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The World Shootout Competition


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#1 Alex_Tattersall

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Posted 02 March 2016 - 11:26 PM

Hello UW community

 
I am in the very unenviable situation to have to write the following and I am well aware of the potential fact that it may make me look like the world’s worst loser however, I have been left with no choice as substantiated evidence from a not insignificant group of people has been provided and has consequently been ignored and stonewalled by the organiser of the World Shootout (http://worldshootout.org/).
 
Following the result of the World Shootout (http://worldshootout.org/), I have written what I consider to be a well researched and measured email to the organiser as some of the jury decisions, including the likelihood of subject herding in the macro category, were in breach of the published competition guidelines. An image in another category was discovered to have been taken outside of the time frame required for the competition and the country group portfolios did but with one exception adhere to the judging criteria of a common thread running through them (the winning sets picking up major prizes did not adhere to the rules).
 
Regarding the issue of subject herding in the macro category, I was also told by the organiser that ‘crab’ and ‘nudibranch’ experts at a prestigious university had been consulted who had attested to the winning image displaying natural behaviour. The university does not appear to have a department for such specialism, certainly not a research centre, and the organiser has been unwilling to provide me with any information as to who these experts are or any proof of their statement. The jury panel has also remained largely anonymous. I have offered strong and compelling evidence to engage in a debate and this has effectively been completely ignored.
 
When pressed as to how some of the above issues would be addressed, the reply received was that “For 2016 competition we will take in consideration in the rules more tools for the jury team” suggesting an awareness that the jury team for 2015 was not equipped for the task required, yet the organiser is letting the results stand.
 
The organiser equally saw it appropriate to swap the prizes at the last minute after the judging had taken place, which demonstrates further lack of ethics.
 
I have requested to return my prize as I do not want to support what I consider to be an unethical competition but this has also not been acknowledged. I have asked for a refund of my entry fee as the rules and guidelines seem moot, again this has been ignored.
 
I do not deny the frustration felt around these points but I feel compelled to write the above as a service to the UW community as a whole. If you are approached to be a sponsor for this competition or you are considering being an entrant, I think it is important that you are made aware of the above. If anyone would like to be copied into the full conversation, please feel free to ask me.
 
Again, it is with huge regret that I have to publish this and I welcome the organiser to comment here or in private to address some of the issues and evidence I have presented him with. I also would welcome debate from any other member of our underwater community. I don’t want to be spending time with this regrettable situation but I also have a strong sense of justice which is not being respected.
 
 

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#2 Alex_Tattersall

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 11:23 AM

Well, Wetpixel is a lively old forum nowadays.


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#3 decosnapper

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Posted 06 March 2016 - 12:57 AM

Well, Wetkitsell is a lively old forum nowadays.

 

Fixed that for you...

 

A cursory glance at the topics shows a strong leaning towards a very kit-biased line of what camera to buy and what secondhand kit others wish to sell. Very rarely is there a question about composition, light or anything about the creative side.

 

Which is why I had to ask for a password reset. It had been a very long time...

 

Back to the original thread.

 

I can't offer anything in this case, but I would urge everyone entering competitions to read the terms and conditions carefully, and then check them against the Artists Bill of Rights (http://www.artist-bi...ts-introduction) and perhaps check if the terms offered by the competition is supportive of creators?

 

Is there a rights grab?

 

How can the competition exploit the images?

 

Is a credit for the winners mandatory?

 

Are the judges identified?

 

This list is not exhaustive, but I would encourage anyone entering a competition to check and if there is any doubt to find another more worthy contest.


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#4 tursiops

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Posted 06 March 2016 - 05:46 AM



 
A cursory glance at the topics shows a strong leaning towards a very kit-biased line of what camera to buy and what secondhand kit others wish to sell. Very rarely is there a question about composition, light or anything about the creative side.


LOL. Perhaps if you posted about composition, light, or anything about the creative side, instead of a complaint based on a cursory glace at topics, you would generate the kind of discussion you are looking for!

#5 decosnapper

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Posted 06 March 2016 - 06:16 AM

LOL. Perhaps if you posted about composition, light, or anything about the creative side, instead of a complaint based on a cursory glace at topics, you would generate the kind of discussion you are looking for!

