How was it to win?
"It was quite emotional when they made the announcement in Hong Kong. I don’t enter a lot of photo competitions at all. It was shot during an event – not a project – and there were not many pictures in the contest shot from events. For me, that’s what makes it really special."
You entered a few images?
"I sent in maybe five photos and two were in the top 250. [The other also shows a mid-air diver shot from the perspective of the water and was a category finalist in the New Creativity category.] I was counting more on that one as a winner because it’s more Illume style!"
Tell us about the one that won...
"It’s a simple picture, not too much complication, requiring just a crop and black and white conversion. It’s just a moment. I really liked that the judges liked it."
Was it a great honor to be recognized?
"I’m very self critical of my work all these years. I may do something good but then after going through photos five times I don’t like them anymore! I’ve been doing this for many years so now I have maybe only two or three images that I still really like. Not more! So for me it was really special to prove to myself that I can do something good."
How was it getting to hang with the other photographers?
"It was great. I knew most of them so it was really good. We had so much fun it was very relaxed, we talked about photography, about sports – and lots of shit as well. Every time I remember Hong Kong it makes me smile. Good memories…"
Did you also exchange ideas?
"No! You don’t really talk about projects. If you have something in mind you tend to keep it away from the others! But I love the photo book! It’s like a bible for me."
So did winning change much for you?
"For me it didn’t change so much. But when you go for a meeting with a new client, to say you are an internationally awarded photographer counts a lot more than saying you’re a winner of the Slovenian press award! They also know I won this in the Red Bull world which all helps. I know for some of the US guys it has made a big difference."
What are you entering this time?
"I think I will enter one picture to the Mobile category – it’s good you have this new category – one to Energy and one to New Creativity, these three for sure."
What makes a great shot in your view?
"It needs to be something different, something special – a trick, something with the light or location. There is so much good stuff around, the ordinary photos will just disappear. It has to be really unique!"
Visit Samo’s website and Instagram pages for more of his images.
Submissions for the world's greatest action and adventure sports photography contest close next week! So get your submissions in NOW! Download the Ultimate Guide to Red Bull Illume here and mark March 31, 2016 on your calendars.
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The Illume Effect: Samo Vidic
Continuing our series looking back on past winners, we catch up with Samo Vidic, whose remarkable black and white shot of a diver and bird won the Wings category in 2013.
How was it to win?