The world’s best photographers in action and adventure sports assembled at the Museum of Mountain Photography in Italy on Wednesday to celebrate the winners of the Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2019.
The images are nothing short of spectacular, leading off with the overall winner, France’s Ben Thouard, who captured an underwater shot of surfer Ace Buchan in Teahupo’o, Tahiti, in French Polynesia.
Photos courtesy of Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2019.
Overall Winner, Image Quest 2019 © Ben Thouard / Red Bull Illume
Ben Thouard of France: “Tahiti has some of the clearest water in the world so it was easy for me to take advantage of it and explore it as much as I could. This photo was shot during a free surf session right before the WCT event in Teahupo‘o. This is Ace Buchan kicking out from the barrel through the wave, a technique to escape a close-out wave.
“Luckily, I was right below, breathless with my water housing waiting for this moment and I was able to capture the whole sequence of it; this frame from the beginning of the sequence is the most powerful one because of the water around his face and body.”
Winner, SanDisk Extreme Award © Philip Platzer / Red Bull Illume
Philip Platzer of Austria: “I took the photo for Red Bull during the V-Max Project at the Atacama Desert in Chile in 2016. The high-speed mountain biker Markus Stöckl tried to beat the world record in speed with a serial MTB – which was a success, he reached 167.6 km/h [104.2 mph]…
“To get the final result I had to do some extra work in PhotoShop: First of all I stitched the panorama, in the end it was made out of six single shots. After this I had to add the sequence, which was quite an issue because of the stitching. Everything was slightly distorted and it took some time to fit the 44 shots of Max back into the scenery.”
Winner, Salewa Trophy © Kamil Sustiak / Red Bull Illume
Kamil Sustiak of Australia: “We arrived to the line surrounded by fog so thick that we could almost not see each other. An hour passed and we could only sense the sunrise that was supposed to make this morning so special.
“I was ready to bail when all of a sudden the fog dropped just a tiny bit down into the valley and showed us what was actually going on around us. This spectacular scenery lasted for about an hour before the clouds underneath us disappeared and the world turned normal again.”
Category Winner, Creative by Skylum © Philip Platzer / Red Bull Illume
Philip Platzer of Austria: “Together with the Red Bull Skydive Team, I did this crazy Project called “Megaswing“ back in 2016. After my assignment I already knew this had to be a tricky one: Two Hot Air Balloons, one with a long rope attached and the other one to jump out with the swing, and of course the Skydiver with his parachute.
“After the first couple of jumps I realized that I wouldn’t get the perfect shot by simply shooting from the inside of the basket they were jumping out of. Lucky me, I had my monopod in the car as well as a pair of radio-triggers. My solution to get the right angle was to hold the camera, that I had attached to my monopod, as deep under the basket and just hope to get the perfect framing.
“In the end it was the very last try which gave us the money shot.”
Category Winner, Creative by Skylum © Noah Wetzel / Red Bull Illume
Noah Wetzel of the U.S.: “After weeks of preparation and creative conception, I loaded my Subaru and headed north to Wyoming for the Total Solar Eclipse in August of 2017. Arriving a couple days before the eclipse, I linked up with athletes Chris Brule, Evan Grott, and Blake Sommer. The imagery goal was to capture the Eclipse and showcase mountain biking utilizing an in-camera double exposure – a very complex process.”
Category Winner, Playground © Lorenz Holder / Red Bull Illume
Lorenz Holder of Germany: “The Ouse Valley Viaduct is pretty cool old railway bridge in the South of England. When you approach it from the side, you can‘t really see the secret this bridge has to offer, but once you get underneath of one of the arches you can‘t believe your eyes. You are caught in a place that could easily be in the movie ‘Inception.’ The arches create a very surreal visual effect – when you are taking a picture, you don‘t understand if you are looking down into something or at least you get very confused about what you‘re actually seeing. I was blown away by this fact, but also blown away that this looked like a pretty good spot for skateboarding.”
Category Winner, Masterpiece by EyeEm © Lorenz Holder / Red Bull Illume
Lorenz Holder of Germany: “The first time I saw this location was when I was watching ‘Game of Thrones’ and I was blown away by the pure magic this road generated in me. First, I thought that it‘s of course a CGI composition, but after a little research I found out that this place is actually real and located in Northern Ireland. A year later I was actually standing there with Senad Grosic and trying to get a bunny-hop-tailwhip on camera.”
Category Winner, Lifestyle © Alexander Wick / Red Bull Illume
Alexander Wick of Germany: “Together with my boys Phil and Chris I went on a U.S. West Coast climbing trip. Obviously Yosemite is a must and so we tested our very humble European crack climbing skills right away on El Capitan‘s Salathé Wall. A climb I‘ve been dreaming of for quite a while.”
Category Winner, Innovation by Sony © Laurence Crossman-Emms / Red Bull Illume
Laurence Crossman-Emms of the U.K.: “Blaenau Ffestiniog was once described as the wettest place in Wales, this is no lie. Even when the sun shines, the puddles are plentiful. I’ve always been attracted to their animations when struck by a bicycle at full steep, the tires of Katy Winton making the perfect parting of this muddy sea.”
Category Winner, Emerging by Red Bull Photography © JB Liautard / Red Bull Illume
Jean-Baptiste Liautard of France: “Two things that I love when it comes to photography are silhouettes and reflections and I wanted to use both in a single frame for a long time. After a lot of drawings, I knew what I wanted but it took me six months to get the perfect conditions and final ideas.
”Jeremy‘s trail is a piece of art and this jump is definitely a highlight.”
Category Winner, Creative by Skylum © Denis Klero / Red Bull Illume
Denis Klero of Russia: “Last year‘s trend reports have shown that as soon as the first snow starts falling the social media community bursts in excitement and instantly shares videos and photos showing the first flakes of the year. I didn‘t want to miss out on the trend and started working on a concept to show the change of seasons.
“To attract the attention of the social media world it had to be something that would make one stop and stare. Consequently, I developed an idea of a series of three main pictures with some supporting detail shots, which had to be visually strong and inherent to the world of Red Bull. This picture with Pavel is one of those.”
Category Winner, Best of Instagram by SanDisk © Baptiste Fauchille / Red Bull Illume
Baptiste Fauchille of France: “This photo was taken at the bowl of Fillinges. I remember the heat was insane like it rarely had been in the Alps. When I arrived on the spot the first thought I had in mind was to make a top-shot video with the drone: a fixed plan with a rider who makes his line with the intention of creating a loop. Then I realized that the bowl was really clean: no tags, no dust. I was able to have the rider and his shadow to come out well. I asked Alex Bibollet — one of the riders — to do what he did best, and I immortalized this moment!”
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