The 2018 Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year Awards closed last week, and over its duration, we received hundreds of incredible submissions from around the world – truly some of the best cycling photography of the year. In addition to being a great showcase for the talented entrants, the Awards also have two important purposes – raising a significant amount of money for cancer research through Tour de Cure, and by providing financial support through Young Cyclist Assistance.
Each of the judges have gone through the difficult task of shortlisting their top ten images from each of the four categories. From these shortlists, the judges will deliberate on the top three of each category in the coming days – with final winners to be announced on January 11, 2019.
“This year’s judging of the Mark Gunter Awards carried with it the realisation that the level of quality in the entries has risen yet again, and in all categories too. As such, there was both a sense of satisfaction at seeing the competitiveness edge up yet further, but also increased pressure to make the right choices from such fine photography. Three years ago, Wouter Roosenboom’s winning shot stood out so far ahead of its rivals, it made the judge’s work easy. In the 2018 awards, any one of the top-ten images amongst the pros’ could have won. The same goes for the ‘enthusiast’ category – back in 2016, the gap between ‘pro and enthusiast was enormous. This time around it was sometimes hard to see the difference between some of the ‘pro and enthusiast entries, a fact that made judging far more difficult.
The greatest progress, however, has been made amongst the ‘smartphone’ entries. It never fails to impress me what creativity can be achieved with such basic machinery – and even some mighty-fine race-action shots of the Tour de France have made it into the top-ten compilations. I’ve enjoyed most of all a virtual tour of the worlds finest landscapes. The mountains, valleys, oceans and forests alongside which cyclists often ride were a favourite part of my life when I was shooting the big races. So I suppose it’s only natural that my judgement of the many entries is influenced by what I once photographed, with the beauty of the sport at the summit of my reasoning. As I studied each and every photograph, I often felt it could have been me taking the image, perhaps that’s how far the quality of the entries has risen?
Graham Watson is arguably the most well known and experienced cycling photographer on the planet. His iconic images have captured some of cycling’s most significant moments and with 44 years of photography under his belt, he is one of the pioneers of the sporting media. He kicks off with his shortlist from the 2018 Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year Awards.
Here’s Graham’s shortlist from the 2018 Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year Awards.