How much is too much?

Photographer Stepan Rudik, working for the Russian news agency RIA Novosti, took this photograph as part of a series on a Ukrainian street fighters in Kiev.

He then cropped it by something like 90%, converted the remains of his image to black and white, added an artificial grain effect (I'd guess using a Photoshop filter) burned in an artificial vignette, whammed up the contrast for a harsher feel, and cloned out the stray bit of foot (I think it is) belonging to the guy standing behind the fighter ...

The result was this ...

He then entered it for the 2010 World Press Photo Competition.

And it won 3rd prize in the 'Sports Features' category.

But not for long. Apparently the manipulation was brought to the attention of contest officials by the Ukrainian Photography Union and, shortly thereafter, anyone visiting the World Press Photo website to view the winners was presented with this page for 3rd Prize in Sports Features ...

Why the disqualification? On their website, World Press Photo states:

Following the announcement of the contest results, it came to the attention of World Press Photo that Rudik's story had violated a contest rule. After requesting RAW-files of the series from him, it became clear that an element had been removed from one of the original photographs.
(For the full statement see here)

So, it was the removal of the few hundred pixels of stray foot that did for Mr Rudik. The violent cropping, removal of colour, addition of grain, vignette and harsh contrast would seem to be acceptable practice.

I know what I think.

What about you?

Image credit: Photograph by Stepan Rudik


Robert Norbury said...

If he had burned this tiny fragment in, I think he would have been OK. Cloning it is outside the rules.

As for cropping I rarely do it but I think even massive cropping is ethical.

Glowing Photography said...

Lame!!! That's what I think. If your are going to be manipulation snobs I say go the full way and say like only color corrections. Then I guess you woulg get the good "photographers" but I think it is time that we embrace that post production even rigorous post production is part of the tool kit that makes a good image.