The 2018 Photo of the Year Winner is…

Mar 14, 2019 at 11:54
by Pinkbike Staff  
Richard Baybutt's Winning Image for 2018 Photo of the Year

We gave you the top 32 images from 2018 and after more than 300,000 votes were cast you, our readers, have voted for the winner and ultimately chosen the 2018 Photo of the Year presented by Jenson USA. The winner will be divvying up the $10,000 in CASH with the top four.

Check out the voting page for all the results from each bracket.

The 8th annual Pinkbike Photo of the Year Contest is a wrap and Richard Baybutt will be joining the ranks of Sean Lee, John Wellburn, Toby Cowley, Sterling Lorence, Christoph Laue, Steve Shannon and Robb Thompson in the Pinkbike Photo of the Year Hall of Fame.

How Did Photo Of The Year Work?
From thousands of nominated photos, 32 were selected to pit against each other in a college basketball bracket-like showdown. At that point it was up to you, the users, to vote on the match-ups. The photos with the most votes moved on to the next round. So 32 photos narrowed down to 16, then 8, 4, 2 until there was a single photo deemed the 2018 Photo of the Year Presented by Jenson USA.

What was at stake? $10,000 Cash

Richard Baybutt will receive a check for $5,000
• Sterling Lorence will receive a check for $3,000
• Dan Milner and Thomas Gaffney will each receive a check for $1,000

There was also a Voter Prize this year. The winner of the $1000 Jenson USA gift card is @Rallyrat427. Thanks to everyone for voting!

Thanks to Jenson USA

We've reached out to Richard Baybutt for an interview.

MENTIONS: @jensonusa / @baybutt / @sterlinglorence / @DanMilner / @tgphotography


  • 150 32
 I think this photo captures the essence of what mountain biking is all about. Being outside, excercising, with beautiful scenery. I ride bikes to seek out places like this.
  • 35 18
 Exactly. About time a scenery shot won Smile
  • 105 17
 I'd agree.... if it were on an actual trail.
  • 20 4
 @funkendrenchman: Some places it's ok to "freeride" for real. I do it all the time.
  • 17 10
 @loopie: Sure, but to me it looks staged for the photo. You could say the same about the other photo, but it's a trick on a specific hit.
  • 69 12
 Does the essence of the photo change without the bike...No. So its not a MTB photo. It is a beautiful scenery photo that won a MTB photo contest.
  • 47 7
 I'm generally a scenery/adventure photo guy vs. a close up getting rad photo guy, but this particular one wasn't close to the best one of its category in the contest this year. I just don't get how it won.
  • 82 9
 Mountain biking is about constantly buying new stuff and whining on stuff you didn’t buy.
  • 12 3
 @vikb: you apparently live in a place where it's common to see a valley of pure white impenetrable fog w/ a monster of a sunrise coming up across a distant peak bathing a land of verdant green brillance full of life and vibrance?

This pic could be blurry as crap and still I'd drool at the thought of sitting right there soaking it all in.
  • 13 6
 This is the kind of photo that would go in a calendar. It's nice to look at, but by the time the next month rolls around, you've mostly forgotten about it. Lorence's is the kind of photo that gets framed. It's so unique that you can look at it over and over and still be impressed. And I'm still annoyed that Christoph Laue go knocked out early. That was an awesome picture.
  • 6 1
 @toast2266: Laue's was hands down my number one.
  • 11 0

Every photo taken is a staged one. Sometimes by the model but always by the photographer.

