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Nigel Barker’s Adorama Series ‘Top Photographer’ Crowns Its Winner [Spoilers]

Nigel Barker and Adorama announced back in July that they’d be kicking off their Canon-sponsored reality series. After five episodes, tonight concluded the first season, in which one of the five hopefuls landed the first ever title of "Top Photographer." Was it worth the watch?


After challenges consisting of action sports, fashion, and landscape, the final two contestants – Roxy Rodriguez and Scott Borrero – were given free reign of New York City and, besides a time restriction, were free to shoot who or what they pleased. Whilst Roxy was praised for having a signature style and for not being afraid to bend the rules, Nigel and the judges (which in this episode including supermodel Coco Rocha and Editor-in-Chief of Yahoo Style, Joe Zee) concluded that Scott was the all-rounder. His confidence and professionalism were highlighted – as was his improvement throughout the process.

Reception to the show has been relatively favourable, and by Nigel’s own admission in his exclusive Fstoppers interview, the team are very much monitoring the audience reaction in the hopes of using the feedback to shape a potential series two. Filtering through the Youtube comments, a number of the comments indicate that viewers felt the format of the show was flawed somewhat. Rather than eliminating one contestant every episode, many pointed out that it would be far more beneficial if all five of the hopefuls moved through the challenges week-to-week, having a wider range of their work assessed. After all, the first eliminated hopeful Andrew Kearns is, by his own admission, no studio photographer, but ended up faced with a studio shoot on the very first challenge. Allowing contestants to remain in the process would allow a fairer chance for them to showcase their specialties.

Overall, the series shows a lot of promise, and it's always interesting to see a reality show that is photo-centric. Whether there will be another series is yet to be determined, but in the meantime, this writer will be looking out for Scott's exhibition - hosted by Nigel himself - which serves as one of his prizes for winning.

Was Scott the right winner? Would you like to see a series two, and if so, what would you change about the format? If you haven’t yet caught the final episode, you can view it below.

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Britton Murray's picture

That was a fun YouTube series. Nice to see a competition other than singing or cooking. I'd love to get to the top of the Empire State Building for sunrise, too!

Swissblad --'s picture

Agree - this was a fun series - especially the last day in NYC.
BTS were great as well.

Ryan Burleson's picture

Loved the show, think they should change how quickly each person is eliminated, slow it down an episode or two. I really thought the last images weren't the best pics by far from both judging what we saw during the previous shooting episode. Scott had an image with blue skies, skyscrapers, and oculus surrounding the model. That shot really inspired me!

Michael Kormos's picture

Definitely an improvement over Peter Lik's "from the Edge" *shudder*.

Robert Price's picture

Eh. I found the show to be mediocre at best. I have a hard time with it as it is just way to generic for my taste. I found the contestants to be a little personally blah, talented... maybe. But the show lacks any real entertainment or learning engagement for some one who may want to be a photographer for a living.

David Ferebee's picture

Great series. I wish I could get a chance to compete. The one thing I would change to bring the audience in more. Let the audience be the judge on one of the challenges. Hope to see a second series.

Mihnea Stoian's picture

Loved Scott's shoot in the last challenge - exactly why he deserved it between the 2.
I think the formula is a bit tired and doesn't work very well with photographers, who are generally a closed-knit collaborative bunch, rather than catty, competitive models.

Lee Christiansen's picture

Alas for those of us who haven't seen the videos yet, your picture shows the two finalists... Takes the sense of anticipation away somewhat for the first rounds. Bad Fstoppers... bad...

Jack Alexander's picture

You've had over a month to catch up! We waited a day or two to get this live so as to avoid spoilers for those watching. Sorry, but when reporting news we can't wait for everyone

J.R. Clubb's picture

Amateur hour.

Jason Lorette's picture

I still think Roxy should have been the overall winner, Scott annoyed me for some reason, I think Roxy had better photos to choose from for the final shot. The 'shoot' portion of the show had the highest production value to me, the "reveal" portion was cheese and drug out like any other reality show.

Jack Alexander's picture

I was a little disappointed with Roxy's final shot. From seeing her shooting, it looked like she was going to be spoilt for amazing photos

Jason Lorette's picture

I think she psyched herself out with the '.jpg' debacle at the Empire State building and simply chose the wrong shot. Like you watching her shoot I thought there were going to be some fantastic ones in there and was underwhelmed with the one she chose.

ananta cuffee's picture

I agree. I often think a lot of these shows are scripted because that image didn't look like any of her portfolio/previous images. given the chance to make the image you want, it seemed a little off. I also like a few of Scott's unchosen images better than the one that was chosen. That being said, it's just my opinion, which carries little weight. I do appreciate the show and I think they are great photographers!