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Red Bull Illume Photography Exhibit
by Max Gold
on 16 July 2008
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Through this Sunday, 20 July 2008, watching Minneapolis' skyline from the Stone Arch Bridge at sunset is more than nature's daily lightshow. As the sun falls, like clockwork a row of 25 eight-foot photograph cubes illuminates. A futuristic-chill soundtrack faded up as a soothing woman's voice speaks, "Welcome to Red Bull Illume."

Illume is a first-of-it's-kind international traveling photography exhibit. Like a dark superhero, Illume only comes out at night "to reveal the most dramatic compilation of action and adventure sports imagery ever assembled."

Standing in front of life-sized illuminations of the most breathtaking extreme sports images in the world, it was hard to figure out whether the athlete or the photograph itself was more impressive. Picture, say, a giant, dread-locked man clinging upside down to the roof of a cave.

Each of the photographs were submitted by people around the world in an online contest back in 2006 under such categories as "Wings," "Energy" or "Playground". The result is a blend of photographic perfection and the raw, spontaneous energy of adventure sports.

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My favorite category by far was called "Experimental," which allowed the photographer to alter their photograph beyond recognition. Many works incorporated graphic art and were more digital masterpieces than photographs, such as this one by James Holm.

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