Five incredible weeks after the competition commenced, the Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year Awards have finished for another year. Last year’s inaugural edition resulted in some phenomenal entries, but having seen the shots submitted this year, it’s safe to say that the bar has been raised.
Throughout the competition, countless incredible images were submitted, from photographers in 33 countries, and over $10,000 raised for some very worthy causes. Each category was hotly contested – especially the Enthusiast category, which received over half of all submissions. But it certainly wasn’t a case of quantity over quality, which made our judges’ task all the more difficult.
Each of our judges – Graham Watson, Marcus Enno (aka Beardy McBeard), and Jim Fryer and Iri Greco (of BrakeThrough Media) – pored over every image, before deciding on their top 10 shortlisted shots for each category. As you can see from Graham’s, Beardy’s and Jim and Iri’s lists, our judges had a wide diversity of preferences, which set up a tantalising final judging call. On Wednesday, our judges deliberated for four hours, whittling the 90 shortlisted images down to a final few – the creme de la creme, the winners of the 2017 Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year Awards. Here they are.
Smartphone and Action Cam category
Third place. From Adelaide-based Andy Rogers, this image was popular with the judges who thought it was a standout example of what was possible with a smartphone. The shot struck a chord because it’s very inviting – it makes you want to be on that ride with them. It’s very inviting, and sells cycling so well – beautiful light, a happy rider and a great capture.
Congrats Andy! You’ve won a Stages power meter!
Second place. You’d be happy to have shot this on any type of camera, but when you consider it was taken on a smartphone or action cam, it’s pretty staggering! Jon Turner’s shot from the Col du l’Iseran is nicely balanced and composed, with the converging lines of mountains and the snow, and the negative space with the open road. It’s a really solid shot, and the exposure is right in all the elements.
Awesome photo Jon – you’ve won a Shimano Dura Ace Di2 disc groupset!
First place. This shot from Seetoh Lang was, for our judges, the best executed of the category. This image can’t be captured any other way than on a smartphone or action cam, and given the environment the photo was taken in, it’s technically sophisticated as well. You’ve got the bike, the rider, the cityscape – it’s got everything in there, composed in an interesting way. You can feel the urban environment, and the sense of speed; it would be hard to get a better shot.
Congratulations Seetoh! You’ve won a trip to the Spring Classics with Trek Travel!
Third place. This shot was a great demonstration of technique. Working in challenging lighting, Craig Huffman’s shot shows motion, captures the faces, has vibrant colours, and it’s a difficult shot to get as sharp as he did. Our judges thought that it would make a great cover shot, and thought it was highly impressive for the Enthusiast category.
Nice one Craig – you’ve won a Silca Floor Pump.
Second place. Lian van Leeuwen submitted a number of fantastic images into the competition this year, but this one was a stand-out for the judges. We didn’t see much humour in the awards, but the contrast in this shot makes you smile and wonder about the story. In addition to being a great capture, the fact that Lian saw this moment and decided to capture it shows that she’s a highly astute photographer, and that instinct should be celebrated. It’s a great cycling culture photo – one that only cyclists would understand – and if you look at every other image, this one stands out.
Great shot, Lian – you’ve won an Olympus PEN-F camera kit!
First place. The winner of the hotly contested Enthusiast category is this stunning shot from Angelica Dixon. Cyclocross often produces stunning pictures, and this one is a sterling example with the depth, the light, and the riders en masse charging up the hill. It’s a perfectly captured photo from an unusual perspective. The repetition of the shape of the riders and the light makes it look like something from a war movie – it’s both dramatic and timeless.
Angelica, you’re the deserving winner of a Specialized Allez road bike!
Third place. In third place in the Professional category is this incredible capture from Eloise Mavian. The judges felt this image transported them into the moment – it’s like being in there in the race, sitting on Laurens De Plus’ wheel up the climb. The shot is from a different perspective to what we usually see, meaning that the viewer can see the excited faces in the crowd, when usually they’re looking the other way. The cropping is perfect, including all the important elements. Above all, it captures the emotion of being there.
Well done Eloise! You’ve collected the bronze medal in the 2017 Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year Awards.
