May 15th, 2013

No Sense of Irony In Hansen “Fake” Journalism Accusation

Let’s review: On Monday Paul Hansen, a veteran photojournalist and two-time newspaper photographer of the year award winner was accused of “faking” his World Press Photo award winning image. An analysis by independent experts recruited by the World Press Photo organization has since cleared Hansen of the charge.

The accusation was leveled by a tech blogger over at ExtremeTech, citing a single source: a computer scientist, Dr. Neal Krawetz, who wrote about the photograph on the blog for his company The Hacker Factor, a computer security consultancy.  Talking about Hansen’s photo, which shows a group of mourners in Gaza City carrying children killed in an Israeli air strike, Krawetz stated that in his “opinion, [Hansen's photo] has been significantly altered.” Krawetz provided his analysis and concluded that the image was “a digital composite.”

The ExtremeTech blogger got hold of Krawetz’s post, rehashed it, and tacked on this headline: “How the 2013 World Press Photo of the Year was faked with Photoshop.”

As of this morning the blog post had been shared on various social media platforms by roughly 25,000 people, and had received 271 comments. (Which, by the way, is about 24,450 more shares than a typical ExtremeTech blog post gets, so mission accomplished, right?). Sadly, many of the people sharing the accusation were members of the professional photography community. (more…)

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 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 11th, 2013

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

Paul-Hansen-POYi-Gaza© Paul Hansen/Dagens Nyheter

Paul Hansen, photographer with the newspaper Dagens Nyheter of Sweden has been named the 2012 Newspaper Photographer of the year in the 70th Pictures of the Year International (POYi).

Hansen was honored for a portfolio that included coverage of the conflict in Gaza and a series on individuals whose lives were affected by the mass murders on the Norwegian island of Utoya in July 2011.

Damon Winter of The New York Times won second place. Dave Weatherwax of The Herald in Jasper, Indiana, won third place.

The judging of the POYi awards takes place over a three-week period. The Freelance/Agency Photographer of the Year category will be judged on Sunday, Feb. 17.

The POYi awards for portrait, campaign, spot news and feature photography were announced last week.

 * Photo, above: An image from “Death from Above-Gaza,” a feature by Paul Hansen of Dagens Nyheter.

Related articles:
Associated Press Wins Top Portrait Prizes at POYi

POYi Announces Campaign, Spot News and Feature Category Winners