Manti photographer wins Utah Portrait competition

This portrait of Spring City actor and model Stephen Harr won Sanpete Messenger managing editor Robert Stevens first place in the 2019 Utah Photography Competition last month. The competition, which was judged by world-famous photographers Joel Rossi, pitted dozens of talented Utah photographers against each other for prizes and recognition.

Manti photographer wins Utah Portrait competition


MANTI—Award winning photographer and managing editor of the Sanpete Messenger has just earned another prestigious award for his camera skills.

Robert Stevens, 35 of Manti, entered the 2019 Utah Portrait Photography Competition and took home first place despite facing stiff competition and being judged by world-famous photographers Joel Grimes and Josh Rossi.

The winners were announced on Saturday, Aug. 30, and Stevens, who created his winning portrait with the help of local actor and model Stephen Harr of Spring City, says he is still excited about the win.

“I have won other photography awards, but this one means a lot to me,” he says. “Not because of prizes or titles, but because contest judge Joel Grimes is one of the photographers who I have learned so much from studying his style, and his opinion really matters to me.”

Grimes commented on Stevens’ winning portrait on the competition website, praising the resourceful use of the sun as an extra light source in addition to studio strobes to create the dramatic lifestyle portrait.

Entries in the competition were required to adhere to one of three themes: Weird West (the one Stevens chose), Neon Noir and Urban Fantasy.

“The nearest neon or urban setting was more than an hour’s drive away so we went with Weird West,” Stevens says. “It seemed a fitting choice for a couple of rural Utah boys. I guess the choice paid off.”

The winning shot had Harr situated in a pristine cherry-red 1970s Mercury Cougar with a black cowboy hat and a pack of cigarettes rolled in his sleeve.

“The inspiration for the shot was a little bit old Marlboro man ads,” Stevens says. “I also channeled the modern western cinema classic, ‘No Country For Old Men.’ Stephen fit the character perfectly. He really sold it and made my job that much easier so I could focus on the technical and creative aspects of the shoot. I firmly believe the shot wouldn’t have been the same without him and I have him to thank for the win in a big way.”

In addition to his work in community journalism for the Messenger, Stevens operates Beehive Imagery Studios, a photography studio based in Manti. He is also a FAA-certified commercial drone pilot.

His website can be found at http://www.beehiveimagerystudios.com.