How to tell great stories - with Red Bull Illume finalist Maxime Moulin
You can film some cool tricks and get a few likes, or you can captivate people’s minds with a compelling story. Maxime Moulin, Image Quest 2019 finalists in the all-new Moving Image category and three times Special Image Quest 20 pre-selection creator, shares some of his secrets to great storytelling in adventure and action sports videography. Find out what inspires him to go out and create his totally unique content.
What makes a great story?
Aah! Such a hard question to start with. To me, there are several ways to make a story a great story, but for now I will only speak about actions sports filmmaking, because it’s a big big big topic.
Firstly, the action tells the story. At some point, you don’t need to say more because all the action that you show in the video actually makes the story, telling you something about the athlete. It can be fun, original, crazy, unbelievable or totally new… or just well executed. No rules here, it’s the athlete’s mind and skills that speak for itself.
Secondly, you have the documentary side of action sports. To me, the great story also comes from the characters and the subject. The film is there to make you understand and feel something about them and what they are doing. At the end, if you feel something this means it is good, and the more you feel the more great the story.
It really is a personal point of view. I mean, I really loved some movies that other people didn’t like.
Lastly, a great story comes along with the cinematography. The story in filmmaking is not only about the words, it’s about the cinematography, the music, the sound design, the colorgrading, the concept, and the set design. As a filmmaker, you have the biggest toolbox of all the storytellers, because you can use everything to tell your story.
So yeah, a good story in action sports is about the sport first, and on the other side comes the people and the background story. And last but not least, the package. Great filmmaking is about making the story even more great.
How do you find great stories?
Maybe I’m lucky on that, because most of the time stories come to me, from a friend, an athlete or a brand I’m working with. Stories are all around us, sometimes you just have to open your eyes and your mind to find them.
As we speak, I think I have more than 10 personal film ideas on paper. It’s too much, haha. Some of them are in my head for years now. Year after year the time eventually comes and I get to make one of them.
For me, the most important part is to work on writing the ideas of the story you have to tell. I mean, this is a long process, you have to understand the subject, the people, the sport. You have to find the way you want to tell the story, with your personality. And you have to find the way you want to film it. I feel that the stories I’m the most proud of, are the ones where I was truly capable of making it personal. Like, I was using these stories about people for sharing something that I am really concerned about. It’s the feeling of connecting with the people in the story, when you recognize something in yourself, something you care about- that’s when great things happen.
How did you become interested in videography?
I will not say that I grew up with my dad’s camera in my hands, wanting to make videos since I was a child, but I’m pretty sure it does come from my parents. As far as I can remember, when I was young I was a really big fan of music videos. My parents introduced me to the rock, punk and metal culture, and I mean really deeply. At the end of the 90s and the beginning of the 2000s I was watching MTV2, a dedicated MTV channel to Rock and Metal music. I was blown away by a lot of the music videos. I also watched a lot of movies with my parents, but the important part was that after watching the films, we always spoke a lot about them.
When I was at university (15 years ago), I started to film snowboard and ski stuff with my friends. Nothing too crazy. It became more and more important to me until I was only thinking about that.
I think that I was more interested by the whole process of creating something, not specifically the filming or editing. I was not interested (and I’m still not) by doing just an image without knowing what to do with it.
Who is your biggest influence/ inspiration for what you do professionally?
I think the biggest influence/inspiration comes from the music bands I love. Maybe a band like Nine Inch Nails (because there’s more than just music- there are strong ideas, visuals and of course, the concept art) and because of Trent Reznor who is a pure genius (not to mention he got an Academy Award for the score of The Social Network movie). The thing I learned from his art, is to follow my own path of creation. I want to take a project and make it the way I feel is the best. The more it becomes personal, the more I like the project.
What can a video express that a photo can’t?
To me, video is really different than photo.
Photo is a freeze frame of a moment. Time is stopped. On the other hand, video is a way to say something about that time. Using different media.
In video, you have a bigger toolbox for creating something. The cinematography is really important, and I love framing, using high quality gear such as a Red Camera, drones and beautiful lenses. But as a filmmaker, you have to think bigger than just the picture. You have to think about every shot you want to do, and all the other things you will work with like music, sound design, colorgrading, concept art, set design, etc.
