Red Bull Illume 2023Inspiration
The World’s Greatest Adventure and Action Sports Imagery Contest
Written by Abbie Merritt
Sidetracked contributor Krystle Wright has won the prestigious Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2023 award with her spectacular image of Angela VanWiemeersch illuminated in a crack in Utah.
In November 2023, adventurers, photographers, and athletes gathered in the high mountains of Sölden, Austria, where the winners of the Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2023 were announced. Over three days, the world-famous ski resort unveiled the best adventure and action sports images, including the overall winner Krystle Wright. Having made category finalist in 2013, as well as the top 25 in 2013 and 2019, it was her incredible shot of a climber illuminated in a crack in Utah, United States that won her the Innovation category by MPB – and overall winner.
The judging panel, consisting of 52 international photo editors and industry experts, anonymously selected Wright’s shot of climber Angela VanWiemeersch deep within the rocks of Long Canyon. Alongside other photos from the same climb, this image was published in Sidetracked Volume 25 in Krystle Wright’s feature ‘The Crack: Being Bored is a Good Thing’. This is the first time in the competition’s 17-year history that a female photographer has taken the grand prize at Red Bull Illume, the world’s largest adventure and action sports imagery contest.
Winning images from the other 10 categories featured various athletes, such as ice climbers, kayakers, surfers, bikers and skaters, in different locations around the globe. Two-time overall winner of Red Bull Illume, Lorenz Holder, captured BMX rider Senad Grosic in a colourful urban space in Spain; this image went on to win the Masterpiece by Sölden category. Gonzalo Robert Parraguez won Emerging with Canon, the category for young talents below the age of 25, for his shot of kayaker Kilian Ivelic Astorga in Chile. And the renowned surf photographer Ted Grambeau won Energy for his shot of Jimmy McKean at the base of a giant swell in Tasmania.
Other category winners include:
Creative – Delphin Montessuit (FRA)
Lifestyle by COOPH – Ross Taylor (GBR)
Playground by Radiant Photo – Jb Liautard (FRA)
RAW – Léo Grosgurin (FRA)
Photos of Instagram – Yhabril (ESP)
Reels of Instagram – Gabriel Marwein (IND)
Alongside the Winners Award Ceremony, the community enjoyed a number of workshops, talks, and events. Canon held a workshop at ice Q, Austria’s highest restaurant, with panoramic mountain views; MPB gave a workshop at the FALCON, where photographers were able to capture snowboard and freeski athletes; and Radiant Photo offered a photo editing session at the Sölden Tourism office. Former competition winners Fred Mortagne, Lorenz Holder, and Ben Thouard also gave inspiring talks.
The winners’ exhibition, projected on 2x2m light boxes, is displayed in Sölden until December 21st. The images will then be presented at the Berlin Travel Festival, and the Salzburg’s Hangar-7, before setting off on tour around the world. Keep an eye on Red Bull Illume for upcoming events.