Press Photographer Withdraws Entry From Nikon-Walkley Contest After Image Found To Be Edited

Capturing a potentially award-winning shot should arguably mean that you were the only photographer there—at that place, at that angle, and at that time—in order to take that truly mindblowing image.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

The Herald Sun’s David Caird was in contention for the Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the Year award as a finalist, when a fellow photographer who just happened to shoot the same scene noticed differences between Caird’s version of the photograph and his own.

Supposedly, there was originally a piece of straw that Caird had cloned out in post-processing. While this did not change the interpretation of the photograph, the competition’s rules did explicitly state that:

“No cloning, montaging or digital manipulation other than cropping, ‘digital spotting’, burning and dodging is permitted.”

The other photographer duly notified the judges that the image, which was of the baby gorilla Kimye from the Melbourne zoo, had been altered, and Caird voluntarily withdrew the image.


Monkey business? / Guardian Australia

Louisa Graham, the acting chief executive of the Walkley Foundation, told the Guardian:

“The judges praised David’s entry but acknowledged that one of the photographs inadvertently submitted as part of David’s body of work had not met all the required terms and conditions of the Walkley awards.”

Many other photographers protested Caird’s withdrawal, making it known that they felt a simple cloning procedure wasn’t that serious an example of post-processing.

Still, rules are rules. Graham defended her decision, saying:

“Photojournalism has an important role to play in capturing real events as they happen in the moment. News is the ‘first draft of history’, and we rely on press photographers to present accurate and unmanipulated images.”

Caird is still one of three nominees for the 2015 Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the Year award, and the winner will be announcd on December 3rd at the 60th Walkley Awards. So it’s not all lost for him yet.