What’s the biggest challenge when working with action sports athletes?
To me, the one biggest challenge is to go to places where you don’t feel comfortable. And the second one is the risk athletes can take for the shot.
But most of the time it’s more about living great things, sharing our passion, and building something together, as a team. Everyone using their best skills to create something that people will see later. It’s team work.
And for the crew, you’ve got the memories forever.
What role does Social Media play for your work and your self-promotion?
I have to say I’m late on that. Because at first I was just using it with friends, and sharing a bit of what I was doing, not really in a professional way. I really started to take advantage of it 2 years ago. I will not say that social media gets me paid jobs, but I can definitely say that social media is a really cool place to share special content. The things you do, who you are and how you do those things. And to me, this is the goal of social media. People get to know you more than just liking (or not liking) your hero content. For me, this is a way to show your global content and to focus on specific points about it, it can be a frame, a process, a mood… this is endless.
If you had the chance to tell any story in the world with your work, which one would it be?
I really need to go further into the stories of the athletes. I want to go deeper to understand what are the things that make them so different from other people. I think this is the story about the human strength.
What’s your favorite piece of work of yourself? Where can people find it?
From May 11 to 29, 2022, the 56 finalist images from the Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2021 will be exhibited in Padua, Italy, at the modern and fashionable shopping malls of IPERCITY and LE BRENTELLE. Both shopping malls are characterized by their bright ambiance and open architecture, and are well known for attracting locals and tourists alike thanks to the variety of Italian and international brands on offer. These exhibit tour stops in IPERCITY and LE BRENTELLE are part of our partnership with SES Spar European Shopping Centers which displays the winning images inside their premium shopping destinations across Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary and Italy.
The images are displayed on innovative 2x2 meter lightboxes provided by the German based manufacturer CCS Fabric Frame. This allows the outstanding quality of the images to be appreciated in a new way by audiences more used to seeing the images on a smartphone or computer screen. It also celebrates and honors the hard work and dedication of the photographers.
For your chance to view and appreciate the very best in adventure and action sports photography, head to IPERCITY and LE BRENTELLE shopping malls in Padua. The 56 images are shared across the two venues meaning you need to go to both to see every shot. The exhibitions are free to view and everyone is welcome during the centers’ regular opening hours. IPERCITY and LE BRENTELLE are easy to reach and are located off main roads, accessible by all means of transport.
Mondays to Saturdays 8:30AM – 9PM
Sundays 9AM – 9PM
So grab a gelato and enjoy a stroll through the impressive display of talent at the Red Bull Illume Exhibition while also taking in the great shopping to be had at that IPERCITY and LE BRENTELLE in Padua, Italy. The exhibition runs until May 29, 2022.
Here are the upcoming tour stops throughout the SES Spar European Shopping Centers if you can't make it to Padua.
Red Bull Illume photographer Benny Marr gives the lowdown on kayaking with crocs, big rivers and why he’d rather be athlete than photographer.
I am not a technically skilled photographer. I’m a kayaker completely focused on kayaking and I accept that I will make mistakes and miss a lot of shots and opportunities. There is a lot I don't understand about the craft. I research and buy equipment and ultimately I am around a combination of skilled athletes and incredible whitewater fairly often which makes things a little easier for me. When I want to shoot, I try to make as few mistakes as possible. Find a frame, try to get everything in focus...
What is the most difficult thing about shooting whitewater?
Having wet hands all the time in a wet environment.
Talk us through your prep?
I bring my camera with me when I go to the river. I try to make sure my shit is charged and the cards are formatted but I am usually forgetting something. Kayakers are often bringing cameras down the river with them in waterproof bags which provide a bit of protection for the gear. Sometimes we are running waterfalls and the cameras take the same hits that our bodies do so we need to protect them. I love a great photo and I try to observe and learn from the elements of how other people work so I will be motivated to move around on the river more to capture something that I and the kayaker will be happy to have to post, share, or sell – or have a memory of a cool moment.
Do you prefer being behind the lens or in front of it?
