More photographers had to be disqualified from the final of this year’s World Press Photo contest because their creators performed minor alterations despite both contest rules and industry standards forbid this.
Originally I didn’t want to write about this year’s World Press Photo contest. Results can be found on the contest website and many news sites write about it and publish selections from the winning photos (Index, Origo, HVG, stb). I don’t think there is much point in spending time with replicating the same content.
I have to mention the fact however that more photos had to be disqualified from the final. Organisers modified contest rules this year but they are not enough to deter photographers from retouching their entries, but at least this time disappointing disqualifications come before awards are announced.
Photo editors of the Hungarian news website Origo summed up the situation on their 35 mm blog quite appropriately with a picture of a monkey that has won WPP award before (and probably hasn’t been altered).
I think everyone is surprised by the relatively high ratio (8-9%) of finalists disqualified despite all the warnings, rules, ethics and the previously announced change in rule execution. There is always someone trying it.
However former his Instagram photos submitted and awarded at POYI were questioned by many, now sitting in the jury David Guttenfelder says to BJP: “Honestly, I was surprised, and more than a little bit disappointed, by the number of pictures that were disqualified from the competition for having been altered and manipulated against the policies of World Press Photo and against our industry standards” .
Chair of the jury Gary Knight told New York Times Lens Blog recently that “In every single case it was a meaningless and stupid process. None of the photographers improved their work and if they hadn’t done it they may well have been up for consideration.”
Original photos are examined before the final of the World Press Photo contest so we don’t know how many of the entries were manipulated in total.
Orgenisers hope this will be an example for everyone and it will deter others from submitting manipulated photos next time. Many photographers however think names of the photographers and their altered and original images should be published to really serve as an example.