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February 27th, 2013

POYi Punts on Pellegrin Controversy

©Paolo Pellegrin

©Paolo Pellegrin

Pictures of the Year International organizers have finally weighed in on the controversy surrounding Paolo Pellegrin’s prize-winning contest entry. And they dodged the issue that is central to the debate: the legitimacy of one particular documentary-like image of a subject posing with a gun in a parking garage–at Pellegrin’s request. (The subject told PDN that the image “put him in a bad light.”)

Instead, POYi addresses only the less complicated issues about the sloppiness of Pellegrin’s captions for the story.

POYi’s statement about entry, posted in the POYi Winners Gallery below Pellegrin’s story, reads as follows:

“The spirit of Pictures of the Year International is to honor photojournalists and celebrate their outstanding documentary photography. We do not probe for reasons to disqualify work. POY understands that errors may occur in captions submitted by photographers. We are happy to make corrections and acknowledge the errors. Story summaries and captions are ‘published’ when posted on the POY website. Any misunderstanding regarding self-authorship for ‘published’ captions or story summaries will be corrected by the photographer. POY affirms the awards.”

That response to the controversy is even more tepid than that of the organizers of World Press Photo, which at least addressed the guy-with-gun image directly when they issued their statement about it yesterday:

“The jury is of the opinion that although a more complete and accurate introduction and captions should have been made available by the photographer, the jury was not fundamentally mislead by the picture in the story or the caption that was included with it.”

Asked what safeguards they have in place to vet winning entries for manipulation, World Press Photo told PDN today that they reserve the right “to ask for raw files or untoned scans and consult an external photo expert to advise on possible manipulation. This analysis focuses only on technical facts.”

Rick Shaw, director of POYi, did not immediately respond to PDN’s request for an interview about the POYi statement.

But what the POYi and WPP statements about the Pellegrin entry suggest is that the photo contests are equipped by their rules to deal perfectly well with black and white issues, and less well-equipped to deal with any ethical gray areas.

It is, after all, easier to come up with guidelines about technical questions of how much image manipulation is too much, than it is to make rules about what kinds of actions on the part of a photographer might be misleading or damaging to the subject.

But until the contests are willing to take on such ethical gray areas when they arise, they’re leaving photographers a lot of room to “make things happen,” as long as it doesn’t happen in Photoshop, and as long as the captions pass a basic smell test.

Related:
World Press Hits Pellegrin with Wet Noodle (And Other Contest Scandals)

Paolo Pellegrin and His Subject at Odds Over Photograph

February 26th, 2013

World Press Hits Pellegrin with Wet Noodle (And Other Contest Scandals)

Last week, debate erupted over an image Paolo Pellegrin had entered as part of a portfolio that won prizes at both the World Press Photo and Pictures of the Year International competitions. He had apparently cribbed his captions from the New York Times, misidentified the subject of the photo in question, and while he didn’t exactly set up the photo–he arguably created what appears to be a documentary photograph of a tough guy brandishing a gun in a bad neighborhood.

As BagNews Notes first reported, Pellegrin had asked the subject, a college student and the friend of his fixer, to pose for portraits at a local shooting range. The subject, Shane Keller, told PDN Pulse that as he walked to his car with the gun, Pellegrin took advantage of the harsh light in the gritty-looking parking garage to make a picture for a larger story about the underside of Rochester, New York.

Today, World Press photo organizers issued a statement that said, “The jury is of the opinion that although a more complete and accurate introduction and captions should have been made available by the photographer, the jury was not fundamentally mislead by the picture in the story or the caption that was included with it.”

Officially, POYi has so far remained silent about the image, although one juror told PDN last week that he was “satisfied by Paolo Pellegrin’s explanation” about the image.

The big photojournalism competitions are supposed to be about celebrating great work and top talent, but this year’s contests have been overshadowed somewhat by charges of manipulation and the ensuing debate over what crosses ethical lines.

What ends up getting disqualified, and what ends up doing real harm, are arguably not always the same thing.