 

No complaint. Just an observation.


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#6 howeikwok

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Posted 06 March 2016 - 11:03 PM

Supported you on facebook, will support your stance here as well. If the competition rules says certain things like no manipulation, then doubtful images should go out no questions asked. 


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#7 MikeVeitch

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 06:30 AM

Mr Tatts, manipulated images have been winning and placing in photo contests for years and years.  Out of curiousity, why such a big complaint this year as opposed to any other year?  Tired of shrimp?  I saw a lot of emperor shrimp images placing in different competitions over the last couple of years but didn't think much of it... however, seems to have really got to you this time! The "manipulated" angle gets brought up each and every time a contest results are announced but this one seems to have garnered more attention than most.  Have you complained about contests before or is this the first one?  If so, why now and not before?


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#8 Alex_Tattersall

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 07:51 AM

Because apparently I’m an incredibly bad loser Mr Veitch. 

 

I can smell can you not a critical mass of people who want to stop this from continuing as it does? When I made the first post on FB, I had no idea the number of people who have also risked their own status and credibility to make comments and share experiences. I have had double the number of people contact me privately, phoning me from Israel, sending me emails, contacting me in PM here on wetpixel offering support that it is now high time the culture should change.

 

My tenacity in continuing this argument however is spurred on not only by likeminded people in the community, but also the inability to have any of my genuine and legitimate concerns respected or questions replied to with any level of substantiated evidence by the competition organisers. My questions asking for evidence and highlighting further inconstancies between rulings and judging results are not unreasonable in any way yet they have been rejected and an honest debate made impossible. The same questions have been posed to the organisers by multiple concerned parties and none of these have been responded to. 

 

I think a competition that is taking so much money from people should be transparent and open to debate. The winning image in the macro category, I and almost every experienced photographer are still convinced has been staged, however I have made peace with this decision and I hate to think that an individual is being vilified for this so I’ve moved to drop this completely.

 

I cannot make peace with being ignored and stonewalled, I have more respect for myself than that. 

 

Thanks for asking though. I hadn’t realised that this debate is raised so regularly, I have not entered/placed in many competitions. 


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#9 Alex_Tattersall

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Posted 27 March 2016 - 01:21 PM

I’ve started a change.org petition with which to gather momentum for change in UW photo ethics which we intend to circulate to spheres of influence such as competition organisers, dive centres and dive magazines. Feel free to sign up or ignore, no need to troll but your opinions are very welcome.

 

https://www.change.o...&fb_ref=Default


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#10 tursiops

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Posted 28 March 2016 - 03:17 PM

I’ve started a change.org petition with which to gather momentum for change in UW photo ethics which we intend to circulate to spheres of influence such as competition organisers, dive centres and dive magazines. Feel free to sign up or ignore, no need to troll but your opinions are very welcome.
 
https://www.change.o...&fb_ref=Default

Good luck, but I stopped signing petitions when I got out of high school.

#11 troporobo

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Posted 28 March 2016 - 03:50 PM

I signed the petition, because I agree with the importance of the topic, and wish you luck.

 

I note that the competition page has removed your 2nd place shot, though not your name.  Seems petty

 

By the way, it also seems unlikely to be coincidence that the winning macro shot and one of the runners up in the amateur category were both taken by people from the same country of what seems to be the same subjects with the same technique. I don't wish to take anything away from the many good photos that were posted there (and there are some very good ones) but the competition doesn't look like one I'd engage with or pay attention to in the future.  



#12 Alex_Tattersall

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Posted 29 March 2016 - 12:54 PM

The petition itself, whilst having arisen from the above events, is about the bigger picture. Much more interesting than the number of people signing up are the comments and debates that are happening and it seems to be evolving in a direction for the greater good.

 

I’ve had three reputable resorts in key macro hot spots say how useful such posts are to help them show their guides that not everyone wants them to move subjects around. I find that most heartening. 

 

For sure, it’s a small cause when compared to current coral bleaching concerns, plastics and polluants in the oceans, and unsustainable overfishing, but it is a valid one.


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