Photographer wins his own photo contest, causes outrage within community

Apr 29, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Apr 29, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Photographer Sal Cincotta has recently been selected as the winner of ShutterFest photo contest in several categories. It wouldn’t be strange if Cincotta himself weren’t the owner of ShutterFest. Out of 17 categories, his photos won the first place in 5 of them, in addition to winning the Grand Prize. So basically – he won his own competition.

Each photo submission cost $25 or $35, and there were $2000 in prizes. And other than winning the first place in several categories, Cincotta won the second and third place in six more of them. This caused the outrage in the community, with people claiming it’s against the rules to enter the competition you run yourself. Also, many photographers felt cheated, as they saw Cincotta’s entrance in the contest (and winning it) reducing their chance of winning.

Cincotta defended his win on Facebook, stating that the “judging was conducted blindly and in a public room with dozens upon dozens of attendees watching and listening to the scores and critiques.” He added that “judges and chairs are encouraged to enter the competition:”

https://www.facebook.com/salcincotta/posts/10155117477625928

I’ve never heard of the case where the people who organize the contest can enter it. The rules of all the contests I’ve seen have clearly stated that owners, employees and their family members are not eligible to enter. Whenever a website I worked for organized a competition, none of the employees would be able to apply. And I find it perfectly understandable – it simply wouldn’t be fair, for several reasons.

First, even when the judging is done blindly, you decrease the chance for others to win by allowing the employees/founders/their family members to enter. Then, if they win, you severely damage the company’s credibility. There’s no way you can prove that it wasn’t set up. And after all, if you want to reward yourself, you can do it without running a competition.

It’s not my goal to trash anyone, and Cincotta’s images are undoubtedly beautiful. But I can’t withhold from saying running a contest and winning it yourself just doesn’t make sense for me.

What do you think? Should the owners be able to enter their own competitions or not?

[via Imaging Resource]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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42 responses to “Photographer wins his own photo contest, causes outrage within community”

  1. Kevin Blackburn Avatar
    Kevin Blackburn

    Ok so if you have to write a dissertation to defend your actions maybe just maybe your actions were wrong and poorly planned at best JMO

  2. Chris Smith Avatar
    Chris Smith

    Sold loads of Cosinas , CSM and CSR too!

  3. Richard Hunt-Smith Avatar
    Richard Hunt-Smith

    No one in their right mind would think it was okay to enter their own competition.
    I finally give up…the world has gone mad!

  4. Kent LaPorte Avatar
    Kent LaPorte

    The rules mentioned were to protect against such abuse in contests. If there is a loophole that allowed this travesty to occur then it should be closed. Regardless his actions are unethical. The simple solution is not to patronize him professional. When he loses money he’ll understand what he did was wrong.

  5. GentleGiant Avatar
    GentleGiant

    Even if judging were blind and on the up-and-up there is no ethical way someone should be entering their own competition. Doing so, let alone entering and winning, gives the appearance of a conflict of interest.

  6. Mar Javierto Avatar
    Mar Javierto

    Nowadays, have a cake and eat it too

  7. Scott Lightner Avatar
    Scott Lightner

    Meh…
    Wins the contest and loses PR!
    Many of these images feel rote, generic, meaningless and dated too.

    http://shutterfest.com/image-competition-winners-gallery/

    1. Wilson W Wong Avatar
      Wilson W Wong

      just to top it off LOL

  8. Renato Murakami Avatar
    Renato Murakami

    Doesn’t matter if the judging process was fair or not, if you OWN a competition and participate in it, of couse it’ll be unethical and biased. At the very least it throws the reputation of the competition in the ground, and no serious photographer will go for it anymore.

    The judgement process might not be biased, but the structure of the competition was formed by your staff. At one level or another, it was your decisions that lead to the judging process, and this makes it biased towards your style of photography.

    You knew beforehand of any other participants how the process worked, you have a clear unbalanced advantage towards other participants, and whether the selection process came from blind testing or not, it’s fairly easy for judges to know your work and be swayed towards your style of photography.

    You just can’t deny that knowing how the process worked affected your decisions on what photos you’d submit. You have a clear path for knowing all sorts of things that would give you an edge over other participants.

    This should be clear to anyone with a sliver of critical reasoning. If you are promoting a competition and taking part of the organization in any way, even if it’s not directly related to the contest, you shouldn’t be allowed to participate, specially the higher in the responsibility chain you are.