I am way better at whitewater kayaking than I am at whitewater photography! It is better for me, career-wise, to be in the photo than to take the photo. We can make some extra cash selling photos but I am more stoked to be in a photo in the Red Bull Illume book than to have taken a photo which made it into the book. Nice for the ego either way!
You’ve kayaked the Zambezi. Why’s it special?
The Zambezi river is a live winding border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The river falls around 100 metres over Victoria Falls and into the Batoka Gorge. As kayakers we have all known about and planned trips to the Zambezi for years. Just to be able to travel to Africa is an incredible privilege and experience. Too often taken for granted. Sitting underneath Victoria Falls every day for a month and running some of the baddest rapids on the planet, I understand that privilege differently because I've worked hard on the skillsets required specifically to spend time beneath the falls. It is unique to paddle through a canyon or gorge like the Batoka with such easy access. River Right and River Left provide ample opportunities for a kayaker with a camera to hop out to shoot photos or film something. While there are no hippos in the classic whitewater section because they don't survive falling off Victoria Falls, there are many crocodiles who have done just that. Small baby crocs survive the plunge and grow up in the gorge adding elements of curiosity and danger to the kayaker's journey every day.
Steve Fisher was the best all-around kayaker on the planet when I was growing up. His career is still very relevant and impressive. When he was in his late teens or early twenties he went to the Zambezi River to work as a guide and video/photo kayaker. He and a group of kayakers living on the Zambezi started making videos and as a kid I devoured them. It influenced how I kayak, how I navigate rivers and how I see high volume whitewater and big lines.
Scott Lindgren was also an influence?
Years after the Wicked Liquid movies by Steve Fisher and Alex Nicks were out, Steve started shooting with Scott Lindgren. Scott brought together footage from around the world for the Burning Time movies and created some really beautiful work on the Zambezi River. It was a lot higher quality than anything we had seen from the area so we could understand the river better. Steve was peaking in his skill and sendinees in the big water as well. Excellent combination. Steve’s big water style affected me for sure and Scott being willing to invest time and money into quality equipment and kayaking movies was great for the sport.
When are the perfect conditions for shooting the Zambezi?
It is always good, rain or shine.
Check out the incredible behind-the-scenes video here!
Red Bull Illume photographer Tino Scherer takes on three projects, each with their own unique requirements.
The Swiss photographer and Red Bull Illume semi-finalist, Tino Scherer, takes us through his experience of shooting three projects with the Leica SL2. Tino’s known for his sports and lifestyle photography and he gives us an insight into what it takes to capture incredible images in different situations.
Heading into the mountains
The Schilthorn is a well-known, much visited mountain in the Bernese Alps, which rises 2,970 meters above sea level. Located at its peak is the Piz Gloria revolving restaurant, which Tino Scherer photographed at sunset from a helicopter. This picture was taken during a photo shoot for the Schilthornbahn AG train. Taking photographs from a helicopter demands concentration, precise planning and a steady hand – fortunately the Leica SL2’s image stabilizer helped counter the considerable shaking. It can also be cold but Tino was able to work the SL2 while wearing gloves, thanks to its design.
Out on the water with a Swiss Wakeboard Champion
In September 2019, Tino shot the Swiss wakeboard champion, Sam Lutz on Zurich’s Obersee. Perfect preparation is key for shooting action, but Tino also studied all the details for this project with great care: optimal lighting conditions at sunset, a Super Air Nautique G23, a boat that forms the perfect kind of wakeboard wave, and, of course, a boarder who can produce a spectacular trick at the perfect time. You need a lot of patience before everything comes together like it does in these pictures and a camera that does exactly what you have in mind helps a lot too. Tino is a photographer who, on principle, focuses manually, so the challenges in this case were great. He was taking pictures using a Summilux-SL 50 f/1.4 ASPH. The individual function buttons of the Leica SL2 proved very useful. With one of the two function buttons on the front side, which Tino used with the detail magnification to focus manually, it was possible to focus very precisely – even with a virtually fully open aperture and a very low level of sharpness.
