Miriam I would like to thank you for your Editor's Letter on page 6 of the March 2010 issue which was in response to the uproar created by the some of the winners in the Annual Readers Photo Contest. As you know many of these opinions were voiced right here on the Popphoto forum. While I do agree with the majority of your letter, I wanted to point out one thing that you did not address. Traditionally in most photo contests and also photography in general, the Action/Sports category is viewed as the one area of photography that should use actual events which are shot as they happened and not created in a studio. I know many sports shooters who felt choosing this winner was demeaning to their specialized skills. I realize this was not spelled out in the contest rules and therefor my stance is more of an opinion rather than an issue of broken rules, which did not occur. That being said I think you should be commended for addressing the issue in general and also considering creating a new category for composite or invented realities in next years contest. Thanks for listening, that means a lot and really is all we can ask.
My thanks also for addressing this issue. In addition I just want to say that most of us here looked at this as a very specific and straight forward question. It seemed odd to me that some wish to turn that into a philosophical debate on the nature and definition of photography. It's not that at all. I don't shoot sports except some soccer that my grand kids are involved in, but would it not seem strange if i set up a studio shot of my grandson, creating a goal out of fish net and then claim that my boy caught that ball while flying through the air? Sure the parents might like it, but it wouldn't change the outcome of the game one bit. Isn't the result of the game that is in question instead of my Photoshop skills?
Last edited by suci; 02-19-2010 at 11:06 PM.
ars longa vita brevis
It's interesting that the uproar over the Sports/Action winner was so strong but I don't recall seeing anything here on the board about the Travel/Places winner which is also a composite (and not a great one at that - very obvious). If the scene as composited isn't possible to be seen or would be very rare to be seen then it's every bit the sham that the Sports/Action composite shot is.
Looked on the main site but didn't find the letter. It'd be good if it could be posted on the web as well as printed in the mag.
Bob, there was some discussion on the Travel shot, too. Can't remember the exact thread, but if I get the time, I'll research abnd post a link.
Part of the uproar over the "action" shot was the totally manufactured nature of the final image. If one looked at the description of the process in the magazine, the tornado images aren't even real, but fabricated somehow or other. so, not only was it a composite, but some of the elements within the composition were never in existence, but rather fakes created by the illustrator.
To get back to Randy's original comment, I do appreciate that someone from the magazine has finally addressed this issue. It comes up every year, but I think this year was worse, because of the obviously "manufactured" nature of two of the winners. It seems to me that this year some of the winning submissions crossed over some threshold as far as much of the readership has voiced, both through letters to the magazine and through the reaction we have seen here on popphoto.com. I'm just glad that someone at the magazine finally recognized the problem and might be doing something to address it.
If life gives you melons, you *may* be dyslexic.
Sports photography is considered a form of photojournalism and should not include altered images. I don't think altered images are allowed in any form of photojournalism competition, are they? IMO, this type of controversy does nothing but degrade the credibility of Popphoto.
Thank you Randy for pointing this out. I read the letter from Miriam and thought about how I was going to somehow get her attention and thank her for her letter in response to the outcry from readers in regards to the fabricated stuff. I too feel that Action photo's should be just that.....action. Not made to look like action. As a sports photographer I felt that it was unfair for the magazine to pick such an image for an action shot when there was clearly no action involved. Thanks for sticking up for us sports photographers.
Action is the foundational key to all success.
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Yeah, i saw the letter and it really made my opinion of the magazine go up.
I posted the thread entitled "pure vs. art" that was one of the threads discussing the controversy about the merging of photos. In the beginning of that thread, I mentioned BOTH photos in the contest. So, the uproar in that thread DID, actually contain references to the travel photo as well as the sports photo.
Being that I and many others were upset over this, it is heartening to see that someone did pay attention. And that not only did they pay attention, they made a direct response to that which upset us. I truly appreciate that.
So, thanks Mariam and thanks PopPhoto.
"I am the terror that flaps in the night, I am the fingernail that scrapes the blackboard of your soul." DW Duck
You can actually read the letter here if you're interested.
Gosh, Bob. Don't hold back. Tell us what you really think.