Round 2 Voting Closed: 2020 Pinkbike Photo of the Year Contest

Feb 16, 2021
by Pinkbike Staff  

Voting is now well underway in the 10th annual Pinkbike Photo of the Year Contest presented by Jenson USA Below are the Round 1 matchups and who won each after the votes were cast. Once you see whether your favorites made it through, head on over to the voting page and cast your votes for the next round!

The winner will join John Wellburn, Toby Cowley, Sterling Lorence, Christoph Laue, Sean Lee, Steve Shannon, Robb Thompson, Richard Baybutt, and JB Liautard in the Pinkbike Photo of the Year Hall of Fame.

Match Up 1 - Winner: Nathan Hughes

Aosta overnight hut adventure with Olly Wilkins and Kathi Kuypers
Nathan Hughes: 57.2%

Peak of 2020
Mark Mackay: 42.8%

Match Up 2 - Winner: Jan Cadosch

Riding in front of the Matterhorn just after some snowfall at sunset
Jan Cadosch: 80.7%

Climbing above the valley floor after a morning of rain.
Dan Milner: 19.3%

Match Up 3 - Winner: Tom McNally

Finding unridden lines deep in a working slate mine in The Lake District.
Tom McNally: 67%

Blenki under the cover of darkness still doing what he does best.
Cameron Mackenzie: 33%

Match Up 4 - Winner: Jacob Gibbins

From a focus bikes trip to Madeira
Jacob Gibbins: 67.2%

Shortly before Covid hit I went out to the Sahara desert with Olly and Ben to answer that childhood question we ve always asked ourselves. What would it be like to ride down massive sand dunes
Roo Fowler: 32.8%

Match Up 5 - Winner: Tom Bowell

One of those moments where everything comes together. The location the light and of course the riding The sun broke through the clouds and created these rays perfectly over the hip at the top of the Darkfest line but it only lasted for maybe 5 minutes. Just enough time for Brendog to make his way down and boost the hip with effortless style
Tom Bowell 55.4%

Toby Cowley 44.6%

Match Up 6 - Winner: JB Liautard

JB Liautard: 51.7%

Dave Smith: 48.3%

Match Up 7 - Winner: Ross Bell

Ross Bell: 77.3%

Justin Olsen: 22.7%

Match Up 8 - Winner: John Entwistle

John Entwistle: 63.2%

James Vincent: 36.8%

Match Up 9 - Winner: Christoph Breiner

Christoph Breiner: 80.1 %

Janne Tj rnstr m riding in re Bike Park. Sweden.
Emrik Jansson: 19.9%

Match Up 10 - Winner: Colin Meagher

Nikki Rohan pedaling Strawberry Ridge at sunset in the Gifford Pinchot national forest.
Colin Meagher: 55.2 %

Brooks Curran - Vermont
Dave Trumpore: 44.8 %

Match Up 11 - Winner: Harookz

Matt Hunter Matty Miles - Kamloops BC - The Perfect Lap - Landmark Trailworks - Specialized Stumpjumper EVO
Harookz: 63.8%

Billy wallride table in the dark wearing a reflective tracksuit lit with a head torch during a long exposure image. Single flash burst. Shot with the Ilabb tracksuit for Ilabb.
Jay French: 36.2%

Match Up 12 - Winner: Trevor Lyden

POY 2020 entry. Cody Kelley at Mt. Bachelor Oregon with a massive berm explosion while shooting for the release of the Fox Racing 2020 fall apparel line.
Trevor Lyden: 77.4%

Henry Jaine: 22.6%

Match Up 13 - Winner: Luke Jarmey

Edge of the world flatearthsociety
Luke Jarmey: 81%

Friedrich Simon Kugi: 19%

Match Up 14 - Winner: Skye Schillhammer

2020 POY entry. Shot by Skye Schillhammer while on location shooting Jaxson for Transition Bikes.
Skye Schillhammer: 65.3%

Ian Collins: 34.7%

Match Up 15 - Winner: Mason Mashon

Mason Mashon: 64%

Cotton Mandy Skies
Calvin Huth: 36%

Match Up 16 - Winner: Sterling Lorence

Jackson Goldstone in Squamish BC
Sterling Lorence: 74.4%

Christophe Laue: 25.6%

What's at stake? $10,000 CASH!

Winner will receive a check for $5000
• Runner-up will receive a check for $3000
• Other semi-finalists will each receive $1000

In addition, this year we also have user prizing for voters courtesy of Jenson USA. Five lucky Pinkbike readers that vote for the Photo of the Year will win $200 Jenson USA gift cards.

