The original winner of the National Geographic Photo Contest 2012 in the “Places” category was disqualified after removing an object from the photo.
The National Geographic Photo Contest is one of the most popular photo contests in the world. It is divided into three categories: Places, People, and Nature. A Grand Prize Winner is elected from the three, but winning either one of these categories is still a prestigious award. This year, the Grand Prize Winner was elected from the Nature category, however, the attention was turned towards the Places winner. It appears that Nat Geo actually selected another photo for the award, but it disqualified it after the jury found out that the photographer removed an object from the photo.
From ecstasy to agony
Harry Fisch was informed that his image, entitled “Preparing the Prayers at the Ganges”, had won the National Geographic Photo Contest 2012 award in the Place category. The photographer tells us in a blog post how excited he was to get an email saying that out of thousands of photos, he had been chosen as the winner.
Fisch was getting ready to tell his closest friends that, after years of suffering and traveling in harsh conditions, his persistence finally paid off. He sent the original photo, as requested, and the jury noticed an extra object in the image.
The jury concluded that Fisch had removed an object from the photo, fact clearly forbidden by the rules of the contest. Photographers cannot remove or add objects in a photo, though cropping is allowed. Nat Geo sent another email, saying that “Preparing the Prayers at the Ganges” was disqualified because of the plastic bag’s removal.
A National Geographic magazine editor explained to the photographer that the rules of the contest must be respected. Monica Corcoran added that Fisch could have just cropped the photo, in order to remove the plastic bag or he could have let the photo as it was, because it had no impact on the jury’s final decision.
The photographer tried to contact the photo contest organizers, but to no avail. He was greeted with the same, negative response as any slight alteration of a picture meant disqualification. Fisch added that he will participate once again this year and that he will not make the same mistake the second time.