The White House News Photographer’s Association just rescinded Washington Post photographer Tracy Woodward’s Award of Excellence in the Sports Feature/Reaction category of The Eyes of History competition. WHNPA said it rescinded the award because “digital manipulation that was in violation of the contest rules.” Woodward had cleaned up background distractions in the image, which showed a high school wrestler celebrating after a match victory. NPPA reported the incident in detail on its Web site yesterday.

Meanwhile, debate about the Pellegrin image continues to simmer. Photojournalist Kenneth Jarecke posted a sharp critique of Pellegrin’s actions yesterday. “This controversy is no longer about poor, misleading or ‘lifted’ captions,” Jarecke wrote. “This is now about a self-proclaimed ‘documentary’ photographer who manipulates people and uses them as props to illustrate a story narrative he’s made up in his head. I thought these issues had been worked out by now. You don’t use people for props. You don’t manipulate them into doing things they aren’t doing and you don’t ask them to pose for you and then pretend it’s a situation that you’ve happened upon.”

Anticipating an onslaught by Pellegrin’s many defenders, Jarecke concludes his post: “Sling your rocks and arrows below. Please don’t hesitate to remind me that I’m old and outdated, and thus have no idea what I’m talking about.”

There was also some controversy early last week about the World Press Photo of the Year winner, an image showing  a parade of mourners carrying the dead bodies of two children in Gaza. The image was shot by Paul Hansen of the Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter. Some critics took him to task for the dark toning he applied to the image before he entered it in the World Press Photo competition. The version originally published by Dagens Nyheter had lighter tone and slightly different cropping.

WPP photo jury chair Santiago Lyon told Jim Estrin of The New York Times Lens Blog that the jury had examined the image for post processing and decided that Hansen’s photo was “within the acceptable industry parameters.” He added: “Everybody has different standards about these sorts of things, but as a group we felt that it was O.K.”

That didn’t stop the hand wringing, but at the time, it was all that armchair ethicists had to work with. Through the lens of the more recent controversy, what Hansen did now seems quaint and, if not forgiven, at least forgotten.

February 25th, 2013

POYi Update: The New York Times and The Denver Post Excel

©The Denver Post

©The Denver Post

The New York Times and The Denver Post have both won two top prizes so far in the Multimedia Division of the Pictures of the Year International competition. Multimedia judging began on Friday. It is the final division for the competition, which ends tomorrow.

The New York Times won first prize in both the News Multimedia Story and the Feature Multimedia categories. The winning news multimedia entry, about Syrian rebel fighters, was shot by freelance video journalist Ben Solomon. The feature multimedia entry, about a couple’s struggle with the husband’s dementia, was part of the paper’s series called The Vanishing Mind, and included photographs by freelancer Béatrice de Géa.

Last week, the Times won top prize in for Best Newspaper, a POYi Editing Division category. Runners up for Best Newspaper were The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post, respectively.

The Denver Post, meanwhile, won the MacDougall Overall Excellence in Editing Award (also part of the Editing Division categories judged last week), as well as first prize in the Issue Reporting Multimedia Story and Sports Multimedia Story categories.

The issue reporting prize was for a project by Mahala Gaylord, Joe Amon, Meghan Lyden, and Tim Rasmussen about two heroin addicts struggling to get by on the streets of Denver. (Still photos from the project also won second prize in the Issue Reporting Picture Story category during the first week of the competition.)

The paper won the Sports Multimedia Story prize for a  project by Mahala Gaylord titled “Trey’s Team,” about a high school football player’s recovery from a head injury.

In the Campaign 2012 Multimedia Story category, Jason Reed and Larry Downing of Reuters won first prize for their story titled “Chasing Obama.”

Among other POYi prize winners in recent days was National Geographic, which won first place for Best Magazine, a POYi Editing Division category.  Runners up for the prize were New York magazine and GEOthema, which took second and third prize, respectively.

