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https://alphauniverseglobal.media.zestyio.com/Alpha-Universe-Best-Of-2021-Jose-Villa.be110857376e1c1dc5afaa178864837f.JPG

Best Of 2021: Our Most Meaningful Photos Of The Year, Part 4

This week we're counting down to the end of the year with a selection of photos taken by the Sony Artisans Of Imagery and Alpha Imaging Collective along with the story behind each one. See Part 4, the final of the series, below.

Photo by Jose Villa. Sony Alpha 1.

Photo by Bob Krist. Sony Alpha 7C. Sony 28mm f/2. 1/1250-sec., f/2 ISO 1600

Photo by Kesha Lambert. Sony Alpha 7R IV. Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/125-sec., f/1.4, ISO 1000

Photo by Chris Orwig. Sony Alpha 7C. Sony 50mm f/2.5 G.

Photo by Henry Tieu. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 35mm f/1.4 G Master.

Photo by Jeff Berlin. Sony FX3. Sony FE C 16-35mm lens.

Photo by Zabrina Deng. Sony Alpha 7R IV. Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/125-sec., f/2.8, ISO 64

Photo by Jermaine Horton. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/100-sec., f/8, ISO 500

Photo by Miguel-Quiles. Sony Alpha 7 IV. Sony 135mm f/1.8 G Master.

Photo by Monica Sigmon. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/160-sec., f/8, ISO 125

Photo by Paul Gero. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 135mm f/1.8 G Master. 1/200-sec., f/2, ISO 250

Alpha-Universe-Best-Of-2021-Benjamin-Lowy.jpg

Alpha-Universe-Best-Of-2021-Mike-Colo-n.jpg

As 2021 comes to a close this week, AlphaUniverse.com has been looking back at another unforgettable year in photography. We asked the Sony Artisans Of Imagery and the Alpha Imaging Collective to share their most meaningful image of the year and this week we've been counting down with a selection of photos and the story behind each one. In Part Four, the final of the series below, Artisans Of Imagery Jeff Berlin, Mike Colón, Zabrina Deng, Paul Gero, Jermaine Horton, Bob Krist, Marvi Lacar, Kesha Lambert, Ben Lowy, Chris Orwig, Monica Sigmon, Miguel Quiles, Jose Villa and Alpha Collective members and Henry Tieu share their images from 2021 and what makes each one special to them.

We asked the Sony Artisans of Imagery and the Alpha Imaging Collective to share their most meaningful image of the year.

Bob Krist

Photo by Bob Krist. Sony Alpha 7C. Sony 28mm f/2. 1/1250-sec., f/2 ISO 1600

Photo by Bob Krist. Sony Alpha 7C. Sony 28mm f/2. 1/1250-sec., f/2 ISO 1600

“This is a portrait of a lobsterman and boat builder, Willis Beal, in his shop way up in Down East, Maine. I am doing a series of short video documentaries about authentic Maine characters from a generation who will not be with us much longer. I always try to shoot a couple of still portraits to accompany the films I make. Willis doesn't like to pose and he doesn't suffer fools gladly, so he's not going to stand and pose for you indefinitely...he has boats to build and lobsters to catch. So you have to work fast...I think I got off about six frames before he just walked back into the shop.”

“I feel this image captures the soul and dignity of a generation of Mainers and Americans who will not be with us much longer, and when they are gone, it's another chapter of New England history that will be closed forever, because they are not making them like Willis anymore. I love his quiet dignity and gravitas, and I love the light.”

Kesha Lambert

Photo by Kesha Lambert. Sony Alpha 7R IV. Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/125-sec., f/1.4, ISO 1000

Photo by Kesha Lambert. Sony Alpha 7R IV. Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/125-sec., f/1.4, ISO 1000

“A portrait in celebration of Ms. Linda's 80th. After making it through the tough year that was 2020, Ms. Linda's children wanted to celebrate the matriarch of the family  with a mini makeover and a photo session. My good friend and colleague Victoria, one of Ms. Linda's daughters, commissioned me for the honor of capturing this milestone. Talk about 80th birthday goals! Ms. Linda is beautiful, charming, elegant and regal with a talent for quick, punchy one-liners. I went to their home that day to make a portrait of my friend's mom and I left feeling inspired.”

“This photo is meaningful to me because at one point in the year where burnout started to creep in, this session reminded me why I love photographing people. This portrait is a reminder to celebrate our loved ones every chance we get.”

Jose Villa

Alpha-Universe-Best-Of-2021-Jose-Villa.JPG

Photo by Jose Villa. Sony Alpha 1.

“Not only is Ivy Getty one of the more generous and thoughtful clients I have ever had, she's the most artful and best story teller. A dream come true for a wedding photographer like me. I truly felt like I was on a movie set the entire week of her wedding, even corner had a moment to be captured.”

“It’s my favorite because of the fashion, the location, the lighting, the attitude and the person behind it.”

Miguel Quiles

Photo by Miguel-Quiles. Sony Alpha 7 IV. Sony 135mm f/1.8 G Master.

