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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

So it comes as no surprise that when Red Bull decided to hold a photography competition highlighting action-sports photography, the end result was anything but ordinary. Together with One L. Productions, a San Francisco-based creative production and marketing agency, Red Bull put out a call to professional and emerging action- and adventure-sports photographers last April. Ten different categories for submission were offered, including such categories as "Wings," "Lifestyle," "Spirit," "Sequence," and "Experimental." Five photographs in each category would be chosen for the international exhibit tour.

Over the next several months, more than 7200 submissions were digitally received from approximately 2000 photographers representing more than 90 countries. Out of the thousands of entrants, the five finalists in the 10 categories were chosen by dozens of photo editors and image experts from around the world. Whether the captured moment in the photograph is a boulderer dangling off the side of a mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, a wind surfer riding a crystal clear wave in the Indian Ocean, or a skier caught mid-jump on the slopes of the Italian Alps, the "awe factor" of these chosen images rests somewhere between wondering "How did they do that?" and "What are they doing?"

Illumination cubed
One L. Productions then had the challenging task of creating an exhibit that matched the energy and exceptionality of these images. Says Wil Tidman, founder of the company, "We had a vision for creating an outdoor experience-turning the gallery inside out and doing something that allowed the viewers to be in locations and environments that lent themselves to this type of photography."

After receiving proposals for exhibit designs from various architects, artists, and designers, One L. Productions chose to go forward with a cube design submitted by Michael White, an industrial designer who had worked previously with Red Bull on several projects.

"We wanted a concept that was modular so we could take it to any environment and we wanted it to withstand any climate and elements," says Tidman. "We wanted to put it on snow, on sand, and in urban environments. Michael’s idea really met what we were looking for."