TIME magazine won first prize in the Editing Portfolio–Magazine category for its Person of the Year feature about Barack Obama, photographed by Nadav Kander.

POYi Jurors will weigh Documentary Project of the Year entries today. The POYi judging ends tomorrow with the selection of winners in Best eBook & eProject, Best Website, and Multimedia Photographer of the Year categories.

February 20th, 2013

David Alan Harvey Wins POYi’s Best Photo Book Prize

From (Based on a True Story) ©David Alan Harvey

From (based on a true story) ©David Alan Harvey

Magnum photographer David Alan Harvey has won Best Photography Book honors in the 2013 POYi competition.

Harvey won for “(based on a true story),” an experimental book comprising a collection of images–part true, and part fictional–of a journey through Rio that “explode with color, heat, humidity, sex, more sex, danger, fear, chaos, more chaos,” according to the Burn magazine Web site.

Finalists included six other books–”Brooklyn Buzz,” by Alessandro Cosmelli & Gaia Light; “England Uncensored,” by Peter Dench; “The Invisible City,” by Irene Kung, Ludovico Pratesi, and Francine Prose; “The Wrong Side: Living on the Mexican Border,” by Jerome Sessini; “In the Car with R,” by Rafal Milach & Huldar Breidfjord; and “Violentology: A Manual of the Columbian Conflict,” by Stephen Ferry.

The jurors also gave special recognition to Marc Asnin for his book, “Uncle Charlie,” and to “Bosnia: 1992-1995,” edited by Jon Jones.

POYi jurors have been selecting winners in Editing Division categories over the last several days. Winners so far include the Memphis Commercial Appeal, which took first place in the News & Issue Story Editing category for “What Obama Didn’t See.” The story is the print version of a multimedia project titled “As I Am” by Alan Spearman, which was featured in the January 2013 issue of PDN.)

National Geographic magazine won first place in the News & Issue Story Editing–Magazine category for “Nile Journey,” a story about Egypt photographed by Alex Majoli that ran in the magazine’s May 2012 issue under the title “Egypt in the Moment.”

The Washington Post won Feature Story Editing–Newspaper for “A Siberian Pictorial,” featuring images by Sebastião Salgado.

Related:
Notable Books of 2012: Part 1 (includes a review of (Based on a True Story) by David Alan Harvey)
Picture Story: A Guided Tour of Poverty in Memphis (about Alan Spearman’s “As I Am” project)
Paolo Pellegrin Named POYi Freelance Photographer of the Year
Paul Hansen of Dagens Nyheter Wins POYi Newspaper Photographer of the Year

February 19th, 2013

Paolo Pellegrin named POYi Freelance Photographer of the Year

©Paolo Pellegrin

©Paolo Pellegrin

Magnum photographer Paolo Pellegrin has been named Freelance Photographer of the Year at the Picture of the Year International competition. Runners up were Tomas Munita, the second place winner, and third place winner Paolo Marchetti.

Pellegrin’s portfolio of 50 images included selections from projects that mostly explore the wrenching consequences of economic hardship and political and military tensions. The projects include a story about the underside of Miami, for which Pellegrin rode along on police patrols; a crime-ridden section of Rochester, New York (ditto);  recent political changes in Cuba, and two separate stories about Gaza–including one about the effects of the Israeli blockade, the other about the lingering consequences of Israel’s attacks on the territory in 2008 and 2009..

The portfolio is a study in the type of photography for which Pellegrin is well-known: unflinching reportage combined with layered, poetic images that blur the lines between documentary and art.

In other POYi Freelance Division categories judged last week, Javier Monzano won first place in News Picture Story–Freelance/Agency for his coverage of the siege of Aleppo, Syria.

Paolo Marchetti won first place for Issue Reporting Picture Story for his project about the deplorable conditions in juvenile prisons in Latin America.

Photographer David Chancellor won the World Understanding Award for his project called Hunters, about big game safaris in Africa. It explores “the complex relationship that exists between man and animal, the hunter and the hunted, as both struggle to adapt to our changing environments.”