Europe’s oldest cheeses
Tino Scherer then found himself in his home-country, Switzerland, where he photographed every one of Sbrinz’s 26 cheese types. The traditional Sbrinz hard cheese (AOP) is among the oldest cheeses in Europe. It is made by hand using traditional methods, primarily in the cantons of Obwalden, Nidwalden and Lucerne. The number of locations, the diversity of the landscapes, the different light conditions, the moods and even the motifs, were enormous. He took on these specific challenges using the universal Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90 f/2.8-4.0 ASPH. He was also able to capture razor-sharp, low-noise images with the Leica SL2’s high light sensitivity of 800-1600 ISO and was even able to produce cropped, different format images in post because of the camera’s sensor. In contrast to high-speed action, this shoot was all about capturing the slowness of cheese production and the individuals who dedicate their lives to it.
Whether you’re shooting portraits or action, on the move or indoors, the Leica SL2 is the perfect tool for the job. It’s one of the most advanced professional photography systems on the market and helps photographers them to capture award winning and incredible action shots.
Shooting from a Wheelchair
Ydwer van der Heide was a celebrated Dutch kiteboarding photographer and Red Bull Illume finalist before a devastating surf accident in 2021 left him partially paralysed. He tells us about the accident, how he’s back taking photos, why he’s doing Wings for Life and how YOU can support spinal cord research on May 8, 2022!
I went foil surfing with two good friends in my hometown. It was a nice and slightly warm day during the winter with small waves and I was pretty relaxed and chilled. I took off on a wave and after a couple meters I fell and hit the bottom with my head. I could feel all my energy flow out of my body and for a second I thought I’d lose consciousness but I saw the light through the surface. I could only think, ‘keep your breath’. I stayed calm and heard my friends yelling my name. I couldn’t move my arms or legs and wasn’t able to turn around. At least I knew they spotted me. I fractured my C6 and C7 vertebrae. In the hospital they repaired it and put screws in my neck from top to bottom to fix it. Because of the swelling I lost function and feeling up to C3 but after testing, the injury turned out to be incomplete. Paralyzed from the chest down, I had a long road of recovery ahead.
How has it changed your life?
Obviously it changed my life a lot. From an all year round traveling photographer and adventure enthusiast my life was suddenly back to basics. I was in bed, only allowed to sit in a wheelchair for a certain amount of time a day. I couldn’t feed myself and felt so many strange sensations in my body. In the beginning I couldn’t find the right way to lie in bed comfortably and I couldn’t explain to the nurses where to put my legs. Nothing felt right and it didn’t feel like my body. I completely lost my independence and freedom, something that was extremely important to me. But slowly everything got easier. I was able to eat with a fork fixed to my hand, the time I spent in a wheelchair became longer. My life slowed down and it sounds a cliché but you start to appreciate different and smaller things. Suddenly that bit of sunshine on my face, that usually was so obvious meant a lot to me. I could really enjoy those little moments.
When did your girlfriend persuade you to do Wings for Life?
After being in a wheelchair for four months. I knew the event and was involved as a photographer several times. I instantly said yes and wanted to roll 1km in my wheelchair. I impressed myself on that day by doubling this distance. Because my Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) is incomplete I’ve been lucky to gain some function in my legs, making it possible to walk a little bit with a walker. As I like to push myself I set a new goal for this year’s run. It’s a ballsy one but I think it’s possible. I want to cover a distance of 100 meters by foot and I know it won’t be easy. I’d like to encourage as many people as possible to join me on the 8th of May. It’s very important to raise money for the research of SCI. Because it is such a complex system and even 1% improvement can make a huge difference in our case. I think it’s also important to create awareness that you shouldn’t take life for granted and let people realize that with the right mindset and will you can reach incredible goals.
Check out this video to see Ydwer talking about his goal in this year's Wings for Life World Run.
How do you manage to stay optimistic?
I’m very positive minded and although some days are tough I try to explore a whole new way of life. I appreciate other things and focus on what I’m still able to do and not so much on what I can’t. In order to stay away from negative feelings, I started doing a lot of meditation. It taught me that those feelings have a place and that I’m allowed to feel bad sometimes. But it also taught me to turn those feelings into something positive. If I have a bad day it usually is because a couple of things are not working out. Talking about it or doing something helps me a lot. Accepting that it is like this at the moment but tomorrow is a new day with new possibilities works for me. I always like pushing myself and setting goals, that definitely didn’t change. I just have to find my new margins to keep those goals realistic.
