The Winner's Circle: Denis Klero Recently back from photographing the freewheeling mayhem of Red Bull Soapbox, Azerbaijan, the Russian photographer Denis Klero tells us why his Close Up winning shot of a climber’s hands has left his own head spinning. 11/02/2016 © Denis Klero / Red Bull Illume Are you still stoked to have won the Close Up? I still do not believe that it happened to me! I am the first participant from Russia to have won in this competition in 10 years. How was it at the Winner Award Ceremony? Absolutely incredible! It was the first time for me at an event of this level where celebrated photographers came together. There were a lot of new emotions for me which I had not experienced before. The passion and intrigue was nothing less than an Oscar award ceremony. Respect to the marching band in particular! (ed. the marching band as part of the Winner Award Ceremony killed it, for real) What was it like to see your own image on display? This was also a new experience for me. There was this feeling that this was not happening to me. Many times I have seen different ceremonies where others received awards, but this was such a serious international competition! On the way to the stage, I thought only one thing: I am a representative of my country so I could not do anything wrong. It was a huge responsibility for me! And yet in the room were the best of the best photographers in the world and many guests. Was it good to hang with the other photographers? A huge honor. Over the next two years, part of me will travel around the world together with the work of other photographers. What did you think of the other images? All the finalists are worthy of first place. What was your favourite shot? Dean Treml's shot of a cliff diver in Copenhagen. It’s awesome! What projects are you currently working on? I am preparing a project with a BMX rider in the forest. It’s not a very sporty project, but rather more artistic. But it's still a secret, so sshhh! I've also got an advertising project coming up in the new year. Click here for the background story on how Denis got the shot of Rustam Gelmanov’s chalky hands and check out his website to see more of his work.