How many stories do we bring you about this same old thing? A lot, but the message never seems to get through. But here we are and today we’re talking about image manipulation, public embarrassment, and losing the coveted title of photographer of the year.
A photograph by Bjorn Persson of an elephant called “Tim in Amboseli National Park, Kenya” was disqualified after winning for what Africa Geographic says when “post-production work by the photographer resulted in certain tears in the ears of the elephant not being accurately reflected.”
As Digital Photography School points out, this violates the contest’s rule that, “Entries should be a faithful representation of the original scene. Localized adjustments should be used appropriately. The objective is to remain faithful to the original experience, and to never deceive the viewer or misrepresent the reality.”
Africa Geographic then says that the photographer didn’t deny what happened but said that it was unintentional.
“We are gutted to have missed this detail about the rips in [the elephant’s] ears…That said, we will take this on the chin and improve our systems going forward.”
Of course, some readers are skeptical about the whole thing being unintentional with everyone weighing in one way or the other on the matter.
The CEO of Africa Geographic addressed post-production work on photographs specifically, saying, “We are not prescriptive about post-production tinkering, so long as the image faithfully represents the real-life situation. Photography is a blend of so many elements – including experience and patience, technique, equipment, art, timing and knowledge of the subject. There is no exact formula, no iron-clad route to perfection, and each image presented below reflects this diversity of inputs.”
As always, we’d love to know what you think about this. Are the days of pure photography over and contests like this should just “make allowances” or should post-production be scrapped entirely to keep everything level. Let us know how you would set up the regulations for your photographer of the year contest in the comments below.