Photographer Arnau Bach won the Community Awareness Award for his project called Paris Suburbs, exploring conditions behind the social unrest in the city’s poorest and most segregated suburbs.

Brett Stirton of Getty Images won the Environmental Awareness award for his story about the illegal ivory trade, including its causes and consequences.

POYi jurors will select Editing Division winners this week, and conclude with Multimedia Division winners next week.

Related:
Ezra Shaw Named POYI Sports Photographer of the Year
Paul Hansen of Dagens Nyheter Wins POYi Newspaper Photographer of the Year
Associated Press Wins Top Portrait Prizes at POYi
POYi Announces Campaign, Spot News, and Feature Category Winners

February 15th, 2013

Ezra Shaw Named POYi Sports Photographer of the Year

Gabrielle Douglas on the beam at the 2012 Olympics in London. ©Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Gabrielle Douglas on the beam at the 2012 Olympics in London. ©Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Ezra Shaw of Getty Images has been named Sports Photographer of the Year in the 70th annual Pictures of the Year International competition. His winning portfolio includes dramatic action and feature photos from a a wide range of sports: cycling, snow boarding, America’s Cup sailing, baseball, football, and the 2012 summer Olympics.

Quinn Rooney of Getty Images and freelancer Donald Miralle were first and second runners up, respectively, for Sports Photographer of the Year.

POYi jurors awarded first prize for Sports Editing to The New York Times, for a story titled “Their Golden Years,” a portrait-driven story about U.S. athletes who competed in the 1948 Olympics in London.

In other POYi developments, Swedish photographer Casper Hedberg won top prize in the Sports Picture Story category for a story about Afghanistan’s national sport, called buzkashi. The description accompanying Hedberg’s pictures says: “Every Friday, thousands of spectators goes to the fields north of Kabul to witness this grand spectacle in which hundreds of men on horseback [fight] for a dead calf or a carcass of a lamb…It’s crowded, sweaty and speedy.”

Judging for the POYi Reportage division began yesterday. Iwan Baan’s aerial photo of the blackout in lower Manhattan after Hurricane Sandy took first prize in the Science & Natural History category.

Other Reportage division categories will be judged through Sunday, culminating with the selection of Freelance Photographer of the Year. Judging for the Editing Division prizes begins Monday, February 18. The final round of judging–which is for the Multimedia Division prizes–begins February 22.

Here’s a re-cap of top winners for each category so far:

Newspaper Photographer of the Year: Paul Hansen of Dagens Nyheter, Sweden.
Spot News: Manu Brabo, AP
General News: Bernat Armangue, AP
Feature: Ng Han Guan, AP
Newspaper Picture Story: Kevin Sutherland, The Sunday Times, Johannesburg (unconfirmed)
Issue Reporting Picture Story: Liz O. Baylen, The Los Angeles Times
Feature Picture Story: Dave Weatherwax, The Herald, Jasper, Indiana
Campaign 2012: Carolyn Kaster, AP
Presidential Campaign 2012: Brian Snyder, Reuters
Campaign Picture Story: Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images
Portrait: Daniel Ochoa de Olza, AP
Portrait Series: Oded Balilty, AP
Sports Action: Jessica Hill, AP
Recreational Sports: Jessica Rinaldi, freelance
Sports Feature: Mike Roemer, AP
Olympic Action: Alberto Pizzolo, AFP
Olympic Feature: Quinn Rooney, Getty Images

Related:

Paul Hansen of Dagens Nyheter Wins POYi Newspaper Photographer of the Year

Associated Press Wins Top Portrait Prizes at POYi

POYi Announces Campaign, Spot News, and Feature Category Winners

February 11th, 2013

Wire Services Dominate Sports Categories (so far) in POYi Judging

©Associated Pres/Jessica HIll

©Associated Press/Jessica Hill

Wire service photographers are dominating the sports division prizes of POYi, as the judging moves into its second week. POYi judges selected News Division winners last week, including the top prize of Newspaper Photographer of the Year, won by Paul Hansen of Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

Jessica Hill of AP won first prize in the sports action category for a photo of a foul contact between two WNBA players that shows one of the players driving the basketball into the face of the other. The image was shot last June.

