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AIPP bolsters photo contest rules

The AIPP has introduced new photo contest rules requiring entrants to provide a USB drive containing all original photo components; while a ‘scrutineer’ will also be inspecting submissions at State and National awards.
The new entry requirements were e-mail to members by AIPP Awards Committee chair, Tony Hewitt.

The changes come after it emerged that multi-APPA winning Melbourne photographer, Lisa Saad, had submitted image compositions featuring third-party elements since 2015.

In what may be the largest photo awards scandal in recent times, Lisa’s award-winning images breached contest rules primarily by featuring clip art and photographic elements she did not capture in-camera or own. The first image found to have breached contest rules appropriated a large portion of an image captured by Dutch architectural photographer, Marcel van Balkan.

While Lisa broke the rules, some argue not enough was done by contest organisers to check all the elements in her complex compositions. In five years of constant award winning, not once were files requested to vouchsafe her image components. The AIPP was by no means alone, with several highly regarded international competitions also caught out.

The new rules provide some safeguard against this type of ethical breach.

Entrants to the AIPP print awards – the Epson State Awards and Australian Professional Photography Awards – must now include all original capture files.

The files must be RAW or JPEG/TIFF files created in-camera, and need to account for all elements in each image. This would seem to rule out the use of clip art entirely.

The AIPP requests the USB drive be securely included in the print case and labelled with the entrant’s name and membership number.

The overall response on the AIPP FB page was to welcome the rule change, while some composition wizards were jokingly concerned whether there’s a USB stick with enough memory to handle their creations.

Tony Hewitt said the scrutineers’ role will ‘include assessing prints as needed at breakout and during judging to assist with any queries that may arise in regards to the rules’.

They will also be on hand to assist with information during the category judging.

The final chapter in the cheating saga for the AIPP will be the redistribution at least 15 top awards won by Lisa – from 2015 to 2018 – to the rightful recipients.

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