Thank you Jenson USA.


How can I enter for a chance to win one of five $200 Jenson USA gift cards?

By simply voting as we progress to the eventual Photo of the Year winner, you will be entered for a chance to win. One entry per user per round goes into a random draw for the prize.


Author Info:
pinkbikeaudience avatar

Member since Jul 22, 2013
3,448 articles

  • 72 13
 Laue was robbed!
  • 31 2
 It seems that approximately 74.4% of voters disagree
  • 34 4
 @el-nombre: I think quite a few didn't get it. Took me a some seconds myself.
  • 5 1
 He gets robbed every year. He's had some of my favorites over the years and they always seem to get knocked out early.
  • 32 7
 @prevail: WAIT. You mean to suggest that in this culture of rapid information consumption, nuance and the art of subtlety are lost on the masses?
  • 12 4
 @erikkellison: Might also just be that if you're looking at it on a phone, the picture is tiny and you can't see the details that make it such a great shot. But yeah. What you said too. Kids these days...
  • 5 3
 Yeah, I can’t even imagine how he pulled that off. I’d like to think people just didn’t understand it or assumed it was done in post production.
  • 11 8
 Absolutely, what a disgrace along with Huth losing out to the easiest and most photographed spot ever.
  • 16 2
 @erikkellison: what subtlety. That photo is 100% gimmick?
  • 1 0
 @toast2266: He won once a few years back. He's one of my favourite photographers
  • 8 1
I don’t get why there is a glass window in the middle of that bike trail...
  • 4 10
flag bananowy (Feb 16, 2021 at 4:26) (Below Threshold)
 @scott-townes: Maybe because Huth's photo is a nature shot and this is an MTB photo contest? Is there even a bike in Huth's photo? I can't really tell.
  • 4 2
 @bananowy: the majority of entrants this year are landscapes to some degree.

They get votes. Technical merit and creativity do not, unfortunately, win this contest.
  • 13 2
 @bananowy: You've got bigger problems if you can't see the rider in Huth's photo.
  • 1 2
 @pourquois-pas: Yeah, agreed. I don't wanna say I was disappointed when I saw the final 32 because that would be too harsh on the photogs, but I was surprised by the ratio of National Geographic shots to actual mountain biking action photos - even more than last year.

For me, in this specific contest, capturing the rider's movement/flow down the trail is king. Ross Bell's is my favourite here, though the match-up with Olsen was super tough. Both fantastic at showing motion in a still shot.
  • 2 6
flag bananowy (Feb 16, 2021 at 4:58) (Below Threshold)
 @scott-townes: You've got even bigger ones if you don't understand obvious hyperbole (or rather choose to ignore it so you can troll).
  • 1 0
  • 3 0
 Honestly, I think a lot of people must be looking at these photos on their phones. I had to make Laue's pic pretty large to actually see what's going on there. Awesome shot tho! Shame he's already voted out. I really liked Calvin Huth's photo as well. Was shocked that it was eliminated in the first round too. But figured it maybe suffered from the same fate. Hard to see the rider on a smaller screen.
  • 7 0
 @bananowy: To each their own. But personally for me, it's about the overall composition. Starting with showcasing the surroundings, nature etc. And then tying a great shot of some riding into that backdrop. Living in the western US, my riding is as much about the scenery and environments as it is about the actual ride itself. And I KNOW I'm not the only rider on here who feels this way.
  • 7 0
 @tmwjr777: I've said that before in years past. I appreciate the ones where the photograph is set up spectacularly, whether its the background or the foreground, or the action, or what the biker is doing, or perspective and focus. But the epic scenery ones that are composed well just speak to me. They convey a feeling of the freedom and stress relief that is riding out in the open. The colors and epic backgrounds and bike guy being out there does it for me visually.
  • 4 1
 @tmwjr777: I'm using a large screen and my opinion on tiny riders stands. I would agree 100% with you if it was an art photo contest or nature photo contest, but it's not. Laue's work is genius but not "the best mtb pic".

I totally get how scenery is a massive part of mtb, I feel you. I still think if the rider is an afterthought in the pic, it's not a great mtb photo. Of course it can't just be generic shralping in a boring spot either.

The ideal photo for me would combine making the rider prominent and capturing movement well (doesn't have to be a crazy trick or air, more about conveying that elusive flow) with a fantastic surrounding. Cadosch and Gibbins do both very well for example, although I wish they were face shots instead of ass shots. Bell's is by far the best riding shot IMHO and not like the surrounding is not beautiful in it, just not as vast. Mashon has a great combo of impressive riding with an epic background and the rider is highlighted even though it's not a close-up so it can be done.

