2014 Photo of the Year - Semi Finals Voting Starts Now

Feb 22, 2015
by Pinkbike Staff  
We gave you the top 32 images from 2014 and you've voted for what 4 images have made it on to the semi-finals round for the 2014 Photo of the Year. Now it's your turn to narrow it down even further for who'll be vying for the $10,000 in CASH as well as $20,000 in prizing from our sponsors: Specialized Bikes and SRAM.

Check out the voting page


The 4th annual Pinkbike Photo of the Year Contest voting is underway. The winner will join John Wellburn, Toby Cowley and Sterling Lorence in the PB Photo of the Year Hall of Fame and they could walk away with $5,000 and a Specialized Enduro 27.5 kitted with a full SRAM groupo.

How Does it Work?

From thousands of nominated photos, 32 have been selected to pit against each other in a college basketball bracket-like showdown. At this point it is up to you, the users, to vote on the match ups. The photos with the most votes will move onto the next round. So 32 photos will narrow down to 16, then 8, 4, 2 until there is a single photo deemed the 2014 Specialized Photo of the Year Powered by SRAM.

Specialized 275 Enduro
  Who from the top 32 will be taking this beauty home: a Specialized Enduro 27.5 with full SRAM build kit.



Click to Vote




Christoph Laue
It s all about the moment in sport photography - Photo Christoph Laue

Go to Voting Page


Sean Lee
It s just ticked over 100 days of no rain in Perth so cornering at mach chicken turns out a bit like a Michael Bay movie. Shooting wide open at f 1.4 was a bit of a gamble but it paid off

Go to Voting Page


Robb Thompson
To me this shot helps to show how in control top guys like Troy are with being almost out of control. They ride that super fine line between total disaster - and spetacular speed and success. I think the level of commitment and compensation with body position that is required to ride out sketchy situations at ridiculous speed is evident here.

Go to Voting Page


Sterling Lorence
Matt Hunter enjoying bicycle riding.

Go to Voting Page


What's at stake? $10,000 Cash and $20,000+ in Prizing

Winner will receive a Specialized Enduro 27.5 complete with the newest SRAM kit and a check for $5000
• Runner-up will receive a check for $3000
• Other semi-finalists will each receive $1000

New for this year, a prize pack for nailing the voting:
The user that votes the closet to the correct bracket could win a SRAM X01 Drivetrain (crankset, cassette, chain, shifter, derailleur and an x-sync direct mount chain ring)
*if multiple users have the same voting brackets, then a random draw from the matching users will be drawn

Thanks to Specialized Bikes and SRAM.

Vote Here

2014 Photo of the Year


Mentions: @SramMedia @Specialized



Posted In:
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97 Comments

  • + 101
 Pinkbike can you release the info regarding the age of the voters for each picture? It would be interesting to see.

If I was a company about to buy advertisement space on your website I would like to know...
If I was a photograph it would help me understand why all the pics making it to the last square are about slashing burms and doing some "sick" moves...

Without any negative insinuation this contest feels more like the action of the year, rather than the photo of the year.
  • + 10
 totally agree...brosnan picture is nothing... not a even a action of the year.. Troy made better action in every world cup run he made.. Sean Lee's way better as action.. composition.. meh..POY? no thanks.
  • + 33
 All of the photos that inspire me to go out and ride have all been eliminated. These remaining pictures seem to be about action shot of the year rather than photo of the year, they are all about capturing the sickest move rather than telling a story.
  • + 8
 Could not have said this better myself. These are "perfect timing" pictures. As far as photography goes these last four just aren't that impressing.
  • + 1
 Yeah totally agree, I wouldn't have put the Laue photo in the top four, There were some way better scenery photos that should have been in there
  • + 3
 gambisk, I tried to say as much last year. To no avail so have kept my mouth shut this year until now.

There are a thousand and one photographers, pro and amateur, who will jump to the defence of these photos that have made it into the last 4 citing reasons such as "anyone is free to go out and try and take a better shot if they think they can" knowing full well that there are few who could take such "sick" action shots. These shots are all the pinacle of excellent, amazing MTB moments, captured for eternity. Great photos. Wish I had the motivation to take such shots.

