The rich layers of history and texture in Downtown Long Beach make it a photographer’s gold mine. With this in mind, The Arts Council of Long Beach and the Downtown Long Beach Alliance invite anyone with curiosity and a camera to participate in the 3rd Annual DTLB UNFILTERED Photography Contest.

Entrants are welcome to submit photographs within four categories—Architecture, Skyline, People/Places, and Environment— throughout the month of October, which is Arts Month in Long Beach.

After a thorough review of all the submissions by a panel made up of community members and photographers along with DLBA and Arts Council board members,the DTLB Unfiltered photos will go on display at Fingerprints Music. “Viewfinder” awards for photos deemed exceptional will be announced at the premiere of Unfiltered on the evening of December 14 during the 2nd Saturday Art Walk.

“If art is your thing, this is the month to take a picture,” said Griselda Suarez, Executive Director of the Arts Council of Long Beach since 2015.

Suarez is hoping that contestants will slow themselves down and do a photographic “deep dive”, finding themselves “looking through a lens and really meditating on some places and things rather than always being so fast-paced with news, phones and social media.”

Contest participants are encouraged to snap their photos while being inspired by Arts Month happenings like the 2nd Saturday East Village Art Walk and the eclectic music event Live After 5, as well as gallery openings, Arts Council mural tours and guides to public art.

A Downtown photo safari requires proper nourishment: Photographers will have plenty of culinary options in Downtown’s ever-expanding food scene, which is also a potential hunting ground for a “People/Places” photo.

“We usually get between 300 and 400 submissions,” said Suarez, whose personal and professional art history includes mural painting in East Los Angeles and the Bay Area as well as 14 years on the faculty at California State University Long Beach teaching art history, literature, writing and Chicano studies.

Entrants are advised to consult with the DTLB UNFILTERED website (see link below) about street boundaries, category definitions and technical requirements. Submissions are welcome throughout October but Suarez advised that contestants often wait until late in the month to make sure they have submitted their best efforts.

DTLB UNFILTERED is another result of the artful collaboration between the DLBA and the Arts Council.

“DLBA has been very supportive throughout my four years with the Arts Council,” Suarez said. “In conversations about having more art in DTLB they are a great sounding board and resource.”

Suarez mentioned being pleasantly surprised by the many fresh and unusual visual perspectives submitted in the previous two DTLB UNFILTERED contests.

“I think Downtown Long Beach is photogenic because it doesn’t fit a box,” said Suarez.

“It has its shoreline and its port,”she explained, “but it also has a clear connection to neighborhoods within Downtown—East Village, Willmore—which adds a very interesting layer of people and business.”

Leon Donjuan, UNFILTERED 2017“There are gathering places—public art, outdoor restaurants, and more—places to sit with community,” added Suarez. “You have the opportunity to photograph a huge bridge being built which will never appear in that state again. For me, this contest is about documenting how Long Beach is living this moment, and building its future.”