World Press Photo Contest Overhauls Editing Rules Following Scandal

Keep your RAW files around, just in case

World Press Photo Contest Rules
World Press Photo Contest Rules
Paul Nicklen's photos of penguins took first place in the nature category in last year's World Press Photo contest. His photos were not the subject of the controversy.

Earlier this year, the winning image of the 2013 World Press Photo Award was widely accused of being faked with photoshopped, or at least significantly over-edited. While the photographer was cleared of any wrongdoing, World Press Photo has updated its rules for the 2014 competition, and will require original, unedited images in later stages of judging.

In a press release, Michiel Munneke, director World Press Photo explained:

“We expect professional photojournalists to respect journalistic, ethical standards and not to tamper with the content of their pictures by adding or removing elements. To establish to what degree pictures have been enhanced in post-processing, we have tightened our protocols and will provide the jury members with expert advice to aid their decision making. The jury will consider the entries for their news value, composition and style and will look for originality as well as impact. In addition, independent experts will have examined all prizewinning work before the jury makes their final decisions. World Press Photo will facilitate this by requesting the unprocessed files from photographers in the later stages of the judging process. The experts will carry out a case-by-case analysis of the level of post-processing in the files that were entered in the contest by comparing them with the unprocessed files. The jury will have the experts¹ report on file integrity available for making an assessment of what they regard permissible before entering the last judging rounds. If, for any reason, the experts are unable to examine all unprocessed files before the end of the judging period and anomalies in file integrity surface later, the prizewinning work may be disqualified from the contest.”

Additional scrutiny of this sort seems more than sensible, and should hopefully do something to reduce accusations of fakery in competitions such as this. If nothing else, the extra security will hopefully prevent falsified images from making it into the mix.