However, as you say, they hardly tell a story. They do not draw us in; they do not..... how can I put it.....well, maybe I should leave it to Auggie.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpCpsExvD4Q
  • + 9
 This contest is weak. The pairings were horrible. Show a teeny a dirt roost and you'll get the same reaction when you ask your dog if he wants to go outside. The Robb Thompson pic is average at best; a guy skidding down a hill w/flowers. I saw the Stirling Lawrence pic when it came out last summer and again in the ad campaigns and I swear his right hand is always a different distance to the ground. The best photos have been passed over. Hey PB, try harder next year.
  • + 1
 @ sylwhistler: I was thinking exactly the same when I saw who is in the semifinals now. So disappointing.
  • + 13
 We don't need the data - 3 out of 4 semi-finalists involve skidding and we know who skids are for.
  • + 4
 I am starting to think this contest is set up
  • + 5
 I´m a bit dissapointed as well.. missing out some ultra cool nature shots.. but still everyone is focusing on different kinds of riding and with your riding style comes your favourite picture.. so I´d just say that there are more people on PB trying to race dh or do some crazy trix than for example enduro, xc riders or trail builders, that may feel more attracted to mother nature than doing crazy stuff..
  • + 7
 dissapointed for all the reasons above, and for that, I am voting with my feet and walking away from this.
  • + 8
 Hey that's what happens when you leave the voting up to a crowd that consists a majority of 13 to 20-year-old kids who know little of photography and absolutely love totally richtor sicktor mountain bike shots and have probably spent most of their time on a chairlift or in the back of a truck as opposed to spending hours out in nature, exploring around. The photo aspect always seems to be the second thing most of the voters consider but then again if I was 18, I would most likely have voted for all the shots that are currently in the finals.
  • + 5
 Hardly Pinkbike staff's fault - they chose the first 32, which contained many, many photos that were FOTY worthy. After that it's all about the voters. I can't say that I'm particularly inspired by the remaining four (in fact, would have them near the lower end of the first 32), but it's apparent that others like them...
Stop complaining, vote again (or don't!), and go ride your bike (or even make your own, better, photo...).
  • + 2
 For reals. I am seeing more and more younger guys on bikes who think it's cool to "drift" when they're just locking up their back wheel and skidding intentionally. They see this crap on the PB, and mimic it. This is the reason our trails need to be "sustainable," because nobody knows how to ride in control.
  • + 1
 ^ Skidding is fun and sometimes definitely necessary when you're hauling balls but yeah overall I agree. The freeride flick I think its called when they do that only for the visual enjoyment of it.
  • + 4
 I wanted to see Needhham take it, that was a sick shot.

@deadtime Can you post a link to the SL shot where Hunters hand is a different distance from the ground? Thats a pretty big call-out and a big F-U to Sterling so you better have some proof to back it up.
  • + 1
 its an action sport. But my favorites did get eliminated
  • + 1
 Just look at last years winner! Might give a clue to what might win this yearWink
  • + 2
 I'd be happier if the DH pics looked like they're on hills.
  • + 2
 As much as I would like to agree with you I have to say a picture is also about the feeling it gives you when you look at it. It may be a moment caught by a simple phone camera without much edit or work, just luck. But when someone looks at the picture and it brings out an emotion, any emotion, then that picture means something to that person. So as much as it is a shame to see some of these works of arts get out voted for a spontaneous moment in time caught by another photographer, I have to say the emotion is still there for the majority as reflected by the votes, and I respect that. I don't think that takes anything away from the works of arts that I have had the pleasure to see during this contest.
  • + 1
 Maybe pinkbike could do a Photo of the year and Choice award.
  • + 1
 @StanMarsh @deadtime there are other photos and stills of Hunter actually dragging his bars, like this one: www.shockmansion.com/2014/05/08/video-matt-hunter-drags-his-handlebars-taking-an-incredible-horizontal-corner-on-his-bicycle-in-slow-motion but I don't know if these were by SL for sure. I've certainly seen the bar drag photos used in adverts and articles before.
  • + 3
 Pinkbike should have at least interviewed some known photographers and have their opinions on what should they look for in a good photo. Enlightening the readers at the same time about photography. Otherwise people will just pick the photo with "sickest move" or the one with the most colours.
  • + 52
 Im really disappointed this year! All of the amazing scenery/rider pics are out, does no one appreciate a focus on the nature?
  • - 11
flag paul584 (Feb 22, 2015 at 23:37) (Below Threshold)
 go check out national geographic
  • - 18
flag shadowBiker4 (Feb 22, 2015 at 23:46) (Below Threshold)
 its pb, focused on mtb not scenery. the scott photo is beautiful, rider and surrounding
  • + 8
 > "does no one appreciate..."