Do you still take photographs?
I can’t handle the camera as before so I went back to the basics and realized why I actually liked taking photos. It wasn’t about that photo in the end but it was more about the whole process. It was about being out there and letting go. It became some sort of meditation to me. I started taking photos with my tablet resting on my lap and I just took photos of the people around me. At some point I started using an old Leica M9. For me it really helped to have a camera with minimal functions. I did a pre focus on my subject and set the timer. I pressed the button and had 12 seconds to take a deep breath and get the camera in front of me and get the shot. Sometimes I just fell forward, I was totally out of focus or didn’t have the right settings. But funny enough these are my best photos so far. They were interesting in movement, color or composition and actually told my story. Obviously I’m striving to get better but if you put those photos in a timeline they tell a great story on its own. I’m very fortunate with what my body can do and I think I will never forget why I actually love photography.
Has your relationship with photography changed?
I look differently at photography and photographers. Where I always tried to get that perfect shot in the past it’s more about the moment now. I think my photography is better now than it was before. If I could have the same knowledge without this experience it would be insane, but that’s just not how it works. I’m also working on my first coffee table photo book. It’s been a beautiful process so far and I love to give something to people that they can touch, feel and smell in this fast and digital world. I started digging through all my hard drives and realized how incredible my journey has been so far, the amount of adventures I’ve been on traveling around the world with friends.
Run for those who can't!
On May 8, 2022, the start signal will sound for the 9th annual edition of the Wings for Life World Run. You run, walk or roll with thousands of people around the world at the exact same time. The unique race has a moving finish line in the form of a Catcher Car, which begins its pursuit 30 minutes after the start, passing runners and wheelchair users one after the other until the race is over. And you'll be doing all that running not only for yourself but for a good cause. 100% of your entry fee goes into spinal cord research and will help to find a cure for spinal cord injury. Participants have the option of running together in large groups at one of the seven Flagship Runs or anywhere they want with the help of the Wings for Life World Run App. Due to its unique Audio Experience, virtual participation has become a veritable live experience. Personalities inform, motivate and entertain participants throughout their run and thus make the Wings for Life World Run unique and engaging. All information and how to register at wingsforlifeworldrun.com.
Want to support the good cause? Sign up now and run for those who can't at the Wings for Life World Run 2022!
Bringing a Red Bull Illume Exhibition to Life
The Red Bull Illume Global Exhibit Tour brings the incredible finalist images to the world. Find out how we do it!
The goal of Red Bull Illume is to shine a light on the unsung heroes behind the lens, and the Global Exhibit Tour is one of the ways we bring these incredible images to the world. It’s an exhibition where everyone gets to see the winning images lit up in full grandeur. Seriously, it just feels different when you see the shots illuminated on 2x2 meter light-boxes. But what does it take to bring an exhibition like this together?
Well, we made a video showing you the entire process, from setting up the lightboxes inside the extraordinary Hangar-7 to running and capturing the exhibition’s grand open-ing night. Luckily, we had the Lenovo Yoga 9i PC, because it can switch between PC, tablet, and tent mode, we could check the layouts wherever and whenever we needed.
With all the images lit up and ready to inspire, it was time for our guests (and the event photographer) to arrive! Every event photographer can tell you that the most important thing to have when capturing a live event is a powerful set up that lets you upload and edit on-the-go. The Lenovo Yoga 9i PC has got improved color accuracy and ultra-vivid visuals, so our event photographer could edit and share as the action unfolds.
Partnering up with a brand that believes in empowering creatives, like Lenovo, is important. This isn’t just because their computers are amazing, but truly because they’re innovating computing technology that enables a more inclusive and inspired world.
Find out what it looks like to set up a Red Bull Illume Exhibit Tour in our latest video and definitely make sure you find a tour stop closest to you! The exhibition in Hangar-7 in Salzburg, Austria will be on display until May 8, 2022.
