Two CU students invited to highly regarded Red Bull Illume workshop

A passion for action sports and adventure photography earned two CU-Boulder students invitations to the prestigious Red Bull Illume Collegiate Workshop and Competition in Chicago, Illinois. During the weekend of Sept. 10, Technology, Arts and Media major Phil McKenzie and Media Production major Zack Altschuler traveled from Boulder to the Windy City, where they took advantage of the workshop’s networking, professional experiences and more.

The young prodigies were selected as two of 15 participants for the event.

The CUI interviewed both of the burgeoning photographers to learn more about their backgrounds and what they learned at the workshop.

CUI: How long have you been interested in photography?

ZA: Since the fifth grade. My mom had an SLR, so I started playing around with that — I also made some claymation videos and YouTube videos.

PM: I’ve been interested for about five years; I’ve taken it seriously for over two years.

CUI: How did you get involved with the workshop/competition?

ZA: I knew Kyle (a CU campus Red Bull representative) — he said to submit my work, and from there I got selected to attend.

PM: I did some work with Red Bull previously. I learned about the opportunity and sent in my portfolio, and it went from there.

CUI: What was the highlight of the trip, or the moment you realized you’ve made it?

ZA: My highlight was getting together with people I’ve never met before, learning new techniques and just running around the city and having a great time.

PM: I still wouldn’t say I’ve made it, but the highlight of the trip was definitely networking, and getting to know Dave Lehl, whose work I really admire.

CUI: What do you like to shoot?

ZA: I love to shoot anything involved with action sports, landscapes and Milky Way lighting photos. The trick with the Milky Way photos is that you have to be more patient.

PM: I’m interested in shooting all kinds of action sports, but I love to shoot the skate scene in Colorado. It’s getting pretty big, and I’ve been able to make connections and get some really great shots.

CUI: And what piece(s) of advice would you give to young photographers?

ZA: Get out there at every opportunity, shoot as much as you can and network whenever possible.

PM: Never leave your camera at home!

McKenzie’s work can be viewed on his website, or on Instagram.

Altschuler’s work can be viewed on his website, or on Instagram.

Contact CU Independent Breaking News Editor Gavin Daugherty at

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