Not no one. If you average the 4 "losers" of last round you will see that 40% (39.45% to be exact) did appreciate the focus on nature. The other 60% voted for action. This is how votes work. Not everyone wins. If everyone of us liked the same things then our world would only have 1 kind of food, 1 type of clothing, 1 type of car and only 1 sport (that is MTB). But this is utopia.
  • + 1
 @rrsport - I hope you're inspired to make a better photo, in the hopes that you can get it into the competition next year.
  • + 4
 dude, mountain biking is an escape from all the rest of the world and the picture of the year should demonstrate that, not just BOOM SMASH KILL THE BERM non sense. anyways, you shouldn't even blow up berms if you're riding them right.
  • + 2
 All four of my votes were towards the more nature themed shots Frown I was a sad panda when I saw they didn't make it
  • + 1
 I'm just waaaay more stoked to go riding when I see a picture of someone riding through the mountains than someone slashing a berm
  • + 23
 Kinda sick of these dust clouds now. So many of the other photo's were more inspiring. From these four Sterling and Cristoph are original and the best of the bunch. I'll be glad to see the back of the dirt shower pics.
  • + 13
 Hi all... Thanks for the kind comments to those who wanted to see my shot of Mr Akrigg go further. There were a lot of great shots in this years competition and a lot of great shots that should have made it much further in my opinion. I'm stoked to have got this far with that shot... Next time around I'll head to the dustier regions of Yorkshire with Chris. Good luck to the other snappers left in.
  • + 2
 Sam your shot was sick and something different, Stay in the loamy stuff! The final 4 are all well taken, but that's as far as it goes.
  • + 12
 The most laughable thing about this every year is the minority crowd that comes out and bitches about the winners and losers of each round. Of course, there will be lots of people to join you in your little bitch session, but the winners won because less people agree with you than disagree. And once again, the suggestion is that it's 'kids' skewing the results. Well guess what, if you're part of the losing minority having a bitch session on pinkbike, perhaps you need to reasses where you fit in on the maturity scale.
This is mountain biking, not national geographic. Is it any wonder that action shots are leading the charge?
  • - 1
 No wonder here. Its because the majority is a younger crowd who don't take adventures on their MTBs so they only care about the action taking place, regardless if its actually the best overall photo or not. I find it laughable when people like you get worked up over other peoples' opinions when in fact, their "bitching" is more of stating the truth.
  • + 2
 So your 'opinion' is 'truth'? Got it.
Most of my votes have been in agreement with the majority. Does this mean that the truth is I'm a kid that doesn't take MTB adventures?

When it comes to POY on a MTB site, a photo the depicts explosive action that aligns with what I like most about riding is, in some but not all cases, going to get my vote. For me, it comes down to Robb Thomson and Sean Lee, and it did from the very beginning. But yeah, well, that's just like, my opinion man.
  • + 1
 Scott-townes ..Your a nothing man.. as if young people couldn´t enjoy nature as much as old ones ..
Lets ask pinkbike to measure the average age of the pb community.. of course young.. but still that is because this webside is about downhill and freeride manly which isn´t always dominated by lagends such as steve peat.. it´s a yungster sport and everyone focuses on different aspects.. don´t blame others for thei´re opinion .. and especially not by they´re age.. guess we should all have figuered out after the time of enlightement or ww2 that there is no space for this sh`t in this world anymore.
Yes it´s photo of the year.. that would mean the best pictures should win considering over all beaty, lightning quality timing etc.. but it still is an extremesport webside which is a quantité negileable.
  • + 2
 ^ A German getting worked up over a non-issue.... That's a first Wink After all no need to get worked up over peoples' opinions but have fun with that. And yes, I do believe my opinion and the other bunch of member's opinions are the truth, just like you believe yours is. That's how its always been.
  • + 1
 Scott-townes logic:
Someone else shares an opinion = they are getting worked up
He shares an opinion = it's the truth. And he's not getting worked up.
Someone doesn't share his opinion = they are young and lacking life experience. Or perhaps just German. Apply one of these Wink and it's ok to say whatever you like.

