Photo Contest Bashing: That Time of Year – by Jim Colton

Paolo Pellegrin

Photo by Paolo Pellegrin / Magnum Photos. World Press Photo and Picture of the Year International award-winning image criticized for its caption.

Renowned photo editor Jim Colton gives his opinion about all the recent bashing winners of this year’s photo contests are receiving.

In my 40 plus years in this industry, I cannot remember a time when there was so much fodder regarding photo contest winners. And this year is no exception. With only one major photo contest completed (World Press Photo) and one partially completed (POYi) there have already been dozens of stories claiming everything from manipulation to plagiarism.

Frankly, I cannot recall a single year where the World Press Photo of the Year has not been slammed by someone who has taken offense to some element of the image…..be it content, composition, subject matter, toning….you name it.

Whereas I believe it is highly valuable to have discussions regarding matters such as ethics and manipulation, I also believe it is highly destructive to make accusations without hearing ALL sides to a story, which is exactly what happened this year to Magnum photographer Paolo Pellegrin regarding his award winning work at World Press and POYi.

One story made wholehearted accusations of misrepresentation and plagiarism WITHOUT contacting Pellegrin for a response. That in itself is more troubling to me than the accusations. The only one who got it right from what I can tell is the venerable Donald Winslow from the NPPA who actually ASKED for a clarification…and OMG…guess what?… he got one.

Read the rest of the article on Jim’s blog.

World Press Photo - Paul Hansen

Photo by Paul Hansen. World Press Photo of the Year 2012 criticized for its toning.

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