The Photo Shootout Gallery Tour just rocked Bend, OR’s Velvet Lounge

The Photo Shootout Gallery Tour just rocked Bend, OR’s Velvet Lounge

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I couldn’t have imagined a better closing for the inaugural Photo Shootout Gallery Tour. Last night, we invaded Bend, Oregon’s Velvet Lounge, the self-proclaimed “funky haunt,” and home to absolutely delectable cocktails (those fresh-squeezed juices [insert the hearts-for-eyes emoji here] …), New American cuisine and a rustic-chic interior, with trinkets and art galore adorning its walls of reclaimed wood. The decor is markedly Oregonian and caters to the outdoors lovers among us, complete with antler chandeliers, abundant greenery and drinks served in mason jars. As one Velvet-goer put it, the establishment attracts people “who might have stopped for a shower in between their trip from Mt. Bachelor to the bar.” True, I surmised. Collared shirts and slicked-back hair trumped any presence of tall t’s and beanies. This place was a happy blend of fancy and funky, attracting a fun-spirited, cultured crowd—just the folks we wished to connect with.

Velvet Lounge certainly embraces the art scene; every “first Friday” new works are strung or hung from the walls and rafters. Recent show-pieces included beautiful bamboo skis and snowboards produced by Bend’s Snoplanks—highly functional art, indeed. But last night, the space was stripped clean and the room was all ours. Rather, the walls belonged to the top-ranked photographers from our inaugural Photo Shootout contest. This would be the fifth and final showcasing of their works in a three-week span.

The tour, having made appearances previously in Denver, Steamboat Springs, Copper Mountain and Portland, consists of 20 blown-up photographs, free, tasty hors d’oeuvres, DJs, raffles and prizes. Perhaps the most attractive draw is the hearty fraternization among mountain folk. Hosting this tour was our way of putting the “art” in party, and simultaneously a way of saying “Thanks” and giving back to the hard-working ski photographers out there. We were thrilled to have 1,126 photographers submit imagery to our Photo Shootout contest this fall and we were excited to award $10,000 to five worthy entrants. Sharing the photogs’ work before live audiences has been a fun, unique way to put the cherry on top of what was a dramatically successful undertaking for FREESKIER.

We took no shortcuts when it came to displaying the imagery; the winning photographs (and many other great shots, too) were printed with infused dyes onto specially coated metal sheets; the metal prints take on a spectacular luminescence, and because the images are infused into the metallic surfaces and not on ’em, the archival qualities of this unique process are top-notch. Essentially, we’re working with durable, archival prints without glass. Event-goers were extremely complementary of the display — not just last night, but at each and every event.

To those who joined us last night, thanks for helping us close out the 2016 Photo Shootout and the accompanying gallery tour with a bang.

About FREESKIER’s Photo Shootout contest:

FREESKIER introduced its inaugural Photo Shootout this past fall, a web-based photo contest through which photographers could submit imagery for a chance at winning up to $10,000. With more than 4,000 photos submitted (from 1,126 photographers) it’s safe to say the contest was a smashing success. Our readers cast north of 65,000 votes for their favorite photos, helping us to narrow the vast pool of imagery down to a batch of finalists. Our esteemed judging panel then had the tough task of picking winners for categories including action, scenic, lifestyle, abstract and overall. And now, we take things one step further: As outlined above, we’re taking the winning photos on the road.

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