The Mark Gunter Photo Awards: Editor's Picks
With entries still flooding in for this year's Mark Gunter Photo Awards, we asked Rouleur editor Edward Pickering to select a few of his favourites.
From Daryl Impey blasting up a Basque switchback, to The Tour of Britain caravan rolling through epic British moorland, to a dimly lit workshop in the war-torn Ukraine, these images show the staggering depth of photographic talent working to capture cycling in all its wonderful guises today.
We are truly grateful for all the photographs we've seen so far. Every single entry makes a difference in more ways than one – with each image entered, we continue to raise funds for cancer charity Tour de Cure.
The competition will close on Sunday the 8th of January at 08:00am GMT, after which our group of judges will begin the gruelling task of narrowing down the hundreds of images to a shortlist, with the winning images being selected thereafter.
Photo credit - Naike Ereñozaga Orue (@naikefotosport)
I love the intimacy and the sense of fun in this photograph. In no other sport can you get this close to the protagonists, and crowds of fans lining the road on climbs are part of the unique colour and atmosphere of cycling. I missed that terribly during the pandemic years.
Sometimes when I look at pictures I respond quite rationally – my art history degree kicks in and I start thinking about composition, colour and all the formal aspects. In this picture, for example, there’s no foreground or background as such; it’s crowded and dense, and that’s why this picture immediately affected me more emotionally. Because of that tight framing I feel that I’m part of the crowd, and I can imagine the noise, heat, colour, adrenaline and enthusiasm – if there had been sky or landscape in the picture, that would have been lost.
I also find myself wondering what’s going on – Impey is gesturing and almost smiling, while the fans also have smiles on their faces, and I guess Impey was working the crowd as he rode up. I love the little details as well: the bright orange colours which Basque fans often wear really make this a warm image, offset by the cooler blue and white of Impey’s kit; there’s also an incongruous Breton flag in the mix – Bretons and Basques may be distant geographically, but this juxtaposition makes me think of the cultural pride each region feels. It’s a great photograph which really took me to the roadside.
Photo credit - Gary Main (@garymainphotographer)
I’m a sucker for a British moorland landscape – I grew up tromping around Dartmoor and the purple heather, bare grassland and ever-present threat of imminent rain create an atmosphere all of their own. Scotland’s topography is a bit more dramatic, as you can see in Gary’s photo, but the muted colours and light floating through humid air are familiar to me, and very evocative.
Of course, this is a landscape picture, so I’m mostly looking at the scenery and sensing the chilly dampness, but there’s more to it than that. I love the curves of the road in the foreground, then into the middle ground on the left, and then again in the distance on the right. The road takes my eye right through the picture and into the valley between the two mountains. I also love the texture added by the grazing sheep and the few scruffy trees.
But you also get a sense from this picture of how small a bike race actually is – the peloton is maybe 30 metres long, and the following cars another 200m or so; in this case the bike race is dwarfed by the landscape. It reminds me that the landscapes in which bike races take place are the greatest sports stadium in the world.
Photo credit - Iurii Makalis (@makalisiurii)
Sometimes it’s what’s not in the picture that is most important. Bike workshops are always very photogenic and atmospheric, and this one looks like an Aladdin’s cave of tools, parts, wheels and bits and bobs. You can almost smell the tyre rubber and oil.
However, this particular image tells a much bigger story. Iurii Makalis’s caption reads: “Tough and brutal year. Oleg Berezovskiy, coach of Athlet cycling team from Odesa, Ukraine checking his phone for news after short training session in team’s workshop during total blackout in the city.”
This picture reminds me of the incredibly difficult circumstances in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, and more importantly makes me feel kinship and solidarity with Ukrainians, whether cyclists or not. Sometimes a photo is nice or interesting to look at; this one goes further – it tells a story.