As soon as I see a bike I like, I already “stage” a potential photo in my mind as a photographer.
  • 7 0
 Yup, Christopher Laue's had all the elements going for it: action, colour and contrast, mood with the black dirt and wetness, all in a location which makes you go WHERE?!?
  • 3 2
 @toast2266: Its a calendar or an advertising shot. As a media outlet, a PB photo contest should be like a photojournalism contest - capturing something that really happened perfectly. Could be at Rampage, could be a crash in the forest or Connor Fearon roosting a corner during a shoot.
  • 3 4

Yup looks cool but it's totally staged. Its just off the side of this road!,-1.7949514,3a,75y,247.74h,110.88t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sWHldPcMGEZBhe02FaWaMGQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

...I wonder if the rider even went down the bank?
  • 120 25
 Meh. Unfocused rider. Doesn't do it for me! Sterlings photo was so next level with what went into it.
  • 15 2
 100%. Everything about sterlings shot was outstanding. From Brett's riding to Sterling's finished product; the creative process of both parties is clear and it's truly impressive!
  • 10 2
 I don't want to take anything away from Sterling's photo, because it's certainly a rad photo. But for those inclined to cynicism and/or fanboy-ism, your same comment can be made about his too: i.e., "Meh. Cool moonscape photo with a dark blob in the sky that has a wheel coming off the top of it. Doesn't do it for me."
  • 4 0
 @tjallen: Yeah, cool photo, probably would look great poster sized, but the over the top moonscape post-processing was too much for me even though I think I did vote for it. There were others that didn't make the finals that were better.
  • 4 5
 Sterl's photo, was the photo of the decade.
  • 4 0
 apparently not.... the voters voted.
  • 1 0
 @smithcreek: no post-processing in the Utah Rheeder photo, zero post-processing! Could have been shot on film, a stunning image
  • 80 18
 Sterling was robbed!
  • 44 7
 Great photo but it's a scenery shot. The bike in the shot or out of the shot doesn't effect it as a picture what so over. The Sterling shot... is about the rider and setting up the entire seen. Much more complete BIKE image in my opinion. But the winner is a beautiful scene.
  • 4 0
 It makes you want to experience the same feeling; mountains, fog, scenery. Not everyone can do tricks or have someone post process the photo. If you want a BIKE photo, who needs the rider or location, duh!
  • 39 3
 People are ridiculous. How-about for once, someone - who is VOTED for - wins and gets nothing but congratulations!? Your favorite doesn’t win and you lessen the awesome accomplishment for the guy that does? It’s not a professional photography contest anyway; it’s the favorite shot decided by riders.

Congrats to anyone that competed, got close and especially, the W I N N E R ! !
(And congrats to anyone that stayed classy and stuck to congratulating the winner.)
  • 5 0
 Thats it!
  • 3 0
 was about to go to the bottom and post the same...fanboys will always whine
  • 2 0
 You're asking too much. LOL!
  • 34 7
 Its a scenery shot. While a nice photo. I think MTB should take the center stage. With that the people have made their choice so congrats to photographer.
  • 3 1
 and what does the M stand for in MTB
  • 11 0
 @rcrdrvr: Moun?
  • 2 0
 @Neechy: ha, nailed it...had to think about that one
  • 23 9
 Honestly, shocked. I backed Sterling from the start, for me, his photo was a worthy winner of a photography competition...the technical skill, prep and process of getting the shot, the originality and the execution...all incredible. I just can't help but feel a mtb photo contest should be won by a shot that at least has the rider/bike in focus....*shrug*
  • 1 1
 ha...nice statement, half the people on here think that whole shot was set up by the It was to crisp with all the post processing imo, good poster, but done way to many times.
  • 1 0
 @rcrdrvr: I don't really know what you just said or what you meant..
  • 1 0
 @TombPhoto: uhm...not sure what I meant either, too sleepy and read this wrong - 'The Sterling shot... is about the rider and setting up the entire seen'.
  • 13 3
 Scenery or not, everyone has their favourites and this certainly was one of mine. They were all actually amazing congrats to everyone who got in the contest, and thanks for all of your amazing photos.
  • 17 6
 This puts the mountain back in mountain biking. No roost. No dogs. No staged photos of contrived hits that the majority of Pinkbikers aren't capable of sending.
  • 5 2
 You don't think it was staged? He's not even on a trail.
  • 8 1
 @Rubberelli: man, you're so but hurt about this.

