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By The Light of 'Illume'

Crush Creative is a leading light in the production of Red Bull's Illume Image Quest photography com

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By Clare Baker

Most days during the ski season, as dusk falls on Colorado’s Aspen Mountain, the hill’s thrill-seekers gradually empty off the slopes, while downtown Aspen lights up in anticipation of their arrival. For a few days this past winter, however, the mountain itself remained the choice destination for visitors late into the night. An evening chairlift ride up the mountain’s Little Nell Run revealed an exhibit of dozens of oversized photographs, illuminated and displayed in cubes comprising aluminum and glass.

The photographs were the winning entries in an international action-sports and adventure photography competition: the Red Bull Illume Image Quest. Red Bull launched the photography competition in 2006, in association with Red Bull Photofiles, an extreme-sports online photo library, to celebrate the unique talents of action-sports photographers as well as the spirit of the action-sports community. Fifty winning images were chosen for display in a one-of-a-kind touring exhibit made possible by a collaboration between several companies. Burbank, CA-based Crush Creative was called on to output these exceptional photographs. Given the unique circumstances of the competition and exhibit, all of the companies involved had their work cut out for them from the outset.

"Because this was an art project," says Barry Polan, director of sales at Crush Creative, "the highest standards of quality needed to be ensured. Not even the most minute of imperfections could make it out of production."

Photography goes extreme
Not a company to subscribe to an understated or conventional philosophy, energy-drink king Red Bull has been turning heads and profits in the US for more than a decade, thanks to successful buzz marketing tactics and original ad campaigns.

A high energy and untraditional approach pervades Red Bull’s other endeavors as well. A quick rundown of Red Bull-sponsored events and activities reads like a list of things your mother would tell you never to do (that is, if she even knew what they were): cliff diving, BASE jumping, street luge, hang gliding, and para-gliding competitions as well as what is perhaps the company’s most well-known and outrageous affair-the Flugtag, in which homemade flying machines and their pilots make their attempt at conquering gravity.