Series; or save $4,000 instantly on an Epson SureColor S-series printer.

Prints That Win: Coming Home for the Holidays

Photographic craftsman Robert Howard has been taking pictures since he was 7 years old. The Lebanon, Pa., photographer grew up in a household where his dad avidly captured family moments on Super 8 film and his mom had a Polaroid, eventually transitioning to a Kodak camera. Even his grandfather taught him to use an old Kodak Brownie. For this Sunset Print Award-winning photographer, telling a story with pictures is in his DNA.

His first camera was a Polaroid, and at that time (during the 1970s), each image was about $.50 and there were only 10 images per pack of film. Howard says that his parents didn’t want him wasting money. “50 cents a sheet was expensive back then, so my parents taught me the value of knowing and preparing my shot, understanding the exposure,” he says. “Essentially, they taught me the value of getting the shot right the first time.”

Get the Most Out of Your Aqueous Printer

Are you using your aqueous printer to its full potential? From canvas prints to temporary outdoor graphics, your aqueous printer is the utility player every profitable printshop needs. We’ve put together some applications and media suggestions to help you get the most out of your printer:

Décor: If you are considering décor applications, you may have thought an aqueous printer limited your capabilities, but, in fact, you can print plenty of décor applications, including wall art and wall murals. LexJet Sunset Select Matte Canvas is a customer favorite for photo prints or fine art reproductions. It can also be easily stretched for canvas wraps, like the GOframe system. If you are looking for wall murals, decals or window graphics, try LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric, an easy-to-use and apply option that’s forgivable and repositionable during installation. Check out our Digital Décor Printing Line Card for more aqueous options, as well as many others.

Soft Signage: One of the fastest-growing trends in the market is the transition to soft signage using fabric rather than rigid vinyl or polyester films for POP displays, banners, framed graphics and even trade show booths. The advantage to fabrics like LexJet Water-Resistant Satin Cloth or LexJet FlexTex 170g is that they are easier and lighter to ship, image nicely and can be used for indoor or temporary outdoor applications. With soft signage textiles, you’ll need some easy finishing techniques — watch this video for quick tips on using a hot knife for perfectly finished edges.

Outdoor Banners: When it comes to outdoor advertising and event signage, LexJet TOUGHcoatTM Water-Resistant Polypropylene and  TOUGHcoatTM ThriftyBanner are two of the most popular products. Both products are easy to handle, offer scratch- and water-resistance, and a bright white point which means vibrant prints, even in outdoor weather. Need more outdoor aqueous options? Check out this blog for more ideas and applications that will look great and stand up to the elements.

Still unsure how you can use your aqueous printer to expand your market offering? Call one of our specialists at 800-453-9538 or visit us at LexJet.com.