Image of falling climber scoops top prize at Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2021
American photographer Will Saunders has been named the overall winner of the Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2021. His "breathtaking" image of climber Jake Talley striking a pose as he takes a lead fall on a spectacular rock tower in Utah also took out the Masterpiece by SanDisk Professional category.
The adventure and action sports imagery contest attracted a total of 41,447 images and was judged by a panel of 53 judges from around the world.
Saunders was overwhelmed when he received the award, stating: "I’m just super grateful, I never thought I would be here. But it really is a team effort, it takes so much more than an individual."
Of his winning image, Saunders said: “I've shot many whippers, but this time I wanted to try something a little different," Saunders said. "A group of us rallied out to my favorite place in the desert to get some climbing in and make some imagery along the way. I asked Jake to really shape his body into more of a powerful movement rather than the classic falling position. With grace and style, Jake pulled this shape out of the air, allowing me to capture an image that is unique compared to most of the literal climbing imagery we see.
His body reminded me of a superhero, which is fitting to me because most of my friends in this action sports world are my heroes. The ticket here was to just push the conceptual idea enough while also grounding the image in reality.”
Saunders takes home a selection of prizes worth €50,000, including a Lenovo laptop, a Leica SL2 camera with three lenses, gear from SanDisk Professional, and other prizes from Black Diamond and COOPH.
Check out redbullillume.com to see the finalists of all categories.
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