A month has passed since the unveiling of the finalists and category winners of Red Bull Illume in Dublin, just long enough to get nostalgic about that truly spectacular night on August 31.
With a touch of mystery surrounding the unknown identity of the finalists, the night was all about revelations. Who were the finalists? Which photos were selected? Who would win? The photographers and judges present were as clueless as everybody else. With everyone housed in the beautiful 18th century buildings of Trinity College Dublin, the evening had an extra touch of magic about it.
The vibe of course was one of suspense, excitement, goosebumps – but also one of mutual respect. The photographers were with their peers, friends and – for some – their heroes. The Red Bull Illume 2010 Unveiling was one of the few occasions in a photographer’s career where the focus was on them.
Read the thoughts and feelings from the photographers and judges on one of the biggest nights in their careers.
Nathan Smith (Australia), Athletes’ Choice and Close Up winner
I’m dizzy from the whole experience. I’m humbled to be here and happy to have made the top 50 let alone win two awards that in my book are very prestigious. I’m in a room full of photographers who I look up to.
Stuart Gibson (Australia), Energy category winner
I’m excited, it’s great to be recognized. I think sometimes I get a bit numb from my photos sometimes, I look at them so often. When you get a different person’s point of view from it, it’s great.
THE OVERALL WINNER
Alessio Barbanti (Italy) finalist in Energy category
It must have been really hard for the judges, they did a great job. It’s difficult to judge 23,000 images and come just to one. The winning picture though is really cool. As Chris Burkard said, sometimes you’re really focused on the action. In Chris’ picture, you see everything around the action: the environment, the light, the sky, the sea. It’s really amazing.
Silvano Zeiter (Switzerland), finalist in New Creativity category
The overall winning shot is amazing. When I saw the random pictures exhibited on the Red Bull Illume website, I looked through them and saw that one picture by Chris Burkard. I made a screen shot and said to my friend, “This is going to be the shot!”
Flo Hagena (Germany), finalist in New Creativity
I’m stoked to see my picture in that size. I’ve never seen one of my pictures that large. Getting into the top 50 is a real honor and to be judged by so many photo editors, it makes me really proud that they chose one of mine.
Eric Antoine (France), finalist in Experimental category
It’s great to see the pictures big. My photo especially, it’s just a little piece of glass. It’s good to see it this big. It’s interesting to see how people perceive the photos because the photographer has their own opinion. It’s very interesting to hear the different visions people have of my work.
Maiko Mou (French Polynesia), finalist in Close Up category
Now that I am back in Tahiti, I am realizing that it was so nice to be out there, to be invited at such a great event, to meet talented people and to see and know that there is a big lightbox of me somewhere in a big city.
Robby Naish (USA), Red Bull Athlete and surfer
Especially in sports like mine, the relationship with photographers is maybe more profound than a lot of other sports where competition is the focus. I’ve been lucky to work with photographers for the last thirty-four years. A lot of who I am and my career and everything I’m based around is because of the images provided by photographers. That’s why it’s so cool that Red Bull is doing this. We get all the glory but it’s constant work with a lot of photographers to make it happen. It’s great to see a platform where the guys on the other side of the lens are getting a bit of attention and respect and reward.
Orlando Duque (Colombia), Red Bull Athlete and cliff diver
I think Red Bull Illume is awesome. The photographers are always putting so much on the line. Red Bull Illume is for them, this is for the photographers. I think it’s great that Red Bull is putting them in the spotlight.
Lyn Walker (Australia), Alpha Magazine and Red Bull Illume Judge
The quality of the photos was incredible. The judges got an amazing book, it was awesome to flick through and see all the amazing photography. There were definitely some standouts. The shots that really captured the essence of Red Bull and the excitement in the picture – they really stood out.
Calvin Bradley (South Africa), Zig Zag magazine and Red Bull Illume Judge
I was blown away by the quality of photos in this competition. It’s always surprising to see how different a lot of these top photographers’ eyes are to other photographers. It’s great that Red Bull Illume is run to showcase guys like this, they’re the secret heroes of surfing – no one really knows what they look like and they’ve made so many people famous.
Alan Sparrow (UK), The Metro and Red Bull Illume Judge
I thought the pictures were fantastic, everyone of them was a difficult choice: it was hard to make a decision between the ones that won and the ones that didn’t. The defining line between them was really close.
Corinne Tâche-Berther (Switzerland), 7sky magazineand Red Bull Illume Judge
In general the quality of photos is amazing and the photobook is incredible. You go through the book and you will just fall in love with the photos. The photobook shows where action and adventure sports photography is right now.
ON RED BULL ILLUME
Lorenz Holder (Germany), finalist in New Creativity category
As Robby Naish said, to give the people behind the lens something, to put a picture to a person, is really cool.
Sergio Urday (Peru), Etiquete Negra and Red Bull Illume Judge
It’s amazing to change opinions and feelings about photography, but I think Red Bull Illume does that. Photography is a way of changing peoples’ minds. I think photography brings people from different countries and cultures together and when you have a competition and a gathering like this Unveiling you can see that.
Camilla Stoddart (Scotland), finalist in Wings category
I saw the Red Bull Illume photos from 2007 and it was something I always wanted to be involved in. You see all the photographers doing this really cool stuff and you aspire to become them. And here I am!
Ulrich Grill (Austria), Red Bull Illume founder and photographer
It’s great to see the Red Bull Illume exhibition come together again. It was amazing to see all the hard work coming together so well. To see the photos in full size, in a way they should be presented – it blows me away, mind-blowing. It’s great seeing the photographers on stage getting their prizes, it’s so emotional. Maybe it’s the only time in their lives where these photographers will be on a stage and receive a prize, it’s really motivating for action and adventure sports photographers. Everyone is totally stoked.