Second place. The second place captures an incredible moment in cycling at the finish of the 2017 edition of Milan-SanRemo. Luca Bettini’s shot captures the true grit and fight that cycling is all about, down to the last millimetre. Every last bit of effort that the athletes put out at the finish is captured in this image. The photographer is positioned perfectly to capture this moment, with a clean, head on vantage point.
Our judges also had the experience to shed some light on the timeline behind this image. In the frenzied final moments of Milan-San Remo, the photographer would have raced down the Poggio, off the bike and into position for this shot, and wouldn’t have had the time to think about composing this shot – it’s a demonstration of instinctual talent.
Amazing photo Luca – you’re the silver medallist in this year’s awards.
First place. There was a fair bit of discussion to arrive at the winning entry of these awards, but eventually our judges reached a consensus with this jawdropping image from Tim Bardsley-Smith. From the judges’ perspective, this shot was perfect composition of the mountains, light and framing, taken from a different angle than most other switchback photos, on a piece of road that’s like nothing else on earth. It’s a super clean capture of a beautiful landscape with lovely symmetry. This image inspires the viewer to want to join the cyclists on this road.
In the interests of full disclosure, a discussion point here was that the image was from a commissioned piece for CyclingTips, although it wasn’t used in that story’s layout. However, our judges (who don’t work for CyclingTips) chose Tim’s photo independently and unanimously, so we’re comfortable with this decision. Throughout the year we work with a huge number of talented people, and if we excluded all photographers we work with we wouldn’t have many submissions left!
Congratulations Tim, you’re the 2017 Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year!
People’s Choice Award
The People’s Choice award is publicly voted in a Facebook gallery by the CyclingTips readership. All shortlisted entrants in the Enthusiast and Smartphone/Action Cam categories are eligible for the award, and the award with the most votes takes the prize. The winner this year is Angelica Dixon, who narrowly pipped Claudia Redaschi’s amazing image by a handful of votes.
Congratulations Angelica – you’ve won a Tour de France print by Mark Gunter Photography.
Young Cyclist Assistance
The Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year Awards have always had, at their core, the desire to help others – whether by raising money for cancer research, or providing financial assistance to young cyclists in their development. This year, Trek-Segafredo pro Koen de Kort acted as a judge, determining who would be the recipient of the Young Cyclist Assistance fund. Eventually he settled on the following two deserving recipients, and shares his reasoning below.
“The first winner is Erin Mitchell. On my path to professional cyclist on the road I did a lot of cyclocross and I know very well what is required to make it in cyclocross and how expensive it can be. A lot of my opponents had different race wheels with different tyre profiles to suit the courses; I never had that possibility, I raced with one type of tyre profile but at least I had 2 good cyclocross bikes and an “emergency” 3rd bike. Racing on just one bike you simply can´t be competitive. Erin is studying a double degree, works part time at 2 jobs, became national U23 champion and is on the path to her dreams by going to Belgium to compete at the biggest cyclocross races despite her busy life. I think her determination and talent in combination with the difference the Young Cyclist Assistance Award donation will make for her, she is a very worthy winner.”
“The second winner is Lauren Perry. Lauren has without a doubt a lot of talent for cycling. Her list of achievements is long and very impressive but she ran into some serious health issues which have thrown her back in her development as a cyclist. Building back up from rock bottom after winning a lot of races throughout her career is very difficult but Lauren is working hard on that. It is obvious that she is very determined and I think that the Young Cyclist Award donation will be a factor in getting her back to the level she had before her health issues by giving her some valuable opportunities to race and train overseas.”
Our sincere thanks go to our generous sponsors – Trek Travel, Specialized, Olympus, Shimano, Silca and Stages – who’ve contributed some fantastic prizes that will make their way to our deserving winners over the coming weeks.
All entry fees for the Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year Awards go to a great cause, supporting Tour de Cure, Australian Cancer Research Foundation and Young Cyclist Development. Even though the competition is now over, we’re leaving the cancer research donation portal open. If you’ve enjoyed the photos the awards have highlighted and would like to make a tax-deductible donation to cancer research, you are warmly encouraged to do so.
Finally, and most importantly, a massive thank you to every single person that entered the 2017 Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year Awards! Your skill and willingness to get involved have been inspiring. We can’t wait to see what surprises next year throws up.
What do you think of the judges’ choices? What are your favourite shots from throughout the competition?