Photo by Miguel-Quiles. Sony Alpha 7 IV. Sony 135mm f/1.8 G Master.

“I captured this shot while teaching at the ‘Shutterfest Glitch’ virtual conference. The morning of the event I collaborated with the makeup artist Brandi Patton to go after a look that I had achieved several years ago that I really loved.”

“This was my favorite image of the year because it made me fall in love with the idea of furthering this type of image into a series of portraits taken in a similar manner, using chainmail and interesting lighting to create a powerful portrait.”

Chris Orwig

Photo by Chris Orwig. Sony Alpha 7C. Sony 50mm f/2.5 G.

Photo by Chris Orwig. Sony Alpha 7C. Sony 50mm f/2.5 G.

“I captured this downtown Santa Barbara while walking to a new location for a shoot. It was a brief moment captured with natural light.”

“This image reminds me that sometimes, simple is best. Natural light. A small compact camera and lens and the deep connection between two souls.”

Henry Tieu

Photo by Henry Tieu. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 35mm f/1.4 G Master.

Photo by Henry Tieu. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 35mm f/1.4 G Master.

“To capture this moment, I set my camera on a tripod in order to do a long exposure to capture the light and the stars. Astrophotography is easy when you don't have a couple standing in front of it because your goal is to focus on the stars and the landscape. However, when mixing humans and stars together, I had to make sure my shutter is long enough to allow light in but not too long where my clients might get too blurry. I had to really describe the process so the couple know what is expected of them and how they can also help making sure the photos come out good.”

“I love this image a whole lot because of how the day unfolded for us. Within 24 hours before their elopement, Yosemite National Park announced that they needed to close down the road to this spot due to snow and thunderstorm. We lost our Plan A and truly didn't know if we could ever see Glacier Point and Half Dome on this trip. A day later, just hours before sunset, we learned that we now can go up to this spot. I called the couple so we all could get ready and drive up. We went from rain to the most beautiful sunset and didn't want to end there so we stayed till dark. Within just a short amount of time (relative to how a typical elopement day would be), we went with the flow and really got to witness how magical Yosemite can be. We never planned for these star photos but we got it because we all just wanted the experience of witnessing the beauty of Yosemite.

“Sometimes, unplanned moments tell such amazing and heartfelt stories. To someone who happened to see this image, they might see careful planning to get the stars and the couple. To my eloping couple and myself, this image reminds us of spontaneity.”

Paul Gero

Alpha-Universe-photo-by-Paul-Gero.jpg

Photo by Paul Gero. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 135mm f/1.8 G Master. 1/200-sec., f/2, ISO 250 

“Michael is a hurdler on the Lake Mills HS track team and I wanted to make a portrait of him at the track in a unique and powerful way. It was late, just past sunset, but by using a couple of strategically placed lights it helped shape Michael against the sky using the hurdle as a prop.”

“It is meaningful because it showcases how I want to capture my subjects.  I want to show them doing something that they love and in a way that makes it memorable and artistic.  Using lights is something that I think helps me create unique work with the goal to create an image that Michael and his family will love now as well as twenty years from now.”

Jeff Berlin

Photo by Jeff Berlin. Sony FX3. Sony FE C 16-35mm lens.

Photo by Jeff Berlin. Sony FX3. Sony FE C 16-35mm lens.

“I shot a short film on the FX3 and FX6 about a young champion boxer who lives with his father in San Diego and every day crosses the border to Tijuana, Mexico to train with his coach. He does this six days a week. The tag line in the film, which was featured on Sonycine.com and was released worldwide on all Sony Pro sites, is ‘Watch out for the quiet ones.’ Lazaro, our boxer, is quiet, humble, dedicated and hard working, as is his father. It's a great message, to work hard and stay humble.”

“The image is meaningful to me because it represents reward after years of hard work, dedication and sacrifice.”

Ben Lowy

Alpha-Universe-Best-Of-2021-Benjamin-Lowy.jpg

Photo by Ben Lowy. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 24-105mm f/4 G.

"This image was made on the U.S./Mexican border along the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo River in Texas. I spent a lot of time in this particular area this year covering migrants on their final step on long dangerous journeys to reach America. As soon as this woman reached American soil with her sister and children - she broke down crying. While their future is far from certain especially in the current political climate - these women's raw emotion to finally finishing their trek stuck with me."

"The raw, unplanned emotion from these women - upon finally arriving on American soil - struck me as genuine and so powerful in an area of politicizing immigration."

Zabrina Deng

Photo by Zabrina Deng. Sony Alpha 7R IV. Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/125-sec., f/2.8, ISO 64

Photo by Zabrina Deng. Sony Alpha 7R IV. Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/125-sec., f/2.8, ISO 64

“This photo is of models Lisa, Michelle, Sarah and Juanita at a funeral to say a final goodbye to their loved one. I purposely positioned Lisa, the model on the left holding flowers, by asking her to look up while having others look down. To represent how we process grief, some people cry, some people would be sad but not to express emotion outward, some people become the role of emotional support. Afterall, we all have to move forward and carry the bitter sweet memory with us.”

