Project Imaginat10n 2013

Its a surreal feeling to put your artwork into the world and have complete strangers respond, but its a whole new level of surreal to have one of the largest companies in the world contact you saying "Hello, your image was just selected as a winner for Project Imaginat10n by Canon & Ron Howard".  That is the phone call I received a year ago.

A year later a few of my good friends and I were to New York City to attend the premiere of Project Imaginat10n, a contest that began with the production of one beautiful short film by Bryce Dallas Howard, that later became an entire film festival producing 10 short films by celebrity and upcoming directors.  My image... along with the images of 90 other winners, was used to help inspire one of 10 films.  Below is a recap of my exciting time in New York as well as a link to the film inspired by my image!

 The Red Carpet w/ my pals! Photo by  Brad Wagner Photography  

The Red Carpet w/ my pals! Photo by Brad Wagner Photography 

My week in New York started off adventurous and spontaneous.  I didn't go with too many plans, because a past trip to the Big Apple proved that city natives tend to be very last minute and don't tend to make plans; to find opportunity I had to try things their way.  It wasn't long before I received a cool opportunity!  My friend I was staying with, Zack Ahern, interns for a well established commercial photographer Daniel Castro.  As chance would have it, they had planned a photoshoot AT Zack's house for the second day I was there!  Without hesitation I asked if I could assist, and luckily they said yes!  Not only was this the perfect opportunity to learn the ways of a NY commercial photographer, but the shoot involved photographing kids; everyone knows I love working with kids, and I had a blast entertaining them throughout the shoot (I even taught them to carve pumpkins for the first time, apparently NYC kids are often deprived of that tradition)

 Sticky Fingers by  Daniel Castro  

Sticky Fingers by Daniel Castro 

Later in the week, I also had the opportunity to take on teaching a student for an afternoon, teaching her some of the techniques I use in my images.  We had a blast moving around Washington Square and having our friends model for us.  It was a great learning experience for all involved and made me more excited to be moving more towards teaching photography.

Throughout the week, my friends and I had a blast exploring the sites of New York and partying with good friends in different Boroughs.   

 Mentoring Sesh!  Photo by Isabella Tan

Mentoring Sesh!  Photo by Isabella Tan

The highlight of the trip however, was the event that brought us all together- The Canon Project Imaginat10n Film Premiere!  On the morning of Thursday October 24th, my friends and I woke up in a fit of excitement.  We slept in to ensure we had our beauty rest...  of course... and barely past eating a late breakfast we had already begun to get ready.  I have to say, styling our hair and piecing together our final outfits was almost as fun as what the night still had in store; I even [sort of] learned how to tie a bowtie!

 Learning to tie bowties with my bud Cameron!  Photo by  Whitney Justesen  

Learning to tie bowties with my bud Cameron!  Photo by Whitney Justesen 

 Me and my gorgeous date  Whitney Justesen  !

Me and my gorgeous date Whitney Justesen !

After a movie-like ride on the subway feelin fly, we arrived at The Lincoln Center, anxious as ever to find out what the night had in store!  There were already about 100-200 individuals, winning photographers and guests alike, awaiting to enter the building.  As soon as doors opened we were greeted by none other than a wall of our photos, beautifully printed and displayed in a sort of free-hanging, magical way.  I was instantly overwhelmed with appreciation for the tireless work that the members of Grey (the agency that organized everything) had put into the evening to make us feel special.

 My photo right next to my friend  Brooke Shaden's  winning image! 

My photo right next to my friend Brooke Shaden's winning image! 

Within the hour we were greeted into the theater to finally view all 10 finalized films... films that had been inspired by our images!   All 10 directors introduced their films, and without much hesitation, we viewed all of the films subsequently.  All of the films were incredible; in fact many of the films tugged at my heart strings or blew me away. 

The best film in my opinion however [not at all biased] was the film by Julian Higgins, Here & Now, which was inspired by my image, Blue Ridge Mountains.  The moment the scene came onto the screen that had been inspired by my image, tears started running down my face.  Words could not express how meaningful it was for artwork I created to be valued so highly and to inspire another creative's process.  The emotions and interactions performed effortlessly by the actors could not have been more moving.

 My winning image v.s. scene in Here & Now by Julian Higgins. 

My winning image v.s. scene in Here & Now by Julian Higgins. 

What followed the screening of the ten images was basically a continuation of complete surreal-ness!  In the huge atrium of the Lincoln Center, the folks at grey & canon had arranged a reception of delicious dinner horderves and an open bar, along with the chance to talk to everyone responsible for creating the films and images.  I immediately had to find Julian Higgins and thank him for beautifully recreating my image, and along the way also had the chance to meet the gorgeous actors from the film.  All three were beyond incredible, kind human beings!  It felt so satisfying to meet the individuals linked to something so meaningful to me.  

From there, the evening continued to be filled with surprises, from snapping photos on the red carpet, to a swanky afterparty at a nearby hotel, to last second jumps into a cab to attend a final late night celebration at another bar.  Needless to say, attending the premiere was nothing short of a dream!

 The actors Abigail Spencer & Josh Pence, with my good friends Whitney Justesen & Peter Jamus, the models in my winning image!

The actors Abigail Spencer & Josh Pence, with my good friends Whitney Justesen & Peter Jamus, the models in my winning image!

 All the famous butts united!  Photo by  Whitney Justesen  

All the famous butts united!  Photo by Whitney Justesen 

To view the film "Here & Now", which included my image, go here: http://screen.yahoo.com/video/playlist/projectimagination-julian-higgins-here-and-now/

To view the additional 9 films by Eva Longoria, Jamie Foxx, Biz Stone, Georgina Chapman and the other directors, go here: https://www.longliveimagination.com/about#714

A HUGE thanks to everyone involved in making this experience possible for me.  Specifically:

-Whitney & Peter for modeling their beautiful butts
-Ron Howard & Canon for selecting my image as a winner
-Shannon May, Deborah Rebarber & the rest of the team at Grey for organizing this amazing event
-Julian Higgins for creating more beauty out of the beauty I got to experience and turn into an image
-All my friends, family and supporters!

<3 Rob

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