For a quarter-century, The Electrical Worker has asked you to send in pictures that showing how we are all bound together, and then vote on your favorites.
The editors looked at hundreds of submissions and picked out just a few that we believed were visually interesting and told us something important about the Brotherhood in 2022.
Most years, there is a balance in the submissions: members at work; IBEW events, such as parades; or beautiful places with no one around, framed by transmissions lines or turbines built and maintained by IBEW members.
Not this year. Every picture selected as a finalist, and most of the ones submitted, held a member at work in its frame.
This year's finalists showed members working alone and together, in the air and underground, sometimes in stunning landscapes and sometimes in a dusty concrete cube, but always at work.
One other truth told by our finalists, and especially the winner you chose, was that the work never ends. There is no minute of the day or night when the members of the IBEW are all at rest.
Detroit Local 17 journeyman outside lineman Richard Przybylowicz (pronounced sheh-va-LO-vitch) was working the "afternoon shift" for utility DTE.
He was reporting for work at 3:30 p.m. for a 16-hour shift that didn't end until 7:30 the next morning. That's a lot of time to look at the moon.
It was one day after the full moon, called the "waning gibbous" phase.
"I'd heard somewhere that there was some kind of a weird deal with the moon that night," he said.
When he pulled up to the job — a truck had clipped a cable line, and the primary had fallen off a cross arm near Newport, Mich. — his partner, Local 17 member Jerry Tarjeft, was already up in his bucket to get an overview.
"I had my eye out for something special," Przybylowicz said. "And with the moon how it was and the field how it was, I just thought it was super cool."
He also thought capturing that scene might make his wife, Sunshine, smile. (He said she's an excellent photographer.)
It did, and it made thousands of other members of the IBEW happy, too, winning the most votes in the 25th annual Photo Contest.
"I always looked at the pictures and thought I would try and see what people think about mine," he said. "I did not see this happening."
Anchorage, Alaska, Local 1547 member Misty Thomas' photo is a study in contrasts with the winner. Where Przybylowicz's picture is a dark and mysterious meditation on the sedimentary flatlands on the coast of Lake Erie, Thomas' picture fairly glows off the Chugach range in the bright Alaskan summer sunshine.
Thomas was part of a crew from CCI Electrical Services on a multiyear runway renewal job at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. As planes buzzed above them, Thomas snapped this picturesque scene of journeyman Alex DeRocher, left, and his apprentice Cole Philips using a 10-foot stick of 2-inch rigid pipe as a cheater bar to break off a problematic and stubborn ground bushing, with Thomas' journeyman, Karl Koeneman, working next to them.
"It's something to experience when a 747 flies right overhead," Thomas said, though it must be said that for those not blessed to work in their shadow, it's the glory of the Chugach mountains looming nearby that gives this picture that something special that pushed it nearly to the top of this year's contest.
After second place's image of light and air so crisp you feel like you can see forever, third place takes us underground to a room you can smell just by looking at it.
Anyone who has been on a construction jobsite can instantly recall the familiar mix of drying concrete, cement dust and dirt in Austin, Texas, Local 520 member Corey Baum's picture.
Baum and second-generation IBEW member Byron King were running conduit through what Baum called a "no-man's-land crawlspace" where there was no room to work.
Luckily for them, and us, just nearby was a bay lit by green tinted skylights 20 feet up where King could bend pipe freestyle like he was on a stage.
Baum titled the image "Weird Bends in Strange Spaces."
Like Baum's picture, New York City Local 3 maintenance technician Victor Lopez's is perfectly framed, perfectly lit, perfectly focused on a single member deep in his work. Here, Lopez captures Local 3 journeyman electrician Lawrence Wright were doing routine maintenance on a high-voltage charger at The New York Times' printing plant in Queens.
A maintenance technician, Lopez typically works a swing shift at the plant, which operates 24/7 to print not only the Times but the New York Post, Wall Street Journal and other newspapers. Lopez began schooling himself in photography a decade ago and has become a serious hobbyist. He finds beauty in the work that fellow technicians and electricians do around the clock to keep the presses running. While most submissions come from the entirely adequate cameras on mobile phones, Lopez used a mirrorless Sony camera with a prime (non-zoom) lens, a setup ideal for low-light situations.
"I went to YouTube University," he said with a laugh. "While a good-quality phone can produce a good-quality picture, I know what I can get out of a camera." See more of Lopez's work on Instagram at @vlo20.
Orlando, Fla., Local 606 member Ryan Shea's image has striking similarities to Przybylowicz's first-place winner. The bend of the eroded sandy bank and the crane echoes the bend of the boom and bucket, and both are set off by a roof of distinctive clouds.
Shea took this picture on Sanibel Island off Florida's southwest coast where he was on storm duty after Hurricane Ian.
"How big this thing was, was amazing," Shea said of the storm. An Army veteran who also teaches part time at his local's JATC, Shea brought his Canon camera along so he could document some of the devastation. In this photo, Shea captured one of the first forays by members of Local 606 and Jacksonville, Fla., Local 177 onto Sanibel — a trip that had to be taken by barge since the only bridge to the island collapsed in the surge.