2018 Bikepacking Awards: Film, Photography & Art
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In part two of our 2018 Bikepacking Awards series, we honor the creative arts, showcasing talented bikepackers with 22 awards in six different categories, including Best Short Film, Best Trip Photography, and Best in Art…
Following part one of this year’s Bikepacking Awards—where we looked at the 2018 Gear of The Year—part two focuses on the photographs, films, and creative expressions that have helped spread the stoke. We’re recognizing the efforts that have helped teach viewers about parts of the world both near and far, encouraged folks to creatively document their own rides, or simply allowed the rest of us to share in the adventure.
So, without further delay, here are our awards for what we consider to be the best, most impactful photography, video, artwork, and creative documentation from 2018. Each category features four items – one winner and three honorable mentions. We won’t deny wrestling over each decision; every entry deserves applause, so please take some time to admire and enjoy their efforts, just as we have.
Best Full Film
The Frozen Road
By Ben Page. The Frozen Road depicts and incredible month-long expedition from Canada’s remote and frozen Yukon Territory to the Arctic Sea. This was just one month within a three-year bike trip that British filmmaker Ben Page began in 2014. Since its release, it’s won several film awards at festivals around the world. See additional photos and read a Q&A with Ben here.
by Jay Ritchey. El Silencio: Cycling the Peru Divide tells the story of a group of riders and their journey across the mountainous heart of Peru’s Central Cordillera, a region noted for its remoteness and its quietness. In Jay’s authentic style, El Silencio captures the beauty, culture, and character of the trip and the riders. See our original coverage here.
by The Adventure Syndicate. Fear of failure can stop all sorts of adventures before they even start, but what if failing is the best part? In 2017, Rickie Cotter and Lee Craigie rode the Tour Divide. Shot entirely using a GoPro and an iPhone, Divided documents the two friends on an inspirational journey from Canada to Mexico.
Journey Beyond II
by Joel Christoff / Marc Maurer / Timo Seidel. The sequel to A Journey Beyond, this film follows Bombtrack supported rider Marc Maurer as he cycles over 3,500 kilometers through Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan along the Pamir Highway. See our coverage and a Q&A with Marc here.
Best Short Film
By Joey Schusler. “High in the Himalayan hinterlands of Sichuan province, three massive mountains soar above sprawling floodplains and bamboo forests below. For Tibetans, a successful pilgrimage around the base of these sacred giants—known as the Yading Kora–is believed to purify a lifetime of negative karma.” Inspired by this idea, Brice Minnigh, Joey Schusler, and Sam Seward set out by bike on a 10-day, self-supported bikepacking journey to attempt the Kora. The result is a beautiful short film that tells their story with epic scenery and a mystical narrative. See our original coverage here.
By Tyler-Wilkinson Ray / Colin Arisman / Luke Kantola. Chasing Wild follows three friends through BC’s vast boreal forests and frigid whitewater to share the Tahltan’s fight to protect their homeland. Along the way, they catch monster trout, run from a grizzly, and get a glimpse inside a massive open pit mine. The film contrasts an exciting look at their journey with a sobering window into what’s happening to this wild landscape. See more photos and a Q&A here.
by Anthill Films. Pro mountain biker Matt Hunter sets out with Charlie McLellan, director Darcy Wittenburg, and photographer Nicolas Teichrob to Haida Gwaii, a remote archipelago off BC’s west coast. To make things interesting, they opted not to pack a single morsel of food. Instead, they foraged, fished, and hunted for every calorie they needed to power this seven day, 129-mile (207 km) bikepacking trip. See our original coverage here.
From the Doorstep
by Pursuit Films. From The Doorstep is a poignant short film that challenges the notion that adventure has to happen on a grand scale, and highlights the power of the simple overnighter. It follows Brian Donnelly as he rides from his front door to the river, paddles to a small island, and spends the night camping out, all in the space of a single day. See our original coverage here.
Hi Lo Cali
By Brian Vernor. Badwater Basin in Death Valley sits at 282 feet below sea level (-86 meters). White Mountain Peak tops out at 14,252 feet (4,344 meters). These are the lowest and highest bikeable places in California. Brian Vernor, Eric Brunt, and Jonathan K. Neve set out to connect these two dots in single ride, which, according to Brian, nearly killed him. Hi Lo Cali was shot on super 16mm/super 8mm film, as well as various digital cameras, and the result is quite unique, and one of our all-time favorites. See original coverage and Q&A here.
by Sam Needham. Edited with not much more than the crackling sounds of gravel and the songs of nature, Sam Needham’s Yorkshire Grit offers a fun look at a gravel bikepacking outing shared by three riding companions, Tom Hill, Alex Moloney, and Beth Hodge. As Sam puts it, “Yorkshire Grit is a celebration of the backyard…” See our original coverage here.
by Montanus. Patagón recounts Francesco and Giorgio’s bike and packraft exploration into one of the few places on Earth that can truly be called the edge of the world, the remote corner of southern Patagonia. There, between the Austral Andes and huge glacial lakes, the traditional Argentine culture of the gaucho survives. See original coverage and gear list here.
by Sam Needham and Will Evans. Set over a single audio track, Sam Needham and Will Evans let the breathtaking scenery of Iceland speak for itself in their new short film. Elements beautifully captures the landscape while revisiting the fleeting moments from their trip along Iceland’s endless gravel roads. See our original coverage here.
