Aspen, Colorado—Tonight at dusk, the first-ever international action and adventure sports photography competition — Red Bull Illume Image Quest — unveiled 50 of the best raw moments in action and adventure sports from across the globe in a larger-than-life outdoor exhibition that “illuminated Aspen Mountain. Judges, heroes of the sport and special guests took witness during a special opening ceremony exhibition as finalist photographers vied for first place honors and the Athletes’ Choice Award. Judges selected the top 10 category winners and named the Illume Image of Year.

Amidst the snow and darkness, the top 50 photographs were unveiled in a breathtaking spectacle of luminous glass and metal cubes that left the slopes of Aspen Mountain aglow. This illuminated exhibition, co-hosted by renowned music industry photographer Danny Clinch, included the very best of action sports, resulting in the most dramatic compilation of action and adventure sports imagery ever assembled.

Contest judge Anne Telford of Communication Arts reflected on the experience: “This is the most incredible collection I have ever seen assembled in one place and is the most phenomenal experiences I have had in my 17 years of photo editing.

Official contest judges consisting of esteemed photo editors and image experts from photography, action sports and lifestyle magazines from around the world critiqued 7,200 submissions from over 90 countries. They combined their efforts in search of the top 50 images (five finalist images in ten image categories) that embody commitment, passion and risk in addition to technical superiority, superior composition, creativity, impact, artistic flair, and overall excellence.

“It’s overwhelming, said contest judge Pete Taras of Transworld SURF, “by far the biggest bonding meeting of the photographic minds I have ever witnessed.

Red Bull’s Illume exhibition spotlights the top 45 international photographers who have triumphed in the eyes of experts for their art, spirit, grit and edgy perfection. In search of the pinnacle of photographic excellence, judges underwent a third and final review and announced the top 10 category winners, who include:

Categories, Category Winners

Lifestyle, Desré Pickers — South Africa
Sequence, David Blazek – Czech Republic
Close-Up, Dawn Kish – Flagstaff, AZ
Energy, Thomas Stöckli – Switzerland
Spirit, Brian Bielmann – Haleiwa, HI
Playground, Wojtek Antonow – Poland
Wings, Fred Mortagne – France
New Creativity, Jimmy Wilson – Melbourne Beach, FL
Experimental, Tim McKenna – Australia
Illumination, Gian Paul Lozza -Switzerland

Top honors of Illume Image of the Year was awarded to Fred Mortagne of France for his stylized skateboarding image that had a composition beyond expression and wowed judges. He is commissioned for the photo shoot of a lifetime with a Red Bull athlete of choice, anywhere in the world.

In addition to honoring top photographers and celebrating these stunning camera explorations, the Illume opening ceremony marks the official kick-off for the multi-city exhibition tour. Following the exhibit in Aspen, the top 50 photographs will travel to various outdoor venues across the U.S. and Canada in 2007 — moving next to Huntington Beach, CA — and to unique international destinations in 2008.

Beginning Jan. 25 through Feb. 4, 2007, the Illume exhibition will open to the public and Aspen Mountain will light up nightly with a smattering of vivid photography expressions. This extraordinary cubed exhibit illuminates at night and draws spectators through a maze of platforms and staircases, while during the day the mirrored cubes offer beautiful views of Aspen’s winter wonderland.

For more information, please contact Chantal Chrétien at 310-460-5062/ chanttal.chretien@us.redbull.com or Heather Walsh at 323-866-6050/ heather.walsh@mslpr.com. For additional, complimentary images, please visit www.redbull-photofiles.com. Please visit www.redbullillume.com for all details and updates on the worldwide exhibit tour.