Red Bull Illume is the world’s greatest adventure and action sports imagery contest. It showcases the most creative and captivating images on the planet, while illuminating the passion, lifestyle and culture behind the photographers that shoot them. In total, 47,447 images were submitted by thousands of photographers from countries all around the world. For his breathtaking image of a climber falling from a rock tower in Indian Creek, UT, USA, Will Saunders has won the Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2021.
“Dirtbag Superhero” by U.S. sports and action photographer Will Saunders Category Finalist 2021
Masterpiece by SanDisk Professional
© Will Saunders / Red Bull Illume
Saunders’s winning shot was already the category winner in the Masterpiece by SanDisk Professional category. It shows Jake Talley mid fall while climbing. Saunders explains the story behind the shot: “I've shot many whippers but this time I wanted to try something a little different. A group of us rallied out to my favorite place in the desert to get some climbing in and make some imagery along the way. I asked Jake to really shape his body into more of a powerful movement rather than the classic falling position. With grace and style, Jake pulled this shape out of the air, allowing me to capture an image that is unique compared to most of the literal climbing imagery we see.”
He adds: “His body reminded me of a superhero, which is fitting to me because most of my friends in this action sports world are my heroes. The ticket here was to just push the conceptual idea enough while also grounding the image in reality.”
Red Bull Illume is the world’s greatest adventure and action sports imagery contest. It showcases the most creative and captivating images on the planet, while illuminating the passion, lifestyle and culture behind the photographers that shoot them.
Photographer as artist, that’s the thinking for Red Bull Illume. As these incredible adventure and action sports athletes earned their place on the world’s stage, so should the people who tell their stories – the photographers who go to the most extreme lengths possible to create images that grab your eye and capture your imagination.
With the contest officially over, Red Bull Illume now hits the road as a unique global exhibit tour, kicking off with a stop in Aspen Snowmass, CO, USA, until January 2, 2022. Stay tuned for the latest updates on the European tour here.