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Tracy Woodward’s award-winning photo disqualified by the WHNPA

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Tracy Woodward’s award-winning photo disqualified by the WHNPA

The White House News Photographers Association has disqualified an award-winning picture for being heavily photoshopped.

All photography contests have mostly the same rules. Photographers can edit their photos, but they should not remove objects from the image or apply excessive photoshopping.

Tracy Woodward's photo submitted to the White House News Photographers Association, which won the Sports Feature / Reaction category.
Tracy Woodward’s image which won the White House News Photographers Association photo contest in the Sports Feature / Reaction category. The disqualified the photo for excessive photoshopping. Credits: Tracy Woodward / Washington Post.

White House News Photographers Association disqualifies Tracy Woodward’s award-winning photo

The latest person to be disqualified from a photo contest is Tracy Woodward, a popular photographer who is part of the Washington Post staff.

He published the image in the newspaper and named it “State Champion”, as it depicted a wrestler winning a match in the Virginia state wrestling tournament.

The photographer decided to submit his photo to the White House News Photographers Association photo contest. The image was submitted to the “Eyes of History” contest into the Sports Feature / Reaction category and won the award.

Tracy Woodward's original photo, as published in the Washington Post online edition
Tracy Woodward’s original photo, published in the Washington Post newspaper. The photographer removed the referee and modified the wrestler’s headgear, then submitted the photo to the WHNPA contest. Credits: Tracy Woodward / Washington Post.

Turned in by his own boss

However, Washington Post’s photography director, MaryAnne Golon, informed the News Photographer magazine that the photographer submitted an altered image to the WHNPA contest.

The judges in charge of the contest noticed a huge difference between the image published on Washington Post and the one submitted to the contest. This fact violates the rules and the award-winning photo was immediately disqualified.

According to the NPA magazine, image content “must not be altered in Photoshop” or in other editing tool. Elements should not be added or removed from the image, in order to give a “truthful representation” of what was going on at the moment, say the NPA contest rules.

Just like in most contests, photographers are allowed to apply cropping, burning or adjust colors, but excessive changes are prohibited.

Another photographer was disqualified from the National Geographic Photo Contest 2012

This is not the first time a photographer had been disqualified for photoshopping an image. The National Geographic Photo Contest 2012 winner in the “Places” category had been disqualified for removing an object from the photo. As usual, another winner had been selected.

Washington Post’s MaryAnne Golon confirmed that the newspaper is taking the photographer’s fate into consideration. Golon said that Tracy Woodward’s case is now an “internal personnel matter”, therefore it will not be discussed in public.

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Tracy Woodward’s award-winning photo disqualified by the WHNPA