American Red Bull photographer Dustin Snipes has won the prestigious “American Photo Images Of The Year” award in the Portraits category. Snipes’ shot of Travis Rice, professional snowboarder and star of one of 2011’s best action sports movies, The Art Of Flight, is taken from behind a sheet of ice.

“I was pretty excited about the win as there were a lot of great entries so I was kinda surprised I won,” he tells us. “But right after I took the photo I had a really good feeling about the image.”

The shot was pre-planned but I had no idea if it was going to work or not. I thought of it the day before the shoot and told a few of my friends about my idea but they seemed skeptical and weren’t sure if it would look good, but in the end it looked exactly like what I had in visioned in my head.”

“And when I got home and looked at the photos, that particular one jumped out at me and I immediately had to print out a copy.”

Snipes used a Nikon D3X, 24-70mm 2.8 lens for the shoot, plus four Paul C Buff Einstein 640 monolights, two strips boxes, one large octabank, one reflector, a sheet of 4×6 ft plexiglass and a black fabric background.

The American Photo Images of the Year contest is an international showcase featuring contemporary photography from a wide range of fields. Competition winners were selected on the basis of originality and overall quality of concept execution.

Snipes’ photograph will be published in the January/February 2011 issue of American Photo and on The photograph also features on the ‘Best of Red Bull Content Pool 2011’ photo-story alongside the greatest Red Bull images from 2011.

Snipes was disappointed to miss the entry for the last Red Bull Illume Image Quest.
“I will definitely be entering next time,” he says.