Las Vegas, NV—The recently formed Imaging Alliance (IA) celebrated imaging innovation and vision on January 4, 2017. The gala awards event was held at Foundry Hall in the SLS Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.
More than 200 industry executives, photographers, investors and start-up companies paid tribute to Benjamin Von Wong, Corey Rich, Drew Geraci and James Neihouse—the 2017 recipients of IA’s Visionary Photographer Awards. Retailers Glazer’s Camera, Adorama and Best Buy were also honored for their vision and creativity in imaging retailing.
The evening started with a performance by Sony recording artists Tall Heights. The group recently released Neptune. Their first album for Sony Music Masterworks, it’s the latest step in the “ongoing evolution of their sound and style.”
Following the performance, Imaging Alliance president Jim Malcolm welcomed the crowd. He then explained the genesis of the Imaging Alliance, along with its vision for the future.
“As we enter 2017, I’m pleased to recognize the tremendous efforts made by PMDA that led to shaping the Imaging Alliance. And the role the newly formed organization is playing across the industry, including manufacturers, retailers, new tech and print services,” he said. “I thank each member company, volunteer partner and individuals whose efforts made the Imaging Alliance a reality.”
Malcolm then welcomed National Geographic’s Claudia Malley to the stage. Malley presented her company’s broad approach to imaging content, as well as new programs that are being offered to showcase the power of imaging.
Jerry Grossman, IA executive director, then spoke about the importance of philanthropy in the imaging industry and the many opportunities members have to give back through imaging.
“Among the Imaging Alliance’s deepest values has been our firm and consistent commitment to inspire our industry to give back,” Grossman said. “We recognize the responsibility we all have to not just sell products and gain profits but also to inspire people to use their talents and resources to help others.”
Grossman went on to showcase Portraits of Love, a program that offers free family portraits to military families. He also spoke about the Imaging Alliance Salutes Photographers Who Give Back. This program honors photographers who use their talents to support social causes.
Furthermore, Grossman announced a new program called Your Voice, Your Images. It is designed to extoll the virtues of positive images to address the issue of teen bullying. “We realized that so much of teen bullying starts with a picture—or a video—that is shared on social media. And maybe we, as an organization, can take action by encouraging teens to replace those negative, often hurtful images with positive images that inspire and teach valuable lessons, thereby changing the narrative on what photography should be.”
The Imaging Alliance will be launching a pilot for a school program in the spring.
Celebrating Imaging Innovation: Visionary Photographer Awards
Sony’s Neal Manowitz then introduced the first two honorees to receive Visionary Photographer Awards. “As we’ve evolved our organization into the Imaging Alliance, we’re committed to help define the future of visual innovation. And what better way to do that than to seek out photographers and videographers who are pushing the boundaries of new technologies, injecting their own brand of creativity and bringing new kinds of images to our world—many that would not have been possible even a few years ago.”
The first recipient, Benjamin Von Wong, showed a video that displayed his hyperrealistic style that captures viewers in a fusion of special effects and innovative concepts.
Corey Rich then presented his video production. Rich has worked in everything from photojournalism to documentaries, as well as high-production commercial projects for major companies. He has created outdoor lifestyle/adventure still and motion storytelling in some of the most dangerous locations on the planet.
His body of work over the last two decades proves that it is not only possible to achieve Hollywood-grade results with a “small-footprint production” model but that it often produces better, more authentic visual stories.
Celebrating Imaging Innovation: Visionary Retailer Awards
Following this, Manfrotto’s Adam Mirabella presented the Visionary Retailer Awards. “Among our first awards representing the Imaging Alliance, we wanted to turn our attention to honoring retailers that have created innovative strategies to connect with consumers. Our board of directors agreed to look at three classes of retail—national, Internet and photo specialty. We chose leaders in each discipline that fit our criteria of pushing the envelope in retail practices and using their creativity in driving the imaging category with innovative programs aimed at education and retail success.”
The first Visionary Retailer Awards went to Best Buy, who was recognized for its commitment to the imaging category with it new Camera Experience Shops that are now in 130 locations nationwide; Adorama, whose online Adorama Learning Center offers professional-grade video tutorials, online social events and AdoramaTV series, bringing an exciting focus to the imaging category; and Glazer’s Camera, which recently opened a state-of-the-art location in the heart of downtown Seattle.
“The sheer fact that the management of Glazer’s chose to invest so much in the new store, combined with their belief in the future of brick-and-mortar retailing in our industry, is an inspiration to the imaging industry,” said Mirabella.
Celebrating Imaging Innovation: Visionary Photographer Awards
Jerry Grossman returned to the stage to present the final two Visionary Photographer Awards. James Neihouse, who has worked on more than 30 IMAX films and other large formats, was given the next award. His first credit as director of photography was on the film The Eruption of Mount St. Helens, which was the first IMAX to be nominated for an Academy Award. He has contributed to some of the most successful films in the format. These include The Dream Is Alive, Space Station 3D, Hubble 3D and Ocean Oasis. His most recent project, A Beautiful Planet, was released last April.
Drew Geraci then accepted his Visionary Photographer Award. A passionate photographer/videographer, Geraci specializes in motion time-lapse photography, video production and aerial videography. He is also the owner of District 7 Media. His work, including the iconic opening sequence to Netflix’s House of Cards, displayed an amazing array of time-lapse photography that astonished the audience.
The evening ended with Jim Malcolm inviting Tall Heights back onto the stage for an encore performance. It was truly a memorable evening for the imaging industry. theimagingalliance.com