Jordan Manoukian's most passionate project
Jordan Manoukian’s first movie shows the world what it really takes to be an adventure and action sports photographer today. Learn all about his personal project "Out of Frame", a film about the daily life of athlete Mathis Dumas and a high-line shoot that’s never been attempted before.
Jordan Manoukian is an adventure sports film maker based in Chamonix, France. He follows mountain athletes all over the world, shooting commercials, running, paragliding, and getting involved in all things alpine. ‘Out of Frame’ is his first movie, aimed at showing what it takes to get one shot, following Mathis Dumas and the athletes on their journey to the heart of the Mont Blanc massif. Want to know what you need to be an adventure and action sports photographer that stands out? Jordan Manoukian’s got a pretty damn good idea.
Why did you create your film “Out of Frame”?
The purpose of this movie is to show the process of taking one photo in the high mountains. It shows the behind the scenes of an extreme photographer and daily life of Mathis Dumas, an athlete, high mountain guide and outdoor photographer.
"Through social media, we’ve seen a lot of outstanding photos around the world, but we have also lost the ability of really looking at them."
What inspired you to make the movie?
I’ve always been inspired by people who take photos in the mountains. That’s maybe why I’m doing this job today. Managing the shoot, getting in position in tricky places and following athletes into the action. I really wanted to show a behind the scenes of mountain photography and dedicated this movie to the shadow people of our industry that push outdoors, showing the beauty of our mountains with a camera in hand, photographers, athletes, filmmakers, and contents creators. Mathis and me had this idea of opening a new high-line in Mont Blanc massif and capturing a unique photo to show the whole process, from organization/logistics to getting the shot. Through social media, we’ve seen a lot of outstanding photos around the world, but we have also lost the ability of really looking at them, searching for details and appreciating their value. I guess this film shows how hard it is to only take one shot.
What do you enjoy most about taking pictures high in the air and, in general, about outdoor photography?
Photography is about sharing and catching perfect moments. Taking pictures in high mountains is thrilling, you have this whole technical aspect of being up there and checking the itinerary. Then, you need to direct athletes and focus on the subject you want to shoot.
What is it like to produce your own movie? How is it different from action sports photography?
I define myself more as a filmmaker, I feel like you can share more emotions through the medium of film. I come from commercial productions and action sports photography, I usually receive a brief from a client and go and shoot that. You can’t really do 100% what you want when clients are involved and that’s normal because you need to respect their needs. Producing your own movie is totally the opposite because it’s a personal project, you start from scratch, creating the whole story, everything is possible.
"Doing personal projects you are passionate about is a great way to develop your own identity."
What does a photographer need nowadays to stand out from the crowd?
When it comes to mountain photography, the new generation needs to be versatile and creative to be able to stand out from the crowd. They need to be able to move as fast as the athletes in several sports and be able to master new technologies. Photographers always need to be on the run, capable of creating quality content in a short time period without disturbing the athlete.
What are your favorite locations for your photo projects?
I live in Chamonix, France, so my backyard is already pretty awesome to explore and take photos in. Nature at my home is astonishing, the whole valley is vertical with the best viewpoints for mountaineers and photographers. You can find pretty much all types of landscapes and playgrounds. I usually love going to South America, like Chile, Peru or Bolivia. You can find a real energy that is difficult to recreate elsewhere, meeting locals and taking the time to appreciate the moment.
You can watch the official "Out of Frame" trailer here!
The Swiss photographer Silvano Zeiter continues to catch the world’s attention with impeccable imagery from his project "Poly". As one of the youngest finalists in the Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2010, we catch up with him to find out what he’s been up to and how he’s pushing past creative limits to capture the energetic movements of snowboarding and turn them into art.
You were the youngest finalist in the Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2010, how did that impact your career?
I was a 19-year-old kid, so that happened pretty much at the start of my path as a photographer. I‘d say most of all it gave me some kind of confirmation that chances were quite good that I was doing something right.Mostly it gave me confidence and motivated me to keep going.
What kind of projects do you work on the most? Any criteria these projects need to fulfill?
