Kayaking Photo Takes Spirit Award at 2016 Red Bull Illume Comp

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The best action and adventure photographers in the world were celebrated in Chicago on September 28 as the Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2016 Overall Winner, 11 Category Winners and Top 55 finalist images were unveiled. And in the Spirit category it was a shot of a group of kayakers taking the podium….

While German photographer Lorenz Holder was the evening’s big winner, receiving the Overall Winner award for a second time as well as winning the Masterpiece by Yodobashi and Playground categories, along with the coveted Athlete’s Choice Award, in the Spirit category, photographer Dean Treml walked away with top honors for his emotional shot of kayakers surrounding an injured comrade.

In the image, Josh Neilson of New Zealand is supported by fellow paddlers Barnaby Prees, Sam Sutton, Tim Pickering, Ben Brown, Jamie Sutton and Jared Seiler as he waits for a helicopter evacuation after a bad landing off Norway’s Matze’s Drop on July 7, 2014. The plunge left him with a broken L1 vertebrae.

“I traveled to Norway for a few days to shoot and hang with my Kiwi mate Ben Brown, one of the world’s most prodigious adventure kayakers,” says Treml of the image. “As fate would have it he dislocated his shoulder the day I arrived, but luckily he was traveling with some brilliant paddlers so I still had subjects to shoot.

“On the last day we found ourselves at this spectacular waterfall, where five others made the run, then Josh went off. After a good entry the nose of his kayak was thrust up and he flat landed at the bottom, the impact breaking his back. His colleagues were immediately on hand to assist and stabilize Josh, and Ben, who had previously suffered a similar injury, was able to reassure Josh while a helicopter was summoned.”

Josh was flown to Lillehammer hospital and then on to Elverum for successful surgery. After rehabilitation in New Zealand, Neilson was back in a kayak a year later and subsequently traveled back to Norway to paddle their rivers again.

“I enjoy the challenge and buzz of just turning up to shoot a different sport or event, regardless of the location or conditions, and adapting,” says Treml.

Photographer Lorenz Holder’s winning shot featured athlete Senad Grosic riding his BMX across a bridge in Germany, and received the most votes from the panel of 53 judges and was chosen from a pool of more than 5,645 photographers from more than 120 countries who submitted 34,624 images.

The Winner Awards Ceremony was held at the iconic Art Institute of Chicago and hosted by television personality Tina Dixon and professional snowboarder Louie Vito. Award-winning photographers were able to see their images displayed on illuminated 6’x 6’ light boxes at the opening of the Red Bull Illume Exhibit Tour 2016. This unique nighttime photo exhibition will travel to cultural hubs and hotspots around the world for the next two years.

The exhibit will stay in Chicago until October 9, with additional tour stops to be announced on redbullillume.com.

The winners:

Close Up: Denis Klero, Russia with his black and white shot of climber Rustam Gelmanov showing his chalk-covered hands in Fontainebleu, France.

Energy: Luke Shadbolt, Australia for his black and white image showing the power of nature. Surfer Renan Faccini is set against a huge swell in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

Enhance: Dean Treml, New Zealand and his image of cliff diver Jonathan Paredes jumping from the 28 meter platform on the roof of the Copenhagen Opera House during the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, 2013.

Lifestyle: Jody MacDonald, Canada with her mesmerizing image of her brother Ken MacDonald sitting atop a train during their adventure through the Sahara Desert.

Masterpiece by Yodobashi: Lorenz Holder, Germany showing Senad Grosic ride his bike over a bridge in an autumnal Gablenz, Germany.

New Creativity: Ale Di Lullo, Italy for his fun shot of Aaron Chase riding his mountain bike on the windshield of a NYC cab.

Playground: Lorenz Holder, Germany showing BMXer Senad Grosic ride a rusted viewing platform in Senftenberg, Germany.

Sequence by Sony: Daniel Vojtêch, Czech Republic with his shot of Flying Bulls pilots Miroslav Krejci, Jan Rudzinskyi, Stanislav Cejka and Jan Tvrdic in Jaromêř, Czech Republic.

Spirit: Dean Treml, New Zealand for his image showing kayaker Josh Neilson being supported by fellow paddlers Barnaby Prees, Sam Sutton, Tim Pickering, Ben Brown, Jamie Sutton and Jaren Seiler after a bad landing off Matze’s Drop, Storulfossen, Norway.

Wings: Micky Wiswedel, South Africa with his shot of climber Jamie Smith mid-fall as he attempts a new route on Table Mountain, Cape Town.

To view the Top 55 finalist and 275 semifinalist images, visit www.redbullillume.com .

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