Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2019 Winners
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Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2019 Winners

At the beginning of this month, 260 semi-finalists were selected out of nearly 60,000 entries for Red Bull Illume's photography and videography contest. The 5 finalists for each category attended the Winner Award Ceremony hosted at the LUMEN - Museum of Mountain Photography on November 20th. The Overall Winner, 11 Category Winners, and Top 60 finalist images were revealed at the ceremony hosted by Italian sports journalist Zoran Filicic.

Ben Thouard was this year's Overall Winner.

This year’s Overall Winner is Ben Thouard for his underwater image of surfer Ace Buchan riding a massive wave in Teahupo’o, Tahiti. Here is Thouard's story behind his winning image: ‘I‘ve dedicated the last few years to shooting underwater, looking for new angles and a new way to shoot surfing and waves. Shooting surfing from underwater is a whole new world and I love it! Tahiti has some of the clearest water in the world so it was easy for me to take advantage of it and explore it as much as I could. This photo was shot during a freesurf session right before the WCT event in Teahupo‘o. This is Ace Buchan kicking out from the barrel through the wave, a technique to escape a close-out wave.’

He continues, 'luckily I was right below, breathless with my [underwater housing] waiting for this moment and I was able to capture the whole sequence of it; this frame from the beginning of the sequence is the most powerful one because of the water around his face and body.' Thouard was a Red Bull Illume semi-finalist in 2013 and a finalist in 2016 before becoming the Overall Winner this year.

60 finalist images were on display outside the LUMEN.

Once all the winners and finalists were announced, attendees were able to view the 60 finalist photos illuminated with 2mx2m lightboxes outside the LUMEN. The winners for each category are:

Overall Winner 2019: Ben Thouard, French Polynesia

Category Winners 2019

Best of Instagram by SanDisk: Baptiste Fauchille, France
Creative by Skylum: Denis Klero, Russia
Emerging by Red Bull Photography: JB Liautard, France
Energy: Ben Thouard, French Polynesia
Innovation by Sony: Laurence Crossman-Emms, United Kingdom
Lifestyle: Alexander Wick, Germany
Masterpiece by EyeEm: Lorenz Holder, Germany
Moving Image: Rupert Walker, Canada
Playground: Lorenz Holder, Germany
RAW: Noah Wetzel, USA
Wings: Philip Platzer, Austria
Best Mountain Sports Image by Salewa: Kamil Sustiak, Australia
SanDisk Extreme Award: Philip Platzer, Austria

For those interested, a Limited Edition Red Bull Illume Photobook featuring 260 semi-finalist action and adventure sports images submitted to the competition is now available to order. 4,000 copies were made, each individually numbered and stamped, and they come with a SanDisk Ultra SD Memory Card containing the Moving Image Category videos plus the full Luminar 4: Creative Photo Editor suite from Skylum.