I mostly work with clients in sports and fashion with preferably lots of creative freedom. I want to be able to stand behind my work with/for them, as well as behind the clients’ philosophy. The process of working on a project is just as important to me as the actual outcome of the work. Therefore, having fun and inspiring people around me is crucial to me.
What project are you the proudest of and why?
That would be my latest project called ‘Poly’ for sure. It’s a body of work that consists of three flip books, three Polyscopes, a curated collection of exhibited prints and an audiovisual excerpt from the feature film Chroma with Severin van der Meer. Part of the excerpt was a finalist in Photo Story category of the Image Quest 2021. Having worked on ‘Poly’ for the past two years, it has by far been my most consuming and devoted project yet and I‘m forever thankful to all the dedicated people who helped “Poly” come to life.
Tell us a little bit more about the exhibition
Poly, the exhibition, opened its doors in early November at the Chroma Premiere Weekend at the Riders Hotel in Laax, Switzerland. It was an opportunity attendants could experience the whole body of work in full and basically what all the work led up to. The books, the Polyscopes and the movie were on display together with a collection of 16 curated prints. The prints were supposed to give the spectator an opportunity to halt and internalize the matter statically in opposition to the fast and animated nature of the books, the Polyscopes or the movie. By integrating the photos in the film, we wanted to not only add another layer of media to the movie, but also put them in opposition to traditional film, based media and thus potentially reveal the advantages and disadvantages of both still and moving images. It was very important to me that I was able to have the photos printed and on a wall as that’s where they ultimately belong.
How do you capture the energy and action in your images?
I‘ve been shooting follow- and lead-cam with snowboarders almost my whole career. I think it‘s a good tool to show the dynamics and motion of the seemingly simple moves like a turn, a butter or an ollie which also makes it somewhat relatable to most people. It gets you to angles that just wouldn‘t be possible when shooting static. Through the years, my shutter speeds got longer, which allowed me to pull the spectators into the action even more and make them feel part of it themselves. Of course, as you have to be close to each other at high speeds it comes with a certain risk. You have to focus on the terrain, your riding, your buddy‘s riding and handling the camera all at once. A high level of mutual trust between the photographer and the rider is crucial.
What do you need to consider when shooting adventure and action sports?
Safety of course is an important aspect that‘s to be taken seriously. Being respectful and appreciative to be given the opportunity and the trust by nature and the people around you to do what you do is just as essential to me.
What’s the dream shot you want to nail?
I can‘t say there is one. If there was, I‘d just go out and do it. But seriously, in order to keep the drive and motivation to keep creating and push my work and myself forward, I try to stay openminded and tap every source of inspiration. I try to go with the drift of things and to look at creating as a process with many layers. This way I trust that “dream shots” will pop up along the way without having to look too hard for them.
What advice would you give to up-and-coming photographers?
I think Colin Wiseman wisely nailed it when he said that just simply being nice went a long way. Frankly, nobody wants to work with assholes, so just not acting like one will pay off. I personally would add authenticity as being just as important to this.
Gravity-defying moments that aren’t for the faint at heart. Prepare to be stunned by these unbelievable shots that truly show the great heights photographers and athletes are willing to go for adventure. Warning: Don’t look down!
The Red Bull Illume Exhibition is returning to Salzburg, Austria! The winning images from the Image Quest 2021 will all be on display from today until May 8, 2022, inside the extraordinary Hangar-7, the famous home to historic aircraft and Formula 1 cars. However, this isn’t the first time the iconic venue has hosted a tour stop, because it’s already welcomed fans to find inspiration for many editions.
The exhibition is the perfect way to honor the hard work and dedication of these photographers and is a fantastic showcase of their talent. It features the 56 finalist images on innovative 2x2 meter lightboxes provided by the German based manufacturer CCS Fabric Frame. The outstanding quality truly presents the images the way in which they should be enjoyed.