All the photos are "staged" but none more so than the photo that came second. Manicured jump. Unnatural light from a drone. Probably multiple runs over and over again to get as many possible shots, on the hope that one is alright. I honestly can't see how that photo wasn't just as, if not substantially more, "staged" as the winner?

The internet is a weird place. The illogical points of view, actually, baffle me.
  • 1 2
  • 2 2
 @Pedro404: so every single photo in a skateboard magazine is staged because the skater repeatedly practiced the trick before getting it? That is somehow equivalent to taking a photo of a skater on top of a skyscraper to make it look like he had just gaped from one building to another, when in fact he did not? That makes zero sense.
  • 2 0
 @Rubberelli: I honestly can't see how you can't see that they're both "staged", just in different ways.
I understand what you're trying to say, I just don't think "staged" is the right word.
  • 2 2
 @samfr1000: because trying a trick or seasioning a section is something people do all the time whether or not there is a camera there snapping each attempt. A WC racer comes down the same course numerous times to practice, if a photographer catches a great shot that is real. Hiking your bike to the top of a rampage line and posing as if you rode it is a staged photo.
  • 1 0
 @Rubberelli: If you have multiple attempts at the photo, especially as you're probably snapping several photos a second, then how is the photo any better or less "staged" than this one? At the end of the day does it really matter if it was a keen eye, repetition, luck or a combination of all these factors that resulted in the photo?

I think your view is massively tainted by the fact you think the rider did not actually come down that hill and is instead doing a track stand. I've seen the other photos, he rode down it. this photo is probably the best out of six or seven photos that were taken as the rider rounded that corner and came down the hill. So that would seem much more like your world cup racer example. However, it doesn't really matter.

I think your argument is based on floored logic, but it's your opinion and you're entitled to it. I'm sorry you weren't happy with the winner this year. Maybe more people will agree with you next year.

All the best,

  • 2 0
 All photographers take repeated shots to catch what they want, wheter they are shooting in a war zone or inside of a studio. However, there is the implicit understanding between PB and the reader that these photos were all catching real mountain biking in action. There are a hundred other contests for outdoor photography, staged ad shots etc. If this photo was just a biker trying to ride an uncut line and the photographer got a great vantage point to catch the shot of a lifetime, then hats off to them and they deserve the win. But many people are defending the photo with a "all photos are staged" argument that is ridiculous and certainly makes it seem as if it is known that the photo was staged.
  • 1 0
 @Rubberelli: You clearly doubt that this is, in fact, "real mountain biking in action". I'm certain I've seen the subsequent shots, where the rider is coming down that hill.

I don't doubt the photographer spotted the vantage point and that he rider went up and down several times, and the best shot just happened to be the one that won POY - where the sun was just creeping out of the corner, over the peaks. I also see this as being no different to making Brett Rheeder repeat his trick multiple times in search of the "one shot". So it is at this point that I take offence to the "that photo is so staged and the other is genuine" nonsense.

Personally, of the two in the final, I much preferred the winner as I didn't like the use of the drone for lighting the other shot - I mean it's impressive, but I didn't like the fact the flash was in the image. It felt more like a display of "look at my equipment and what I did to get this photo" rather than feeling like a genuine mountain bike photo - which I guess is possible also what people disliked about the winner, "it's more of a scenery shot". Also, I appreciate more of the "out mountain biking" shots than the "look at the sick trick dude, I'm a pro rider", as I find them considerably more relatable.

Each to their own though. Both photos came away with prizes in the end. If I can track down the other photos in the winner's sequence, I'll link them to you.
  • 1 0
 @Rubberelli: There you go - - a few more photos on there for you to review.
  • 1 0
 @samfr1000: As I said, if the guy really rode this and the photographer got the pefrect shot, then by all means, he earned this prize. And clearly that was the case. You do the photographer a disservice by saying a staged shot is the same as a perfectly captured real moment. Not to say that a staged or studio shot is any lesser than a captured moment, but they belong in a diifferent category. Someone who just uses the sun and another shooter with a full array of light and bounces, a model and a controlled environment is not fair amd frankly is a different art form entirely.
  • 1 0
 @Rubberelli: I'm definitely not the one throwing the word "staged" around. That's the very word that I thought was unfairly used at Richard's photo - especially given that it couldn't be further from the truth.

