Winners of Downtown Long Beach Unfiltered photography contest announced at Fingerprints Music


The finalist entries of DTLB Unfiltered displayed on the walls of Fingerprints Music in downtown Long Beach on Saturday, Dec. 14.

The downtown Long Beach record store, Fingerprints Music, will be displaying 20 photos from finalists of the photography contest, Downtown Long Beach (DTLB) Unfiltered, on its walls until Jan. 5, 2020. The contest was sponsored by the Downtown Long Beach Alliance and the Arts Council for Long Beach.

A reception was held for the finalists on Saturday, Dec. 14, when the photographs first went on display in Fingerprints Music. At the end of the reception, the winner in each of the contest’s four categories was announced and given a Viewfinder Award. Guillermo Mendez won the Viewfinder Award for architecture, Alan Donaldson won the environment category, Eric Benson won in the skyline category and Ralph Llerenas won the people, places and things category.

Mendez’s winning architecture photograph captured the new Billie Jean King Main Library in downtown Long Beach. DTLB Unfiltered entries had to be taken in downtown between Oct. 1 and Oct. 31 as part of Long Beach’s involvement in Arts Month in October.

Mendez had some trouble photographing the new library due to construction and other challenges.

“So I knew that architecture was one of the categories,” Mendez told the Signal Tribune, “and I knew that the library was new. So, being that it was new, it was modern, I thought it was going to be really cool. It actually had to be a tight shot because on the side there was construction going on and on this side there was some other stuff going on. So it had to be a really tight shot and the thing is that I couldn’t be in the street. So it was really tough to get this angle. I was moving around and I finally got the right angle for it. And again, you can’t avoid people, you know, but I made it work with people. They’re part of it. There’s movement. It ended up working out really well.”

Mendez works in marketing and has been practicing photography for about 10 years. He told the Signal Tribune that the two fields complement each other due to marketing’s use of images to evoke emotions in consumers.

After the exhibit at Fingerprints Music, the 20 finalist photos will be displayed in the Downtown Long Beach Alliance’s offices for the next year.

The fifth category of Fan Favorite hasn’t been decided yet, with the vote continuing online until Jan. 5. Those who wish to view all 20 finalists and cast their vote can click here.

One of the 20 finalists on display at Fingerprints Music, Christopher Perez, recently began pursuing professional photography with his business Brevity Photography.

“I’ve actually been calling myself a photographer the past three months,” Perez told the Signal Tribune. “I’m pretty new to the whole thing. I just took some pictures here and there, kind of got some compliments like ‘Hey, that looks like a good picture., Hey, are you a photographer?’ They kind of ask those questions. So I just started to realize that I think art is kind of my thing. I’m still new to it. I’m still crafting my skill, but I think as I put these pictures out and as I get recognized, in some sense, I’m starting to officially believe that I am a photographer and owning that title.”

Perez’s DTLB Unfiltered entry showed a view of the Long Beach skyline from the Queensway Bridge in the late afternoon.

The event also featured live music by the Long Beach-based musician Lauren Wakefield, who performs songs from different genres such as soul and rock, according to her Facebook page.