PhotoCon Hawai‘i, the world-class photography convention that not only fulfills the needs of the professional elite, but acts as a platform for photographers of all types and skill levels to connect, interact, and learn together, took place in October 2017.

Photographer Ric Noyle created this 5-day event here in Honolulu after attending dozens of PhotoCons all over the United States, meeting like-minded creatives and being introduced to new tools of the trade. “Back in the day, I used to see other photographers at photo labs, and we’d communicate that way,” Noyle says. “But today, in the digital world, we are all independent. There isn’t a lot of connectivity amongst ourselves.” World-class speakers and talent from the Aloha State came together to share, teach, and create with more than 25 workshops.

Throughout, photographers of all levels, from hobbyist to professionals, submitted images to its Essence of Hawaiʻi Photo Contest, a statewide search for the images that best exemplify the people, scenery, and culture of the islands. To reflect the current landscape of Hawai‘i, only images shot between 2016 to 2017 were eligible. The winners and finalists are published below.