Best Trip Photography
Iceland (from Elements)
By Roo Fowler. One of the riders in Elements – awarded above – was photographer Roo Fowler, who documented their journey across Iceland through still photographs. His work from the trip is notable for the way he’s carefully composed each image to place his riding partners in the context of their environment, dwarfed by Iceland’s immense and powerful landscapes. See additional photos from Roo alongside our coverage of Elements, here.
By Steve Fassbinder. Steve Fassbinder headed into Tajikistan’s backcountry for a monthlong solo bikepacking and packrafting trip earlier this summer, and he returned with some moving stories and gorgeous portraits of the people he met along the way (and countless others he shot with his instant film camera and gave away). Steve’s experiences with the Tajik people formed the basis for Freedom, the excellent story he wrote for our first issue of The Bikepacking Journal.
A Free Form Journey Into Crete
By Tenzin Namdol and Ultra Romance. We appreciate this series for the way it goes well beyond what’s typically shown in bicycle travel photography these days, and slows down to paint an intimate portrait of people, food, and landscapes. In looking at these images, we can really feel the love for Crete that Nam and Benedict developed over the two weeks they spent riding there, which is no easy feat. See the full set and the accompanying story posted by our friends over at The Radavist.
Best Event Photography
Silk Road Mountain Race
By PEdAL ED (several photographers). The Silk Road Mountain Race traverses what could reasonably be argued is one of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful little slices of the planet, so it’s no surprise that a group of talented photographers captured some truly stunning images from the first running of the race. We particularly enjoyed the coverage by Jennifer Doohan, Tom Hardie, and Giovanni Maria Pizzato (shown here). Find more of Giovanni’s images from Kyrgyzstan alongside our Q&A with SRMR No. 1 winner Jay Petervary.
By Eddie Clark. Eddie Clark has been driving up and down the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route making photos of Tour Divide racers for years, capturing some of the most recognizable images from along the route. It’s high time Eddie’s hard work was recognized, and we commend him for his dedication. This year, his photos appeared in Mountain Flyer and Adventure Cyclist, among others, and we hope to show more of his work here soon.
Japanese Odyssey Portraits
By Eigo Shimojo. Eigo Shimojo returned to the start line of the Japanese Oddysey race to photograph the starters this year (see his 21 portraits of last year’s racers here). His meticulously framed portraits do an exceptional job of conveying the individual personalities of the riders and their bikes, and they shine some light on a challenging, fascinating, and somewhat mysterious event that spans roughly 3,700km across Japan each year.
Best in Art/Multimedia
Illustrations for Tierra Gigantes and Iceland Divide
By Montanus. In addition to their beautiful photos, thoughtful and original writing, and interesting short films, Francesco and Giorgio from Montanus will occasionally include a selection of mind-blowing artwork with the stories and routes they submit for publication on the site. We were particularly impressed by the rich illustrations they sent along with their Tierra de Gigantes feature and the map they included to accompany the new Iceland Divide route. Their diverse approach to documenting bikepacking trips through some of the world’s most beautiful places has earned them the top spot in this year’s Art/Multimedia category.
By Chris McNally. We’re big fans of Chris McNally’s colorful and clever illustrations, so we were excited when he agreed to team up with us to create some original illustrations to accompany Whitney Ford-Terry’s piece Exhibition Expedition in the first issue of our new printed publication, The Bikepacking Journal. Having a feature with Chris’ illustrations adds something special to the mix, and provides a change of pace that invites readers to slow down and soak in all the minute details of the story.
A Guide to Bikepacking the World
By Alex Hotchin. We’ve been following Melbourne-based illustrator Alex Hotchin’s work for several years, and always love her work. Her intricate maps and drawings are a feast for the eyes, with new details that emerge each time they’re revisited. This year, she created A Guide to Bikepacking the World, an incredible hand drawn map that showcases the best in new and classic bikepacking routes around the world, offering viewers nearly endless wanderlust and inspiration for future trips.
WTF Bikexplorers Summit Design
By Molly Sugar and Mary Lytle. From the very first moment we saw it pop up, we were consistently impressed by every piece of the promotional materials related to the inaugural WTF Bikexplorers Summit, a three-day gathering of women, transgender, femme, and non-binary riders for rides, seminars, campfires, and storytelling. From emails, to merch, to the website, Molly and Mary crafted a beautiful and cohesive design that perfectly captured the spirit of the inclusive, welcoming event.
Make sure to check out part one of our 2018 Bikepacking Awards: Gear of The Year. And stay tuned for part three, where we’ll cover People and Routes.