Ray Laub

"Portrait: Dr. Donald Laub at 1515 El Camino, Palo Alto"
first place Peninsula People

"The Delta Near Rio Vista, CA"
third place Views from Beyond the Peninsula

Ray Laub's first-place winning entry owes its existence to technology.

"I had just gotten a new camera, an 8-by-10, and I wanted to try it out," he said.

So his father, Dr. Donald Laub, dutifully sat in the yard of their Los Altos home for the shooting one weekend last summer. Laub asked his father to take off his glasses and, using a white reflector to brighten his subject, shot just four frames.

The results are a series of four portraits of Dr. Laub, including the extreme close-up that won first place in the Peninsula People category.

Laub also won third place in the Views from Beyond the Peninsula category, for "The Delta Near Rio Vista, CA," which was taken last summer near Highway 160 in Sacramento. Ray Laub, 36, has been interested in photography since taking a silkscreening class at Foothill College in the mid-1980s. While transferring photographic images to silkscreen, Laub was inspired to take up camera work.

A graduate of Gunn High School, Laub has a bachelor's degree in fine arts from the San Francisco Art Institute. Professionally, he works in landscape and gardening, growing palm tree seedlings for his own nursery. In his free time he photographs people and industrial landscapes.

Laub's entry in the Palo Alto Weekly's photo contest was serendipitous.

"I got the entry form in January and filed it in my bag. On the day (the entry) was due, I happened to be cleaning out my bag and found the form," he said.

The Peninsula People category immediately brought to mind the photo of his father, who is well-known as a plastic and reconstructive surgeon. Dr. Laub is also the founder of Interplast, an international medical help organization that was the subject of a documentary film that won an Academy Award this year.

Luckily, Laub had a good print of the photo on hand and managed to meet the contest deadline last month.

Laub was heartened by his success in two categories of the contest. "It's the first thing I've ever won in photography," he said. He admits his father was initially surprised to see himself depicted so starkly. "I like the photo better than my parents do, probably because it's so dramatic and close up."

Now that the photo turned out to be a winning one, Laub said, "my father wants half my prize money."

--Ingrida Berzins