Saturday, November 17, 2012

Landscape Photographer of the Year - First Winner Loses Title Due to Overmanipulation of Image


Landscape Photographer of the Year 2012 Stripped of Title for Too Much Shoppin winner

The New Winner - Landscape Photographer of the Year, Simon Butterworth
Image Source:
"Take A View" ( has announced a new winner for Landscape Photographer of the Year. Originated by photographer Charlie Waite, the competition is in its seventh year.
Unfortunately, the initial image selected for first place this year was disqualified after the fact for over-manipulation.
(Click Here) to read the original posting, and see the excellent image that ended up being disqualified.
The website reports that the original winner, David Byrne, had not intentionally misled the judges; they simply found too much manipulation in the image to suit the requirements of their contest.
This is an important lesson for photographers. We all (or very nearly all) do some manipulation of our images. In fact, manipulation in the darkroom certainly precedes Photoshop. But, it's important to know the limits. And, the limits are different, depending upon the competition or venue.
I like to think that I use "straight photography" techniques, and don't rely too heavily upon manipulation. That said, I certainly have examples in my mind as I write this where the original image was, well, "ho-hum," until I got it into Lightroom for cropping, levels adjustment, conversion to black and white, and toning. Now it's one of my recent favorites. I would not consider it "manipulated" by today's standards, but it's certainly not straight out of the camera. Here's my image in question.
Forest Edge, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, Pana-Leica Summilux 25mm f1.4 lens
iso 160, f8, 10 secs
Personally, I think what I've done here is quite acceptable, as all of these things could have been done easily in a wet darkroom. But is that the right measure? We also know that composites (made from multiple original images) can be made in the darkroom. I would think that's too much (obviously).
Where do you think the limits of acceptable manipulation are? I guess as long as we're honest about it when we're done, it's always up to each of us.