I'll let you in on a little secret... some people realize opinions on art are simply that, and truth doesn't enter the equation at all. But you clearly disagree, so, to steal a phrase, 'have fun with that'.
  • + 2
 ^ You're missing what I was referring to. When people start in with what they perceive as personal insults like EinLurch's post, they're taking it a bit too seriously. I really wasn't referring to you other than that when someone states their opinion, its because they feel its the truth on the matter. Its not an issue at all. I find it hilarious when people like that are childish enough to resort to insults like that over photos posted on a website.
  • + 13
 Cannot believe Sam Needham did not make it through. That picture should have been the winner in my opinion.
  • + 9
 3 of 4 of my favs lost last round :-(. My final is Sean Lee vs. Robb Thompson.
  • + 5
 haha all of mine lost!
  • + 0
 looks like you have good taste then....
  • + 1
 all of mine lost, also lost the Specialized Enduro 27.5
  • + 4
 Just to voice a counterpoint, amazing photo's where you couldn't even see the mountain bikes didn't get any votes from me. I'm sure there's way better photographs in national geographic. The photo had to at least be bike centric in some way.
  • + 1
 @friendlyfoe Are you looking at it on a phone, or a computer? Photos are meant to be seen big. The bigger the better. I'm pretty sure I saw bikes in every picture.
  • + 0
 LoL on a computer, but you're not getting my meaning. There better have been a bike in every picture! IMO the bike should be the focus; If the image was just as nice without the bikers in it, it didn't get my vote.
  • + 3
 It looks like people are steering more towards the action in the shots rather than the artistry and composition. Come on, that picture with the moon?! That is one of the coolest photos I have ever seen. The composition is clean and bold. But the dude with his bars hitting the ground--while impressive--does not look as well composed.
  • + 3
 Its even less impressive when you see what went into it, and how many takes were done. Not to say it's not a cool photo, it's just not as cool as the rest. From whats left, Christoph Laue, hands down. Good composition and timing, and resonates well for excitement with brendawg throwing down.
  • + 1
 I wish that the one with the wave of roots could have won. That one was my computer background for a few months.
  • + 2
 All this young people blaming.. as if young people were less into nature or riding or the soul of a picture.. have you all forgotten how you guys started?? for me it was beeing in the woods with my buddies as long as we could and spending days and nights building, riding, crashing, trying to beat each other and just enjoying nature..
Who gives you guys the right to blame people because they belong to some kind of subcultre...
Youngsters might not have the same knowledge about photography.. but they certainly know the difference between a "sick action shot" and an amazing emotional and breathtaking photo!
If one decides to select a "sick action shot" that might be because they would love to become as good as a matt hunter one day... which is a good reason in my opinion.. or just because they´re into actionsports love the kick and selcet the photo which contains most action possible.
Did you like this comment? do you have any suggestions or different ideas??
leave your comments below! Smile
  • + 2
 Not sure what everyone is talking about. To me Christoph Laue's photo tells a story, is framed incredibly well and hits peak action perfectly. Amazing shot in my opinion - maybe it came down to dumb luck but luck favors those who are prepared
  • + 2
 I say we have an unofficial vote for the two truly unique pics in the grouping:

@timkoerber vs @SamNeedham . I'll say it again...Tim's pic makes me want to literally just ditch my wife and kids for two weeks and drive straight to wherever in the world the Yukon is and Sam's pic is of that one thing we ALL have to do from time to time, beg our body and bike to limbo under a tree at just the right instant.