I'd say right now my 1st and 2nd place are Bell and Mashon.
  • 1 0
 @toast2266: Yeah, I would guess that most people are checking these out on their phone and missing a lot of detail and nuance which is a shame. There are more that a few photos that look miles better than the winner when viewed on a large screen.
  • 19 0
 How many years has POY been going for now? It would be cool to see a sort of champion of champions version with all past winners pitted against each other if there was enough of them.
  • 3 0
 That would be really f**king cool!!!
  • 14 0
 Meagher vs the waterfall..... those are both so good!
  • 3 0
 The waterfall might be favorite. Either that one, or Jan Cadosch's.
  • 9 1
 I just don't get what happened in Match Up 16... One of the most creative photos in last few years of the contest loses by a big margin to one of the most generic photos. And I'm saying this being a great fan of Sterling's work over the previous years.
  • 10 0
 Laue's photo is very impressive technically and must have been incredibly difficult to pull off but it is more about the technical challenge of taking the photo than the photo itself. It is not actually that pleasing to look at at a glance and you have to examine it closely to understand what he has managed to achieve.
  • 11 4
 @Patrick9-32: And he could use the exact same setup to take a picture of his dog, his car, his house and enter them in contests for animal, car, or architecture photography.

Nice technical work - not capturing much about mountain biking though.
  • 7 2
 I would be a fan of showing the photos without a name attached at the voting stage. Maybe everyone else is less biased, but there are a few in here where I found myself valuing the bigger name photographers over the competition after looking at the name.
  • 5 0
 Mind-blown! Beyond stoked and surprised to make it through to the next round! Cheers to anyone/everyone that voted! Not surprised to see so many close results! Good luck to everyone in the next round
  • 2 0
 Well deserved man! Best luck for the following rounds!
  • 1 0
 @qphoto: thank you dude!
  • 7 1
 Specialized legal department is really out in force today...
  • 6 4
 Just to be sure, the red box when voting indicates the one we want to win, right? Red box and red X on the round 1 losers are close enough in appearance to make me second guess for an instant.
  • 3 0
 Yep! Red box is the one you’ve chosen to vote through to the next round!
  • 4 0
 I didn't know that the bass player from The Who is also a mountain bike photographer.
  • 1 0
 It has been a fun endeavour in my second life.
  • 1 0
 Tough one there between Bell and Entwistle.
Bell's pic may be my favourite of the contest but Entwistle's pic has a nice composition, with the grass(?) on the left creating a frame with the trees on the right, and the biker/landscape in it.
And both have pink flowers.
Voted for Bell though.
  • 4 0
 Always a crapshoot in these things - especially when you have two completely different images pitted against each other! That whole gallery from Ross was insane - and that image definitely stood out.

And yes, it was grass. I think my back is still dirty from lying there for so long Razz
  • 3 1
 What deleted bike review? Can someone DM me the details... or did someone copy it and can send it my way?

Has specialized heard about the streisand effect? lol
  • 5 0
 Yeah, it's either specialized using the streisand effect to attempt to increase buzz, which ( if they are) is weird and kinda gross in my opinion..... Or pinkbike told Levy to redo his homework. It was pretty biased. Levy always seems pretty biased in favor of specialized bikes. He praised it's cornering so much, without acknowledging that the better suspension and tires or his test bike would obviously make it corner better than a stock bike, chassis (geo and flex characteristics) is very important to handling, but it's not the only factor. But I didn't watch the video, so maybe he was a bit more more honest and up front about the limitations of his review in it.
  • 1 0
 @kcy4130: I think it was taken down beacause he talked about the 160mm of rear travel while it only had 140mm.
  • 1 0
 wow... seriously thought vincent was gonna win the whole thing this year. picked the winner from the get-go the last two years, but guess i've lost my mojo! all great shots.
  • 3 0
 Ha ha, thanks dude. Consider yourself added to my Christmas card list.
  • 2 0
 Winner of matchup 12 combines the elements of roost plus backlighting, which has become the new roost over the past couple years.
  • 1 0
 I honestly don't really understand how Calvin Huth's photo was eliminated already, other than he started with a tough matchup. I thought for sure that one would make it to at least the final four.
  • 6 5
 Read both the review and the commend before deletion I think.., is delerium a sign of having covid...,maybe I should get tested
  • 6 0
 What was the comment about?
  • 1 0
 I'm not doing any of these great photogs any favours...I only batted 50% in the first round.