Jessica Rinaldi, a Boston-based freelancer, won the top prize in the Recreational Sports category for an image of competitors helping a a woman over an wall in Vermont’s “Tough Mudder” obstacle race last July.

The top Sports Feature prize went to Mike Roemer of Associated Press for his image of Donald Driver of the Green Bay Packers celebrating a touchdown in a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars last October.

Alberto Pizzoli of AFP won first prize in the Olympic Action category for his gracefully symmetrical image of two fencers attacking each other at the women’s epee semifinal bout at the London 2012 Olympics.

Quinn Rooney of Getty Images won top prize in the Olympic Feature category for a photo of British cyclist Dani King celebrating a gold medal and world record in the women’s team pursuit track cycling event, also at the 2012 Olympics in London.

News Division category winners announced at the end of last week included:

General News: Bernat Armangue of the Associated Press, for his photograph of a Palestinian man kissing the hand of a dead relative in the morgue of Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on November 18, 2012.

News Picture Story (Newspaper): The winning entry, a series of images showing the police massacre of striking miners last summer at South Africa’s Lonmin Marikana platinum mine, appears to have been shot by Kevin Sutherland of the Johannesburg Sunday Times. PDN has not been able to confirm the photographer’s identity, however. (POYi posts the winning entries, but will not announce the names of the winners until all the judging is completed at the end of February.)

Issue Reporting Picture Story: Liz O. Baylen of the Los Angeles Times won first price for “Life Changing Dose,” about the overuse and abuse of prescription painkillers, and its consequences for people’s lives.

Feature Picture Story: Dave Weatherwax of the Jasper Herald won first prize for a story about an Indiana family’s hog butchering tradition.

Winning images are posted on the POYi web site.

http://poyi.org/70/

Related:
Associated Press Wins Top Portrait Prizes at POYi

POYi Announces Campaign, Spot News, and Feature Category Winners

February 8th, 2013

Associated Press Wins Top Portrait Prizes at POYi

POYi Portrait winner ©Associate Press/Daniel Ochoa de Olza

POYi Portrait winner ©Associate Press/Daniel Ochoa de Olza

Associated Press has picked up two first prize awards in the Portrait and Portrait Series categories of the 70th annual POYi competition. The wire service now has 5 first prize awards after three days of POYI judging.

AP photographer Daniel Ochoa de Olza won top prize in the Portrait category for a very pirate-like image of Spanish bullfighter Juan Jose Padilla, made just before the matador’s ritual entrance to the bullring in Brihuega, Spain last April. Second prize went to freelance photographer Louie Palu. PDN has not yet been able to identify the third place winner. (POYi posts winning images, but does not announce the photographers’ names until all judging is completed at the end of February.)

AP photographer Oded Balilty won first prize in the Portrait Series category for his photographs of Palestinian stone throwers–men who use slingshots against Israeli soldiers. Balilty, who is based in Tel Aviv, was able to get the images because of his extensive knowledge of the region, and network of local contacts.

Second and third prize in the Portrait Series category went to photographer Magnus Wennman, a staff photographer at the Aftonbladet newspaper in Sweden, and Polish freelance photographer Maciek Nabrdalik, respectively.

Earlier this week, AP won top prizes in the Spot News, Campaign 2012, and Feature image categories.

All contest categories, with links to winning entries so far, are on the POYi Web site.

Related:
POYi Announces Campaign, Spot News, and Feature Category Winners

February 7th, 2013

POYi Announces Campaign, Spot News, and Feature Category Winners

©Associated Press/Ng Han Guan

©Associated Press/Ng Han Guan

Manu Brabo of Associated Press (AP) won first prize in the Spot News category of the Pictures of the Year International competition, as POYi’s judging marathon got under way this week. Brian Snyder of Reuters, Carolyn Kaster of AP, and Chip Somodevilla of Getty Images, all won top prizes in campaign photography categories. Ng Han Guan (AP) won the top prize for Feature image.

