Red Bull Illume is the world’s most esteemed adventure sport photography contest. Some of the world’s best extreme sports shooters gathered at the Museum of Mountain Photography in Italy on November 20 to celebrate the winners, after judges reviewed nearly 60,000 different photos that were submitted by thousands of photographers worldwide.
Every year, Red Bull Illume showcases creative and arresting photos that illuminate extreme sports’ cultures and lifestyles. This year, 2019, marks the fifth year of the competition, which added two new categories; the Best of Instagram, presented by SanDisk, and the Moving Image category, which is a video category.
The judging panel is comprised of 50 renowned photo editors and digital experts. They chose 60 finalists, 11 category winners, and one overall winner. That’s right – one overall photo was chosen as a winner, across all sports, out of 59,551 images. It’s quite a task.
Category winners and the overall winners were awarded with Sony cameras, storage solution bundles from SanDisk, and a complete Skylum Photo Editing suite. All three brands are Red Bull Illume official partners.
2019 Red Bull Illume Energy and overall winner – Ben Thouard
This surfing shot of Ace Buchan barreling through a barrel, taken by Ben Thouard took top honors. It certainly makes the viewer think about the process and how the photographer managed to nail the composition and exposure, as well as the timing, all while underwater. The Energy award is given to photographers who capture the raw energy and movement of an athlete. Congratulations to Thouard. Let’s check out the bike photos.
Raw category winner – Noah Wetzel
The Raw category celebrates the photographer’s technical skills in getting a perfect exposure. The images are completely un-cropped, un-filtered, and un-edited. Wetzel’s photo was taken during the total solar eclipse in 2017 in Teton Valley, Wyoming. Chris Bule is the rider, hitting a backlit jump.
Moving Image winner – Rupert Walker
Rupert Walker and Brandon Semenuk are the duo behind video team, Revel Co, and this video also features Ryan Howard. Howard and Semenuk intertwine down a custom built slalom line in Paso Robles, California. The video has been viewed almost half-a-million times on YouTube.
Masterpiece by EyeEm winner – Lorenz Holder
Lorenz Holder went to this tunnel of trees located in Northern Ireland to snap this image of Senad Grosic elevated on his BMX. This spot was popularized by the HBO series Game of Thrones. The Masterpiece award celebrates photos with the most artistic skill.
Innovation by Sony winner – Laurence Crossman-Emms
Laurence Crossman-Emms pulled off this shot with no fear of a muddy camera. Trek Factory Racing EWS racer Katy Winton is kicking up waves in Blaenau Ffestiniog, North United Kingdom. The Innovation by Sony award reveals a unique angle or visual idea, and celebrates the most unique placement of the frame.
Emerging by Red Bull Photography winner – JB Liautard
The Emerging award is given to photographers who are up-and-coming and are only given to shooters less than 25-years-old, emphasizing younger competitors’ unique eyes. In this shot, Jeremy Berthier throws a no-hander over a step-up on a dark night in France.
Creative by Skylum winner – Denis Klero
This shot by Denis Klero is distinct from the other images highlighted. The Creative award is given for images that have been enhanced digitally or in the darkroom. Alterations are encouraged. Klero’s shot of Pavel Alekhin on his dirt jumper in Moscow celebrates the change of season.
Best of Instagram winner by SanDisk – Baptiste Fauchille
The Best of Instagram award is given to photographers who can capture a moment that will make others stop scrolling. This one of Alex Bibollet riding a bowl on his BMX in France presents a silhouette that contrasts with his actual position. Yep, we’d have to stop scrolling for a better look, too. Congrats to Fauchille.