For this festival I was part of the jury. Over the weekend we went through more than 2000 images and had to narrow it down to a certain amount of finalists. This image was one of the photos that stood out and I’m happy to see it winning the first place in the Singles Category. I was curious about the story behind this photo so I’ve asked the photographer, Max Sturgeon, to tell us more.
“I don’t remember where I first came across details about a crazy bear festival in Romania but I remember right away I had to go. The annual bear parade is held every year in the town of Comanesti, Romania. In the middle of winter and middle of nowhere it’s not on any tourist circuit, in fact we had trouble even finding accurate information on the when and where online. Once I was able to somehow convince my wife this is indeed where I really wanted to spend my New Years, we hit the road.”
“We almost didn’t make it due to snow having to pull off and wait for the roads to clear enough. But once we finally arrived and the festival started it was well worth the trip. Hundreds of people, young and old took to the streets dressed in real bear furs. The bears “Dancing” to the music the bands played as they walked along with them. This particular shot was taken as the sun started to set at the end of the day as well as the parade.”
“By then alcohol was flowing freely in the street as everyone celebrated, despite the cold. For this particular shot I used the lower light, slow shutter and a wireless off camera flash to try and capture the movement in mood in the best way possible.”
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Selection of Finalists
You can see all finalists images here.
Thanks to the organisation for inviting me as a jury member, it was a pleasure!
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