Competition Albums

 Spectacular images of:
 Eilat Red Sea & World ShootOut
 competitions are introduced in
 annual albums:

 

     
      


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The Philosophy behind the Competition

Dear Underwater Photographers,

 

Recently a post published on a photographer’s wall, claiming that one of the winners of the World ShootOut 2016 is not a legit one, has evolved into a wide discussion about competition rules, the approach of the production and the responsibility of photographers. Although we have done our best to respond to all claims and thoughts brought up in the frame of this thread, we thought it’s only fair that we relate to this issue within an official manner on the production’s page as well.

 

We realize that just as any other respectful competition out there handing out such valuable prizes no matter the sport – tennis, athletes or scuba diving, World ShootOut is prone to deception attempts once in a while and forced to deal with such issues once they come up. Your concern is well understood and your involvement is always so much appreciated.

 

To make a long story short, shortly after the World ShootOut 2016 concluded and results were published, Alex Tattersal, 2nd place winner of the Macro category, published a post on his profile claiming that the 1st winner in this category, Marco Chang from Taiwan, had won the competition with a non-legit image, which to his opinion, has been manipulated. Alex claimed that there’s no chance two shrimps can be found in such a position on a Nudibranch and there the shrimps have been placed by the photographer for the purpose of the composition. The image can be seen here - http://worldshootout.org/?CategoryID=331

According to Alex, his complaint regarding this matter was not properly dealt with by the production of the World ShootOut competition.

 

The initial complaint, which was sent directly to the producer, was very appreciated and seriously addressed. The production carried out a thorough investigation, which involved quite a few professionals in the field of underwater photography and biology, including the World ShootOut jury panel, leading underwater photographers and scientists. The conclusion of the scientists was that there’s a reasonable chance of finding two shrimps positioned on the same Nudibranch. In addition, leading underwater photographers and several of the judges have shared that they’ve personally seen Nudibranchs carrying two shrimps in the past, thus supporting the conclusion presented by the researchers. On February 11th, an official conclusion was sent to everyone involved, explaining that due to lack of proof that the image was manipulated, it cannot be disqualified from the competition and therefore remains as the winner of the macro category.

 

Apparently, this conclusion wasn’t acceptable by Alex, who had won the 2nd prize and submitted the claim about the 1st-prize winner. He then decided to publish a Facebook post, which rapidly evolved into a shaming journey, aggressively attacking anything that has to do with the production of World ShootOut, sadly not all relevant to this matter. The production had responded to all points brought up in the frame of this thread if found relevant and professional, up to the point where Alex’s arguments became very unprofessional and disrespectful, which was clearly an expression of personal frustration rather than any constructive criticism.

 

At some point, various photographers who were certain that there’s nothing wrong with the 1st prize image have started to publish similar images they captured to prove feasibility of the circumstances. See here for example (scroll further down for the images) - http://forum-photosub.fr/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=14099&p=172139#p17

When Alex was introduced with these images, instead of referring to them or even allowing them to be posted on his thread as evidence that his initial accusations are improper, he chose to block relevant members out of his Facebook page, thus disabling the option of sharing these images with everyone involved in the thread.

 

Now we feel that it’s only appropriate to share our philosophy regarding these matters for more creative and supportive years to come.

 

  1. World ShootOut aims to do nothing else but to award talented underwater photographers with most valuable prizes for being wonderful emissaries and ambassadors of the ocean. Up until now, the production had arranged $220,000 to be awarded to underwater photographers in CASH, not to mention extremely valuable diving holidays and high-end gear. These prizes were meant to support photographers as they continue to capture and publish underwater images and videos, which are the best way of sharing the beauty of the oceans with those who cannot visit there themselves. The way we see it, underwater photography is by far the most useful tool for promoting the interests of the underwater world and delivering the message of how important it is to protect it. This is, by all means, the main motivation of the production.
  2. While World ShootOut urges all photographers to take good care of the underwater world at all times, the production cannot be responsible for your behavior as a photographer underwater. The only one responsible of yourself is you. As a producer, I can ask and urge you to respect the ocean and the living creatures and to make it clear that if proved otherwise, you will be disqualified from the competition, but I have never pretended to be capable of dictating anyone’s diving habits. The best I can hope for is that I have a positive influence of these habits.
  3. The production treats fraud attempts very seriously. A photographer cheating the competition and being rewarded with a prize he doesn’t deserve is the worst nightmare of any producer. For this reason, a legal consultant was an inseparable part of the production team for the last 12 years, making sure, as much as possible, that all competition rules are respected. During those years, quite a few images and photographers were disqualified. 5 years ago, the producer had even gone to court with a photographer who appeared to be winning the competition with images captured using unethical methods. This year again, 2015, an image who had initially won one of the categories was eventually disqualified once the original RAW files were examined. In addition, one of the teams competing in the National Teams category was banned due to an outdated image being submitted as part of the portfolio. We have no intention to let anyone override the rules.
  4. Having said that, images and photographers cannot be disqualified based on anything but facts and proof of manipulation. Clearly you all understand that rumors, personal opinions and agendas cannot serve the production for the purpose of ruling out photographers.
  5. The production, and only the production, is responsible of investigating cases in which manipulation of images is suspected. Basic details regarding such cases are shared publically for the sake of transparency, but for (extremely) obvious reasons, the production does not involve participants in decisions made regarding their competitors. We’re happy to share that during the years we have managed to establish one of the most professional, reliable and experienced jury panel we could ever dream of. We trust each and one of these judges to cleverly analyze the findings prior to coming up with a decision and we do not doubt any of these decisions.

Finally, producer David Pilosof asked to share that he’s very proud of this production, all hard working members included, what it stands for, the great environmental values it promotes, the inspiring visuals photographers manage to produce, the amazing attitude most photographers adapt and the outstanding recognition and prizes they receive for their efforts. As per Pilosof’s vision, whatever you choose to take part in, now and in the future, should end up providing you with the great satisfaction that is bounded with having the opportunity to support those things and people you deeply believe in and to make them count. Really count.

 

Thank you all again for your support,

 

World ShootOut Production


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