The Red Bull Illume Exhibition is not only a great idea for a day out but is also an opportunity to visit Hangar-7 and enjoy the dynamic architecture. It truly is a fascinating space and creates a unique atmosphere, constructed with lots of glass so you can enjoy beautiful panoramic views of the Alps - the perfect backdrop for the world’s greatest adventure and action sports images. The entire experience provides a window into the world of these photographers and the lengths they are willing to go to get the perfect shot. It is free to visit and is open daily from March 10 until May 8, 2022, during Hangar-7’s usual opening hours of 9AM to 10PM.
The two category winners, Carolin Unrath and Markus Berger, attended the Hangar-7 Red Bull Illume Exhibition opening. “For me, and also for Andi, it is an amazing experience. I was completely overwhelmed, I'm still processing it and seeing this exhibition for the first time is a very unique moment.”, says Carolin Unrath, winner of the Lifestyle by COOPH category.
Markus Berger, who won the Playground by WhiteWall category, says: “To see my shot printed in the exhibition and illuminated at night feels amazing. The colors and the size... it is really cool! Also, to see my photo between all the other photos and the great work is awesome and I feel really grateful to be part of this.”
Their images have been selected out of 41,447 entries submitted to last year’s Red Bull Illume Image Quest, from which 56 finalists were selected by an international judging panel of 53 photo and industry experts. Will Saunders, an American photographer, earned the Overall Winner prize for his shot of climber, Jake Talley, striking a pose while taking a lead fall on a spectacular rock tower in Indian Creek, Utah.
This is just one of the stops of the Indoor Exhibition that is touring Europe, so keep your eyes peeled and calendars open because the best adventure and action sports images will also visit countries such as Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy! To stay up to date with all the tour stops and get your fix of awe-inspiring adventure and action sports photography check out the exhibition page and follow @redbullillume on your favorite social media platform.
Behind the Lens with Marco Dullnig
With his photo project "Innvisible" Red Bull Illume semi-finalist Marco Dullnig transports us into another world. Together with different athletes from the Innsbruck area he used infrared to create a series of unbelievable images.
This type of infrared photography is implemented with a specially converted camera and special filter to create a look that is strongly reminiscent of Kodak's Aerochrome analog film. Due to their chemical composition, plants reflect wavelengths in the infrared range that are invisible to humans and are rendered red due to a filter. Non-organic objects, such as buildings, retain their natural colors.
“As an action sports photographer, it is my goal to find creative ways to showcase athletes. Through the intense red color, I want to draw attention to the importance of balancing nature and urban spaces,” explains the Austrian photographer. “The first infrared images I stumbled across were by Richard Mosse in 2018. I was fascinated by his idea and the creative implementation, but I didn't really understand the technical background. When the COVID pandemic started and I was trapped in my apartment in Innsbruck for weeks, I became more involved with the topic of black and white infrared photography and learned the technical background to make extraordinary landscape photography.”
Out of boredom, Marco decided to take apart his old DSLR to remove the blocking filter that sits in front of the sensor in order to make the camera sensitive to infrared light. In black and white infrared photography, filters are used in front of the lens to block light visible to the human eye in the range below about 780 nanometers (nm), allowing only infrared light to pass through to the sensor. Because of the chlorophyll in plants, infrared light is strongly reflected and allows the leaves to appear snow white in black and white photography.
The problem with this DSLR was that the focal plane changed due to the lack of a blocking filter and consistently sharp images seemed almost impossible. Marco needed a mirrorless camera. “After a successful conversion and the first black and white landscape shots, I experimented with false color photography where infrared light is mixed with visible light to create colored images. I still had the images of Richard Mosse in the back of my mind and tried to achieve the style that he used. There is a lot of editing work in False Color photography, because you have to swap the blue and red color channels to get an effect similar to Kodak Aerochrome,” he explains.
Due to the large amount of editing work and the necessary manipulation of the color channels, Marco was looking for other solutions to achieve the Aerochrome effect without resorting to the hard-to-find analog film. With the help of fellow photographer, Esben Zøllner Olesen, he came across the IR Chrome filter from Kolari Vision. With this filter, he was able to create the effect he wanted, without manipulating the image. “The final step in getting this project where I wanted was buying a new mirrorless camera and getting it converted, professionally. With all the set up complete, my idea of photographing action athletes in the urban Innsbruck environment was born!”