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The Winners of the 2019 Red Bull Illume Photo Contest are Here

The Winners of the 2019 Red Bull Illume Photo Contest are Here

The winners of the 5th Red Bull Illume action sports photo contest have just been announced. Just as in previous years the images are an excellent example of what the sports and adventure genres of photography are capable of. The winners were announced at a big event held at the Lumen Museum of Mountain Photography, located 7,500-feet atop Plan de Corones in South Tyrol, Italy. Eleven category winners and one overall winner were selected from a record setting total of 59,551 submitted images. Several new categories were included in this year's contest including "Best of Instagram," "Moving Image," "Emerging," and "Raw." 

The big winner of the evening was French photographer Ben Thouard who landed top honors as the Red Bull Illume Overall Winner and "Energy" winner for his beautiful underwater shot taken in Teahupo’o, Tahiti.

I've dedicated the last few years to shooting underwater, looking for new angles and a new way to shoot surfing and waves. Tahiti has some of the clearest water in the world. This photo was shot during a freesurf 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 waterhousing waiting for this moment.

The "Raw" a category attempting to reward images captured in camera and said to be "un-cropped, un-touched, no filter​​​​​​" was won by American photographer, Noah Wetzel for his spectacular image a mountain biker riding under the total solar eclipse in Teton Valley, Wyoming. My understanding is this incredible image was captured as a double exposure. 

Best of Instagram by SanDisk: Baptiste Fauchille, France, with a shot from a buddies trip with a business goal showing Alex Bibollet’s shadow in the bowl of Fillinges, France.

Creative by Skylum: Denis Klero, Russia, for his visually striking image of Paul Alekhin to celebrate the change of season in Streetfire Club, Moscow, Russia.

Emerging by Red Bull Photography: Jean-Baptiste Liautard, France, joins the big leagues with this mirrored shot of Jeremy Berthier at his trail in Bourgoin-Jallieu, France.

Innovation by Sony: Laurence Crossman-Emms, United Kingdom, takes the imagination by storm with this image of Katy Winton BMXing through a puddle at Blaenau Ffestiniog, North Wales, United Kingdom.

Lifestyle: Alexander Wick, Germany, for his tribute shot of Philipp Bankosegger, Chris Rudolph and Luke Lalor taking a nap by Salathé Wall, El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, USA.

Mastepiece by EyeEm: Lorenz Holder, Germany, for his shot of Senad Grosic flying in the magical Game of Thrones location, The Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland.

Playground: Lorenz Holder, Germany, with a shot of Vladic Scholz in the surreal Ouse Valley Viaduct, South England.

Wings: Philip Platzer, Austria, captures athlete Marco Fürst flying on an unthinkable hot air balloon swing in Fromberg, Austria.

The winning images along with all the finalists can be seen in person as part of the Red Bull Illume Exhibition Tour being showcased around the world or from the limited edition coffee table book.

All images used with permission of Red Bull.


Michael DeStefano's picture

Michael DeStefano is a commercial/editorial photographer focusing on Outdoor Lifestyle and Adventure. Based in Boston, MA he combines his passion for outdoor sports like climbing and surfing into his work. When not traveling or outdoors he is often found geeking out over new tech gadgets.

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Okay, wow. Another reminder that I'm just a mug. Thought I'd seen every possible surf photo but that one is stunning.

Every time i got serious doubts if I like the one of the "line" in the mud....

Great pictures ! I appreciate that they are not only "pure" sport images, but have aesthetic and human components.