Ice climbers, kayakers, surfers, bikers, and skaters showcasing their skills in some of the world's wildest environments, captured by equally daring photographers. The winning photographs of this year's Red Bull Illume 2023 competition are revealed.
The Red Bull Illume is a competition that presents the pinnacle of action sports and adventure photography, and this year has been no different. Submissions from amateur and professional photographers from all over the globe have been judged by an esteemed panel of industry professionals, revealing the grand prize winner as Krystle Wright - the first female photographer to win the top spot in the competition's 17-year history.
(For full transparency, DCW editor James Artaius is a member of the Red Bull Illume judging panel.)
The Australian photographer won over the judges with her incredible shot of climber Angela VanWiemeersch illuminated in a crack, deep within Long Canyon, Utah, United States. In addition to winning the grand prize, the same shot also won the Innovation by MPB category. Taken with her Leica SL2 and APO-Vario-Elmarit-SL 90-280 f/2.8-4, the shot resembles a lightning bolt, illuminating the crack on an iconic trad climb.
On winning Krystle Wright said, "This is incredible. I wanted to earn my place in this industry and my work to get recognized. Red Bull Illume is the only platform that truly recognizes what we do."
Instead of ranking the winners, they are split into winners of individual categories and are therefore in no particular order. The winner of the Masterpiece by Sölden category is Lorenz Holder, a two-time overall Red Bull Illume winner. Teaming up with the BMX rider Senad Grosic, in a brightly colored post-modern apartment complex, Holder wanted to portray "a balance of architecture and action sports". His image was taken with Canon EOS R5 and Canon RF 28–70mm f/2L USM.
Emerging with Canon is the category for 'young talents', and was won by Gonzalo Robert Parraguez from Chile for his heart-thumping photo of kayaker Kilian Ivelic Astorga, traversing a cavernous waterfall. A two-hour drive, a 10-minute hike, and a 15-minute rappel into a deep canyon were needed before getting out his Sony A7 III and capturing this exceptional shot.
The full list of winners can be found below:
Overall Winner -Krystle Wright
Innovation by MPB category - Krystle Wright
Masterpiece by Sölden – Lorenz Holder
Emerging with Canon – Gonzalo Robert Parraguez
Energy – Ted Grambeau
Creative – Delphin Montessuit
Lifestyle by COOPH – Ross Taylor
Playground by Radiant Photo – Jb Liautard
RAW – Léo Grosgurin
Photos of Instagram – Yhabril
Reels of Instagram – Gabriel Marwein
The full winner's gallery along with an equipment list and stories about how the shots were made can be found on the competition website. The top five images, from each of the ten categories, are now part of a unique exhibition, beginning in Sölden until December 21. The exhibition then travels to Germany for the Berlin Travel Festival December 1 - 3 and then to Salzburg’s Hangar-7 December 13 – February 4, 2024.
If you can't make it to the exhibition, do not fear! You can now preorder the Limited Edition Red Bull Illume Photobook 2023, featuring the top 250 images including the stories behind those incredible images and biographies of the top 50 finalists.