I also definitely would not want to cause offence to any photographer. They're all vastly more talented than I am and I appreciate any and all work. From studio work to snapshots, a good shot is a good shot and all the 32 POY contenders were cycling photos in their own way. Someone else interpretation and depiction of an adventure or a moment in time.

I'll stand by my opinion of the runner up. An impressive photo but not one I was as keen on. The joys of opinions are that we all have one and neither person is anymore right than the other - the consensus of group may agree with one opinion more than another but that doesn't make it any more or less valid.

What is wrong though, is throwing incorrect statements around - like calling something "staged", when it wasn't - and trying to belittle someone's work, when the consensus doesn't agree with you.
  • 8 0
 Can we have a recap of all the photos that have won over the last eight years. It would be nice to seen that kind of pictures have got to the end over the years. I for one have forgotten most of them as there are so many good photos on this sight.
  • 3 0
 They should make a calendar
  • 1 0
 @cliffhanger4life: Just four more years to go.
  • 9 3
 Thomas Gaffney's shot. Every photographer in this contest could have spent a year trying to capture what Gaffney got, and nobody would have pulled it off. Perfect composition, perfect timing, wickedly unique and just as eye catching to the action sports fan as it is to the photography fan as it is to a casual passerby. That was the shot that should be up in a gallery.
  • 6 0
 Cheers pal, kind words! Naturel can suck it Wink
  • 10 3
 The dog got robbed. I always like "mountain bike photos" to have a real trail, with action, and interesting scenery/ background.
  • 6 1
 This picture had a greater image of the scenery, but I didn't feel that it mountain biking so much since the rider is so small and it seems that he is not riding. Anyway, Congrats on the win though.
  • 7 2
 For me, this is what it's all about, finding beautiful locations, getting lost for the day and finding sweet little sections of single track off the beaten road. Congrats on a sensational image.
  • 12 3
 Gaffney was robbed
  • 3 1
  • 12 0
 @BDmegafan: Cheers! Glad I was beaten by the best though. Good work Baybutt!
  • 8 1
 wonder why the Russians wanted this one to win
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 @rcrdrvr: I think it's in relation to how the russians supported trump and brexit at those key votes.
  • 3 0
 somehow i really didnt like most of the pictures in this years vote..
a good MOUNTAINBIKE-picture for me is like a bike-edit: it makes me wanna ride my bike instantly. most of the pictures this year were way to much epicness/scenery/artsy for me. probably nice pictures but for me not really cool mountainbike-pictures.
  • 5 0
 I liked the other one better, but this is still a good photo, don't know what people are all riled up about..
  • 3 0
 I like your perspective. The rile-ing is just fanboi-ism. It is the internet after all...
  • 1 0
 @tjallen: yup, fanboys whine
  • 5 0
 I didn’t vote and wouldn’t be a bitch about it if voted for a photo that didn’t win. Nobody got robbed.
  • 1 2
 Indeed, much to the contrary. Someone got PAID!
  • 3 1
 I don’t get all the whiners with their „but look what it took to get the shot“. Honestly, no one should care or even have access to those information, the end result is ALL that counts. And if someone was lying in a tent for a year at -40 does not make the shot better, so it should never be a criteria..
  • 2 0
 It's art and by nature, subjective so I have massive respect for every photographer who put their work out there to be run through the POY gristmill. I do think, It would be interesting to see a comparison between public voting and a selection of judges who are experts in the field. Personally...Sterl's shot probably had the most technical difficulty, a difficult build and the Rheeder was clicked so it had my vote. I expect to see this shot as a finalist in this year's Redbull Illume.
  • 13 8
