Extreme sports deserve extremely good photography.
It’s a question of vicariousness: since most of us will never jump a mountain bike off of a moving car but all of us will daydream about it, it’s helpful to have as clear a mental picture of it as possible.
Hence the existence Red Bull Illume, an annual photography contest celebrating the brave souls who capture extreme sports athletes mid-magic. It took 53 judges to select the 11 winners out of 30,000 (!) contenders this year, which they divided into categories you’ll get acquainted with below.
A close up in black and white of climber Rustam Gelmanov showing his chalk-covered hands in Fontainebleu, France.
The power of nature in stunning black and white, depicting Surfer Renan Faccini cheering as a huge swell pounds a rock wall in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
Cliff diver Jonathan Paredes jumps from the 28-meter platform on the roof of the Copenhagen Opera House during the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, 2013.
The photographer, Jody, took this picture of her brother Ken MacDonald sitting atop a train during their adventure through the Sahara Desert.
Ale di Lullo
Di Lullo captured Aaron Chase hopping his mountain bike off the windshield of an NYC cab.
A rusted viewing platform in Senftenberg, Germany becomes a jungle gym in the presence of BMX rider Senad Grosic.
A multiple exposure of Flying Bulls pilots Miroslav Krejci, Jan Rudzinskyi, Stanislav Cejka and Jan Tvrdic taken in Jaromêř, Czech Republic.
BMX rider Senad Grosic rides his front wheel over a bridge in a Gablenz, Germany. This image scored the highest Red Bull Illume honors: Overall Winner of Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2016, along with the Athlete’s Choice Award.
Treml caught the aftermath of a bad landing off Matze’s Drop, Storulfossen, Norway. The image depicts kayaker Josh Neilson being supported by fellow paddlers Barnaby Prees, Sam Sutton, Tim Pickering, Ben Brown, Jamie Sutton and Jaren Seiler.
Wiswedel caught climber Jamie Smith mid-fall as he attempted a new route on Table Mountain in Cape Town.
Aasen won the new mobile category with this black-and-white mountaineering image taken in Hakuba, Japan. What can your iPhone do?