Talent Recap

‘Exposure’ Crowns Winner of the Biggest Photography Competition Ever


Reading Time: 4 minutes

The photo competition of the ages comes to a close as the finale of Exposure is released today. Last week, the photographers had to show their photojournalism skills by shooting immigrant-owned businesses around Los Angeles. While photojournalism wasn’t a strong suit for any of the remaining photographers, it was Krys who saw the competition end for him. After one final week of challenges the winning photographer has been revealed.

The Final Shot- Photo of a Lifetime

In the final week of the competition, there was not a flash challenge. Instead, the three remaining photographers, Jose, Marilyn, and Tommy, were given their biggest challenge yet. They had just four hours to get out there and shoot a photo of a lifetime. A big task like this comes with even bigger tools they didn’t have during the competition.  

Without any challenge to dictate their subject or style, creative freedom was all theirs. They decide the subject, theme, and even location for their shoot. To help them out with the most important photoshoot of their lives, each was given a $7,500 budget to help buy props or anything else they might need as well as a special photo assistant of their choosing. 

Returning to the studio to help out were their former competitors Monroe, Parker, and Krys. Marilyn picked first and was already channeling his energy with her leopard print shirt, so she picked Krys. Tommy has been inspired by her work and paired himself up with Parker. Jose and Monroe paired up and now we have a New York team! 

Creating the Final Shot

Monroe, Krys, and Parker return to assist in the final challenge of "Exposure"
A photoshoot this important isn’t possible without great assistants. Enter Monroe, Krys, and Parker to lend a hand to their former competition | Credit: Hulu

The photographers’ vision and style are so different from one another. Not being limited by strict challenge rules let them create in their own way. This lead to three different concepts, styles, and executions when it came time to shoot. 

Tommy stayed true to his style while delivering a message about how we are always being watched by others. His unique vision had a surreal feeling to that concept. There was no one better to assist him on such a concept than the creative storytelling of Parker. When it came time to make post-edits, Tommy couldn’t get his vision and image to line up. The time ran out and he was disappointed entering it as his photo of a lifetime. 

Marilyn’s vision was about the struggles we all probably face. We might have vices in our life we use to escape, but we grow and can learn to face the challenges without them. With the lighting skills of Krys helping her out, they set the mood in the studio to deliver this message with authority. 

Jose being a street photographer naturally took his shoot to the streets. He was the only photographer to step outside of the studio in the final challenge. Back in his comfort zone, Jose wanted his photo to alter how people might view “the ‘hood.” A message he’s passionate about in the style he is most comfortable with would seem to be a recipe for success. 

Who Took the $250,000 Photo?

Joining the judges this week as the final guest judge was Raven B. Varona. Varona had humble beginnings shooting the underground concert scene of the Bronx, now she’s shot concert photos for some big-names in hip-hop like Jay-Z, Beyonce, and Future. Her work on Jay-Z and Beyonce’s On the Run II tour earned her a nomination for Best Tour Photographer at the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards. 

The judges were pleased that each one of the images was so unique to the photographer’s style and so personal. That did make judging the final challenge even harder. With so many differences between them, it really came down to nit-picking the details. 

Marilyn has learned to be okay with solitude and loneliness. But that needs no explanation.
Marilyn spoke to her personal growth with mental health and that’s conveyed clearly in the image. Understanding this without any context is why Marilyn was crowned the winner | Credit: Hulu

In the final decision, the judges named Marilyn the Exposure winner. The image had a few flaws judges spoke on, but she was able to translate her inspiration into the photo better than her competitors. The judges’ felt that at first glance Marilyn’s image spoke to her concept the clearest and needed no explanation to get there, making it the strongest photograph and the shot of a lifetime.

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