 Wonder how this photo looks with no photoshop
  • 10 0
 You mean either of them? I think it's fair to say that there's not a professional digital photo posted that doesn't have a fair bit of post-processing going on.
  • 1 1
 @tjallen: blury parts...maybe not post processed for the winner, hence he won
  • 4 0
 Didn't wote for this one. But anyway congrats to the winner, it's amazing photo as well!
  • 1 0
 Starlings shot was sick, it defiantly had an artistic value in both shooting and riding.
But, after looking at what this rider was actually going to roll into... damn. If that “trail” goes down that steep, long, undoubtedly slippery slope, that’s ridiculous.
  • 3 0
 i guess i dont understand photography at all , every year , all the pics i like get canned 2nd 3rd 4th round and dont win ??
  • 1 0
 just gives credence to the fact that there are many photographers out there putting out great work. thus, mixed opinions
  • 3 0
 like most cool shit in life, the essence of putting yourself in the right place at the right time is special. The winning shot encapsulates and embodies that; in the moment.
  • 10 6
 It is a pretty cool pic, but it has noting on Sterlings photo!
  • 2 1
 Sterls to me is too artificial.... not as much soul
  • 2 3
 @jaydawg69: Track standing on a hill off the side of a road is the definition of artificial....
  • 1 1
 @scott-townes: disagree....
  • 4 0
 Cool photo but it’s not my cup of tea. So many better pics 2 cents
  • 1 1
 This is certainly a great photo but I don't feel that it's a great "mountain bike" photo. You could replace the bike with almost anything, horse, hiker, etc and it would still be a great photo. I felt that the other one was a better mountain bike specific photo.
  • 13 9
 Sterling got robbed!!!
  • 2 0
 "receive a check for $5,000" or "receive a cheque for $5000" I thought PB was Canadian.
  • 2 0
 it ain't.
  • 2 0
 It is.
  • 3 2
 Laue got robbed... where is trail, trailrider is exploring? ... Laue does not have a trail visible either I guess... fack...just give it to the dog.
  • 2 0
 Imo the shootout style isn't condusive of selecting the POY... until my favorite wins of course. Haha
  • 3 2
 Stoked for Richard! This was my favourite photo from the start, as someone who rides the Peak District with a camera in my bag, this is the sort of shot I dream of taking!
  • 2 0
 Congrats @Rallyrat427 you da real mvp. Way to be winning just for voting.
  • 2 0
 Thanks, I never win anything, so I'm pretty stoked to say the least.
  • 2 1
 Fuck yea. Thought this photo would win! Congratulations to the photographer.
  • 2 0
 Congrats! Keeping it real!
  • 2 0
 Disappointed it’s not a roost picture
  • 2 0
 Pinkbike old folk won the vote. Sad.
  • 2 1
 I’m absolutely shocked that Sterling’s photo didn’t win. Miles better than this staged sunset shot.
  • 1 0
 Nice ! but i prefer Sterling photo beacuse the imagination, creativity, light with drone, the atmosphere, was perfect !.
  • 1 0
 So chapped about this. Good photo but the other one was photo of the year for me
  • 1 1
 Next time could you just put the photo and the name of the winner in the title so I don’t have to scroll past all this whiney bitching?
  • 7 7
 Oh yeah poor hard done by Sterling, who got $3,000 and has already won POTY before... lol Wink
  • 3 7
flag WAKIdesigns (Mar 15, 2019 at 15:23) (Below Threshold)
 Lance won TDF 7 times, Sterling can win POY a few times as well
  • 3 1
 @WAKIdesigns: what drugs make you a better photographer?
  • 11 6
 @taprider: megapixels
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I'll take a 'gram
  • 8 6
 I am so butthurt...
  • 4 3
 Not once did I vote for this photo. I demand a recount!
  • 1 0
 Does he have to divvy up the cash? Or is he being generous?!
  • 2 0
  • 3 1
 Shannon was robbed
  • 1 0
 pink bike landscape photography of the year competition 2019
  • 3 2
 Dan Milner was robbed
  • 2 1
 @roofowler was robbed Smile Shit, is it too late for that comment?
  • 6 5
  • 2 1
  • 1 0
 I am disappointed.
  • 1 0
  • 4 4
 Sterling got robbed.

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