Stepan Rudik disqualified from World Press Photo

“After careful consideration, we found it imperative to disqualify the photographer from the contest. The principle of World Press Photo is to promote high standards in photojournalism. Therefore, we must maintain the integrity of our organization even when the outcome is regrettable.” –Michiel Munneke, managing director of World Press Photo

Lens, PetaPixel, and BJP all have good coverage of the latest photo manipulation scandal in photojournalism: World Press Photo has disqualified Stepan Rudik, 3rd place Sports Features in the 2010 contest, for an ethics violation. Rudik removed an element of a picture (see the slideshow above) in violation of World Press Photo contest regulations against image alteration, specifically this rule: “The content of the image must not be altered. Only retouching which conforms to the currently accepted standards in the industry is allowed.” The object seems to stem from the removal of a person’s foot from the background of the picture, which Rudik defended to the BJP, saying, “the photograph I submitted to the contest is a crop, and the retouched detail is the foot of a man which appears on the original photograph, but who is not a subject of the image submitted to the contest.”

I’ve got to echo Asim Rafiqui: What a laughable extreme crop and toning job. Color and tilt correction in photoshop is one thing, moody vignetting in photoshop is another, but this is a whole new level of turning a crap photo into something entirely different. Wow. This, rather than the offending foot, is the bigger problem for the credibility of photojournalism.

5 Responses to “Stepan Rudik disqualified from World Press Photo”

  1. Hernan Zenteno

    He made a photoshop photo from a first photo. These days there are a lot of this retouching and one can see that practice without erase parts but with the same PS techniques in others essays that won. But i see some hypocrisy from the WPP people. Because how much photojournalist value have a serie of a man showing his ass in differents locations? Or a price from the past year, toy soldiers in a set. Are this more credible and more journalist this other prices because they only stage the photos of a situations that only exist in the imaginations of the photographers. I don’t understand this tendency of the last years of WPP. They give prices to people that made very journalistic work but at the same time they give prices to other work that at less for my knowledge is not photojournalism.

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  4. Ethan Welty

    I’m floored by the transformation – it took some serious vision to even have the idea, as the result looks nothing like the dull photo Rudik started with. This is only going to give people new temptation to go fish for a strong image where there first was none.

    So is the missing foot really the only issue for the photojournalism community? Maybe that is the only criteria that can really stand its ground, since that is the only post-processing that can’t be achieved by other means, through either optics or chemistry.

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