“I had a lighting assistant holding a large octa softbox diffuser mounted with off camera flash as the fill light for Lisa (the model on the left holding flowers), so her exposure would be the brightest in the frame. I used the natural sunlight as a highlight which is shining on everyone else from the side which gives a warm glow. The sprinkler at the cemetery was on, so it was perfect to use an umbrella as a prop to direct our eyes to the models in the frame. The combination of luck (the sunlight came out at the end of the day), improvisation (sprinkler) and planning (wardrobe, lighting, location scouting) involved.”

"In the past 12 months, I've lost nine family members and friends due to various reasons. Grief often creeps up to me in the most unexpected times. So I've decided to channel my grief, my way of seeking comfort from doing a fashion photoshoot in October. As if the deceased person was watching their family, their friends who would be all dressed up in the most stylish and chic outfits in black to come to her funeral to say goodbye. As if the deceased person is watching from various perspectives, with such agony and desire to say, ‘I miss you and I see you’ from their spirited self watching the entire farewell event unfold.  By doing this project, it was a closure for my grief, and to say ‘I miss you very much’ through my photos.”

Jermaine Horton

Photo by Jermaine Horton. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/100-sec., f/8, ISO 500

Photo by Jermaine Horton. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/100-sec., f/8, ISO 500

“This was a set up that my designer put together ( Wedding Whisperer Chicago) that was geared toward Christmas Minis. I used three lights – all Westcott FJ400s. I wanted to create a genuine Christmas holiday scene because my children ADORE this holiday so much.”

“It's my favorite because I'm always capturing clients and this year was so busy. I made sure to clear my schedule so I could get family photos this year of my kids for the holidays. Sometimes we are moving so fast moving and working that we forget what's most important. I wanted my children to know they are more important than anything!”

Monica Sigmon

Photo by Monica Sigmon. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/160-sec., f/8, ISO 125

Photo by Monica Sigmon. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/160-sec., f/8, ISO 125

“While we were opting for a more formal session than we have done in years past with these brothers, I still wanted an unconventional pose that could show their personalities - and also remind us that while they are getting older and maturing into young men, they aren't quite grown up yet!  I asked the big brother to take a seat and put his feet up, legs crossed, on the trunk.  I then brought the little brother forward to take the prominent position and support the chair.  I asked them both for soft smiles...I didn't want big grins because I wanted the juxtaposition of the pose and their expressions.”

“This image is particularly meaningful to me - and this family - because this is the fourth consecutive year we have photographed these brothers and while they have changed each year, it is with this session that we are really seeing the young men they are becoming.  The youngest has just become a teenager and he is often in the background, quieter and more shy than his big brother.  By putting him in the position of prominence, supporting the chair and his big brother, he got to really shine. I also love the fact that he has all the power with the chair - keep his big brother balanced, or pull the chair and watch him fall!”

Mike Colón

Alpha-Universe-Best-Of-2021-Mike-Colo-n.jpg

Photo by Mike Colón. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master. (Model: Jenn Lee, Gown: Galia Lahav, Make-up/Hair: Julian Morales)

“This shot came from a fashion campaign for the famous bridal gown designer Galia Lahav. I wanted an image with interesting leading lines that was eye-catching and unique.  I'm a huge fan of using desert backdrops for my bridal shoots because of its simplicity in tone and color.  I chose an art installation in the Palm Springs desert by Eduardo Sarabia called ‘The Passenger’ which was an arrow tip-shaped maze inspired by biblical narratives. The walls of the maze were woven 100% by hand with beautiful palm fibers.  I thought it was a perfect backdrop for Galia Lahav's gowns which are also woven by hand with countless hours of labor.”

“Rarely does a plan, no matter how well-constructed, go exactly as planned. This shoot was the exception. Even with only days to plan, everything seemed to just fall together. The one shot that I really wanted and had planned for... actually happened.. as planned. It sort of blew my mind and taught me that although it's important to be flexible in this line of work – it's also important to be intentional and specific in my vision.”

Marvi Lacar

Alpha-Universe-Best-Of-2021-Marvi-Lacar.jpg

Photo by Marvi Lacar. Sony Alpha 1

"I've been spending nights on the beach with sea turtle rescue interns who devoted their summer to caring for the kemp's Ridleys turtles, the most endangered of the sea turtles. They sleep on the beach near the nests and check for hatchlings every few hours. When the hatchlings emerge late in the evening or early morning, they quickly work to release them into the ocean as soon as possible to ensure the optimum survival."

"It was thrilling to watch the relieved rescuers, as well as the hundreds of tiny sea turtles that swam towards the sunrise. It was an honor to witness a hopeful moment where man worked towards environmental balance."

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Best Of 2021: Our Most Meaningful Photos Of The Year, Part 1

Best Of 2021: Our Most Meaningful Photos Of The Year, Part 2

Best Of 2021: Our Most Meaningful Photos Of The Year, Part 3

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