Photography Contest Lists Judges That Didn’t Participate

By Kehl Bayern / March 17, 2018

The International Photographer of the Year (IPOTY) contest is drawing attention for all the wrong reasons after 11 of the 14 judges on the panel assessing this year’s crop of photos claim to have not judged a single image.

Even though the judges didn’t get to review anyone’s work, they apparently assessed winners back in February. Another thing that is strange about this story from PetaPixel is that the other three judges mentioned on the panel cannot be contacted currently.

So what gives?

For one, the International Photographer of the Year contest is what’s called a pay-to-play game, meaning that entrants usually have to pay some kind of fee to have their work judged. This is unlike a purely merit based contest or a free-to-enter contest that doesn’t require a fee for consideration.

Image via Vladyslav Dukhin from Pexels.com.

And to many photographers, herein lies the problem with the IPOTY.

The winner of the contest was announced via press release back in February. Drawing 4,380 entries, it is estimated that the contest brought in between $USD 65,700 and $USD 131,400 for the contest’s organizers, a hefty sum by any standard.

On March 3 some of the judges listed on the contest website contacted PetaPixel to reveal not only had they not judged any of the images but also that no one from the contest had contacted them about it.

A letter from some of the judges to the website, in an effort to elucidate the situation, stated “We discovered, by chance through contacting each other, that 11 of us, despite being listed as judges, did NOT participate in any shape or form in the judging of the competition. While some of us had agreed to be judges for the 2017 competition, others had not even given their consent.”

Some of the judges listed did participate in prior years of the contest and some even selected photos, but those that sent the letter to PetaPixel never picked a winner as was claimed by the contest.

Since running the article the International Photographer of the Year competition has removed several of the web pages listing the incorrect information but has not responded to PetaPixel for comment.


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About the author

Kehl Bayern

Kehl Bayern is our staff news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing. In terms of photography, he is interested in architecture and modern design. Kehl Bayern is also the author of science fiction thriller Animus Proxy. He is based in Boston, Massachusetts and studied politics at the University of Virginia and, later, Harvard University for graduate school. He spends much of his time traveling up and down the east coast of the United States. You can follow him on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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