To mem Pic of the Year means it comes from a different thought and angle than the norm.
The four pictures above are repetitive.
  • + 2
 Sam's picture makes me want to go back home to Yorkshire...and my parents can't even manage that.
  • + 1
 Exactly.
  • + 3
 You can slag off the photos being about action rather than meaning and composition all you want, but to me Sean Lee's photo just screams the flare and energy that downhill is all about and that's why I love it.
  • + 1
 Bummer PB! My vote is both photos in the 1st match up!!! This kinda unfair for the 2 guys who took 2 awesome photos! 3 guys going into a blind landing and a DHer nailing that corner as hard as you can! Should be 1st and 2nd respectively.IMO...
  • + 6
 Tim Koerber got robbed!
  • + 5
 Sam Needham too!
  • + 2
 If I could pos-prop this a million times, I would. Total shite.
  • + 5
 Sam Needham, you will always be POY in my heart 3 (no homo)
  • + 1
 at this point Laue is 99 % the winner imo.. Sean Lee's is more or less the same stuff like last year's POY , the S Lorence one is more about the rider's skill than photographic skill and R Thompson's is a cool photo sure but not semifinal's material.

shame about needham.
  • + 1
 They should do an amateur photo contest. Simple: Upload your best picture that YOU took, Pinkbike staff and pros go over them and weed out the good ones, then let the people choose the winner just like the POY contest. A bike company such as Specialized, Giant, Trek, etc. donates a bike for the winner and boom there's a contest.
  • + 0
 Laue's shot is my best of all four.

Has the best composition in all the four semifinalist....
- framing the subject
- leading lines(the track and the flow of the riders, it leads your eyes to the main subject)
- three subjects(from street photography rule)
- good foreground/subject/background(basic composition rule)

the rest are just 'sharp and nice colour' action shots
  • + 4
 the real winners get lost in this voting process "just saying"
  • + 2
 I don't know, I'm not seeing in Thompson's shot what so many others apparently are. Sick, yeah, but wasn't expecting it to come this far.
  • + 2
 Looks like a specialized promo pic is guaranteed to be in the finals...interesting.
  • + 3
 "OMG, dirt spray! VOTEVOTEVOTEVOTE"
  • + 4
 Laue for the win!!
  • + 1
 Will probably get neg propped but i thought that should have gone out first round. I can't even come up with a reason why I don't like it but it just doesn't do it for me,
  • + 3
 I know how you feel. It's well timed and cool framing of the 1st rider, but the composition is too messy, too much going on.
  • + 2
 The photos are all so good this year, I've never had such a hard time picking something.
  • + 3
 My favs are gone....no reason to vote now.
  • + 2
 La mejor foto era la de Akrigg bajo el árbol. De las que quedan voto por Sterling Lorence.
  • + 3
 Why should a pinkbike employee be eligible to win?
  • + 8
 because he took a very good photo? this is a POY contest and since the judging is up to the users (not pb staff deciding who took the best photo) I don't see how that could be unfair
  • - 5
flag pinkharo (Feb 23, 2015 at 7:08) (Below Threshold)
 When it comes to bias it is vital not just to refrain from it, but to avoid the very appearance of it. While PB may have been sincere in its efforts to be fair, it certainly failed in the latter. Disqualifying employees from contests is standard in all areas, so I suggest PB follow suit from hereon.
  • + 14
 Don't confuse employee with contributor. Vastly different things ;-)
  • + 0
 I vote Sean Lee however, I may be biased. Sterling will get it simply because look at that bloody well angle Matt Hunter is cornering at...
  • + 2
 Let's make this last one between Laue and Lawrence.
  • + 2
 Lorence*
  • + 1
 I don't know... Sterling's shot is ridiculous. Laue tells a story, but kind of lucky. I vote Hunter crushing a berm!
  • + 2
 It's a good pic, but its been splattered all over this website for ages now and i'm just kind of bored of it.
  • + 0
 Don't most of these photographers get bikes and shit given to them anyways?

Should separate this contest into 2 categories - Professional and Amateur photographers.
  • + 13
 Haha no not really
  • + 1
 Ha! Um, how about no. That's some nice assuming though.
  • + 0
 Tough choice today: to vote for photos that aren't good enough to be in the semis, or not vote at all. I opted for the former, and now I need a shower.
  • + 1
 elbow berm burner is timeless.
  • + 1
 the timing in Christoph Laue's is one in a million
  • + 1
 So hard to choose!
  • - 3
 Shaun Lee by far
  • - 3
 best. poy. ever.
  • + 3
 almost every matchup has been so difficult

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