I'm voting in R2, sorry in advance.
  • 2 0
 I love Sterling's shot. I don't know how he gets them so good in such a dark rainforest.
  • 2 0
 Should I just go ahead and mentally give it to Trevor Lyden now so I'm not mad later?
  • 1 0
 Sigh. Gotta love Pinkbike. The one pic that has serious climbing, boom instant lowest voter percentage. And Laue's ... sad to see that go...
  • 1 0
 Dan Milner's ?
Yeah I think I voted for it. As beautiful as the other one is, Milner's one has that weird flattened perspective making the ground look like a wall, and the tiny cloud just at the right place right time.
  • 2 1
 Maybe that's because Dan's photo feels so artificial. The riders' poses are clearly exaggerated, there is no trail where they are riding, nothing about it makes you think even for a second that they've really just been climbing there (obviously I know all photos are staged but the art is in making it not feel as such).

It just screams "yeah guys get over there and pretend you're climbing super hard; don't forget your brightest matchy-matchy kits". Looks like taken straight from a cheesy 90's paper magazine ad.
  • 2 0
 @bananowy: To me it looks like there's a trail. And the cloud is hardly staged.
  • 1 0
 @Will-narayan: After looking closer, I think you're right and the trail is there. My bad. But I stand by the rest of what I said.
  • 1 0
 @bananowy: You really don't like this picture much haha :p
The original caption says "Climbing above the valley floor after a morning of rain", so if the "wall" behind indeed is the valley floor, they may be climbing a 20% grade slope there, if so their poses may not be really exaggerated^^
  • 1 0
 @Will-narayan: Hard to really actively dislike any of those 32 because they're all superb quality, absolutely don't want to be a dick to Dan Milner (not that he cares about my opinion) Wink It's less "dislike" than "like less than others in this great set".

If it helps, it's not my least favourite, that would be the ones where you can't see the riders.

But yeah for some reason it struck me as a bit off and instantly reminded me of something like this: Wink
  • 2 0
 Or it could just be Jan Cadosch's pic is really, really good. It's combines beautiful scenery with great lighting and a biker you can actually see clearly. The only flaw is that it's an ass shot.
  • 1 0
 @bananowy: Ok, in a way it show how stupid all these contests are as we all have different criteria. So then we just have to take it the other way : No criteria matters, just vote for what we like. I think 75% of those I voted for are gone in the 1st round. I didn't necessarily voted for the one I prefere, more for the one where I thought there was more "work" or "thought process", but I may also be wrong.

What I liked most about Milner's pic is the "Inception" effect we get from the valley ground getting so vertical. Obviously you perceived it very differently :p
  • 2 0
 Thank you for all those beautiful pictures, I’ve chosen my winner, and, sorry for that, do not feel the need to share it.
  • 1 1
 use some data science to find out best pics, brexit shows voting may not be always the best solution. so many good photos lost to hard matchups. and some ok ones sailing past due to weak matchups. dumb
  • 3 0
 It's a photography contest. Their is no "best" except in the opinion of the viewers. The vote determines which photo was liked by the most people. Voting is a perfect way to do the contest. I'm not sold on the tournament style match-up thing either, but would you really prefer they ran the photos through a google algorithm and just announced the winner?
  • 2 0
 There’s a mistake on the matchup 4 percentages
  • 2 0
 Fixed, thanks!
  • 2 0
 Man that R5 vote was tough for me and a lot of other people.
  • 2 0
 Jay French’s was my fav Frown
Pleased with much of the others Smile
  • 3 2
 So where is the mountain biking in the winner of matchup 13? Nice post card. Mountain bike photo? Not so much.
  • 3 1
 I think that a bow legged runner in the photo.
  • 2 2

What's with the nature shots with tiny, almost invisible bikes? Is this PB or NatGeo?
  • 1 0
 The losers of matchups 1, 9 and 10 lost for precisely the same reason I’m criticizing the matchup 13 winner. Change my mind.
  • 2 2
 This contest goes to show that sometimes the people have poor taste and should not have the privilege in deciding the best photo of the year...
  • 1 0
 The rider in JB Liautard's photography must be Duane Barry. The Truth is Out There...
  • 10 10
 Hey how did the 1st comment about the deleted bike review get deleted....Is that what hapened to all the trump votes?
  • 1 0
 Rnd 2 match up 8 was a tough choice
  • 1 0
 Bell, ding ding!
  • 4 5
 You guys voted for a photo with the filmer gaping on the knuckle..
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