The credibility of competitions

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Well.. I didn’t make it to the finals of the Weather Channel’s photo competition.  Although my photo was voted in the top 25 in the adventure category, I’ve just had news that it was deemed to be ineligible however they can’t tell me why.  Now this probably sounds like sour grapes and it really isn’t.  I was hopeful, like all the tens of thousands of others who put their photo in.  This went up even higher when I got an email to phone them to discuss my photo.  So I duly waited up until it was office hours in the States and then  made an expensive phone call to answer their questions.  When my photo didn’t go up, I emailed them to ask them about it.  I just got a reply to say it was ineligible.

Now I think there are probably only 2 reasons it could be ineligible.  1.  Post processing.  Okay, the photo had some post processing.  I did adjust the clarity, contrast, highlights and shadows.  I told them this and told them I had the raw unedited file if they wanted to see it.  This would have proved that there were no major manipulations made to the photograph.  I’m thinking it can’t be that though, as one of the finalists has done a montage with 3 photos in it which show the same people in all three stitched together photos.  That is surely more of a major manipulation.  I would also argue that in this day and age, post processing is as much a part of photography as the taking of the photo itself.  In actual fact, post processing has been happening for years even in the days of film.  The darkroom became a place to adjust shadows and highlights etc.  But regardless of the arguements for and against post processing, if none is allowed, that’s fair but when some have manipulated a photograph to be something it actually isn’t, surely making some adjustments to the clarity contrast etc shouldn’t be a problem.

So the other reason it was deemed ineligible could be.  2. the actual category.. Adventure.  Now I would say this is completely subjective.  Maybe being on the London Eye isn’t everyone’s idea of adventure.  I’m sure your 25 year old backpacker who has just come down from the peak of Mt Everest and is enroute to Spain walking The Way of St James would find it exceptionally unadventurous, but for a 52 year old single mother who has never travelled before, trust me… this was the adventure of a lifetime.  There were also other photos there that got through to the finals which possibly weren’t everyone’s idea of adventurous either but I’m sure to the person who took the photo, there was a sense of adventure at that moment.

Other than that, I can see no reason why it would be deemed ineligible so I’m rather disappointed.  To be honest, there were photos in the competition that I would have chosen over my own so while I hoped and prayed that I would win it, I wouldn’t have made a wager on my success.  But, I do expect that everyone who enters has a chance and that if they say that those with the most votes will go through to the finals and you meet that criteria, that should be honoured.  I posted regularly and asked people to vote for my photograph.  I did the hard yards to “sell” my photo to the voters.  (thank you to all those wonderful people who voted by the way)  I would have preferred to have been advised of the reasons for ineligibility.  I don’t think that’s too much to ask.  Am I naive?

It’s not the first time I’ve seen lots of discrepancies in competitions online.  It is however, always disappointing.  Have you found this yourself?  Do you enter competitions or are you sceptical?  I have to say, I do feel rather jaded right now.. I’d love to know what your experiences are.

Cheers Livvy :)

Rooftops of London

 

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