Those categories are all part of the POYi News Division. The remaining News Division categories,  including Newspaper Photographer of the Year, will be judged this week. Categories for the Sports and Reportage divisions will be judged next week, while Editing Division and Multimedia division categories will be judged between February 18 and February 26.

Pictures from the war in Syria dominated the Spot News category.  Brabo won the top prize for his photograph of a grieving man cradling the body of his son, who was killed in an attack by the Syrian army in Aleppo on October 3. Second and third prize winners were Goran Tomasevic of Reuters and and Narciso Contreras, who is represented by Polaris. Both won for images from Syria.

Somodevilla won the top prize in the Campaign Picture Story category for a portfolio titled “The Last Campaign,” featuring images that captured the spirit and energy of President Barack Obama’s last weeks on the campaign trail before the November 2012 election. Runners up were Adam Dean of Panos Pictures and Brian Snyder of Reuters. (POYi posts the winning images, but does not announce names of winners until all judging is completed.)

Snyder won first prize in the Presidential Campaign 2012 category for a single image of Mitt Romney and his aids reflected in a window at a campaign event in North Canton, Ohio. The image shows Romney looking isolated and pensive, with his campaign staffers swirling about him. Runners up in the category were Callie Shell and Damon Winter.

Carolyn Kaster won first prize in the Campaign 2012 category, for an image of a female biker flirting at an Ohio diner with Vice President Joe Biden. The biker, who sidled up to Biden, appears to be sitting in Biden’s lap (though she actually wasn’t). As she and Biden whisper to each other, her two companions sit nearby, looking askance at each other. Second place prize went to Andrew Harnik of the Washington Times. Third place went to Allison Joyce of Getty Images.

Ng Han Guan won the Feature image prize for a photograph of glum-looking North Korean commuters, photographed through the window of a city bus in the capital, Pyongyang. (AP has had unprecedented access to North Korea since it set up a bureau there more than a year ago.) Andrew Biraj of Reuters won second place, while Aaron Huey took third place.

Portrait and Portrait Series categories will be judged today.

February 5th, 2013

Liz Hingley Wins $15,000 PhotoPhilanthropy Prize

©Liz Hingley

©Liz Hingley

Photographer Liz Hingley has won the 2012 PhotoPhilanthropy Activist Award in the professional category, organizers of the competition announced last week. She will receive $15,000 for a story she shot for Save The Children about a UK family living in their first house after residing for three generations in caravans.

“This series of photographs was taken during two years of close collaboration” with the family of two parents and seven children, Hingley explained on her entry form. “I formed a trusting relationship….in order to develop a more subtle visual language, which provides new ways of representing the stories of both struggle and resilience.” The photographer noted that it was the first time Save the Children “was able to use real peoples’ stories to communicate the meaning and experience of genuine deprivation in a wealthy country.”

The PhotoPhilanthropy Activist Awards is an annual competition to recognize bodies of work by photographers who collaborate with non-profit organizations to affect social change. Runners up in the professional category this year were Gwenn  Dubourthoumieuon, who shot a story about copper mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo for The Carter Center; and Sara Anjargolian, who shot a story about poverty in Armenia on behalf  of Tufenkian Foundations.

Other 2012 Activist Award winners included Kai Löffelbein, who won in the student category for work he shot for Society for Community Organization; and Natasha Kharlamova in the amateur category for work she completed for Our Sunny World. Löffelbein and Kharlamova will receive $2,000 each.

The judges for the competition included documentary photographers Phil Borges and John Isaac; Denise Wolff, photo book editor for Aperture; Alexa Dilworth, publishing director and senior editor at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University; and Margaret Aguirre, global communications director for International Medical Corps.

See more information about the 2012 contest and winners. See a slideshow of Hingley’s entry here.