Yesterday, photographer Souvid Datta was accused of having manipulated a photo he took in 2013 at a brothel near Kolkata, by Photoshopping into his photo a a section of an iconic photo by Mary Ellen Mark. After the accusation was published yesterday on PetaPixel, editors at PDN reviewed the portfolio he submitted to PDN’s 30 which we evaluated at the time we chose him for PDN’s 30 2017. We also reviewed work by Datta we had published on PDNOnline in the past in relation to news stories about his winning of the Alexia student grant in 2014 and the Marty Forscher Fellowship for students in 2014. We also contacted Datta directly for comment. He did not respond to our requests.
Today in an interview with Olivier Laurent of Time Lightbox, Datta admits to cutting and pasting the Mark photo as well as others: “Hazel Thompson and Raul Irani’s work. Two of their images, along with those which I altered, were also included in my submissions for early photography competitions in 2014, though not published commercially anywhere,” Datta tells Laurent.
Datta describes his actions as “abhorrent, short-sighted and irresponsible” and also “reckless.”
The work Datta submitted to PDN’s 30 was taken within the last two years. We continue reviewing his work in light of his confession of past manipulation. In a statement, the Alexia Foundation has said it is also reviewing Datta’s submission.
Update: The Alexia Foundation has issued a statement ending their relationship with Datta. In the statement, Dr. Peter and Aphrodite Tsairis, who co-founded the Alexia Foundation, wrote: “We demand that our grant recipients respect and adhere to the highest standards of photojournalistic ethics. That is why we have terminated our relationship with Mr. Datta and have removed his project from our website and files. In addition, an asterisk will be placed next to his name on the list of Alexia grant recipients indicating these transgressions.”
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