    Put your freaking ego aside for a moment and think of how you’d see this from the perspective of any other participant.
    We don’t have to say anything about this though… I think it’s just plain stupid to risk doing something like this. You are risking having all your sponsors pulling out because of your own damn egotrip.

    And no, others doing the same does not make it ok, and if this was known about other competitions, the reaction would be the same.

  9. Abel Rego Avatar
    Abel Rego

    We call it RIGGED

  10. Petar Maksimovic Avatar
    Petar Maksimovic

    I like it, shows how retarder photo contests are, how can you choose the best photo when there are so many equally good ones, they just captured a different moment. And on top of it, most of them are to promote some company, not photographers.

  11. Free SVG Images Avatar
    Free SVG Images

    This is awesome!!

  12. Jeff Hayward Avatar
    Jeff Hayward

    Yeah, don’t enter your own contest. As you can see from the comments on this story, it’s not worth any personal gain you might get.

  13. muadibe Avatar
    muadibe

    Does he really need to be told it’s just a shitty thing to do? If you sponsor a competition, YOU CANNOT ENTER!

  14. Raphael Bruckner Avatar
    Raphael Bruckner

    Entering your own photography contest is a Dick Move plain and simple

    1. Eddy Kamera Avatar
      Eddy Kamera

      Especially since it’s a pay per entry contest.

  15. Karen Padilla Avatar
    Karen Padilla

    Not the kind of person I’d want to do business with. Crooks always have excuses as to why what they do aren’t dishonest.

  16. Robert J. Lazzarini Avatar
    Robert J. Lazzarini

    Basically he got the other contestants to pay for his prizes.

  17. Randy Kasal Avatar
    Randy Kasal

    That’s like Chelsea Clinton getting awards for doing nothing. Or ‘Mr. Nobel Peace Prize’ himself.

    1. JetLi Avatar
      JetLi

      thank god there is no chance the dumbfuck trump will ever get a price…. the uneducated moron.

      at least the chance is as low as some of his rust belt redneck voters will get a job.

  18. Don Kat Avatar
    Don Kat

    Contest then was a FRAUD! If there were any entrance fees then they all need to be refunded, or then ask the State Attorney to start and investigation for conspiracy to defraud! Get a Lawyer and start a class action lawsuit if money changed hands!

  19. Wilson W Wong Avatar
    Wilson W Wong

    most competitions T & C’s state that family or staff (or organisers) etc are not eligible to enter.

  20. Rob Hall Avatar
    Rob Hall

    Fail.

  21. Najib Saer Avatar
    Najib Saer

    He can write whatever he wants, but entering your own contest is still in bad taste

  22. Bhavin Shah Avatar
    Bhavin Shah

    Of course it’s 2017 and His Excellency Trump The Great Is in the White House… everything is possible and fair, especially because the The Contest Organizer said so.

    1. Bhavin Shah Avatar
      Bhavin Shah

      Whatever makes your day ???

  23. Tony K. Avatar
    Tony K.

    Sal, come out here and defend yourself. Don’t hide on Facebook, your friends are blowing you too hard on there.

  24. Chris Tan Avatar
    Chris Tan

    Not surprise people will do this kind of bullshit for publicity… carry on shooting

  25. suruha Avatar
    suruha

    You’re not looking for a conversation?! What do you expect? Everyone to just roll over and accept your scam? If I were the other entrants, I would DEMAND my money back!

    “There were 20 seasoned and talented judges at the event. Judges who are certified PPA judges and have both judged and chaired for PPA and WPPI.”
    Who are they and where is their certification?

    “Judging was conducted blindly and in a public room with dozens upon dozens of attendees watching and listening to the scores and critiques.”
    How many is ‘dozens upon dozens’, exactly?

    This takes the cake! Host a contest, get people to pay to enter, then, win all the money. Screw art or photography! I’ll just pay my bills with rigged contests!

    You set an awful example of what the art/photography world is all about!

  26. Keith A Varley Avatar
    Keith A Varley

    That’s just a dick move!

  27. Samy Avatar
    Samy

    The sycophancy in the comments on his statement is breathtaking.

  28. Vanitas Foto Avatar
    Vanitas Foto

    He is cheating and other people are paying his prizes, basically stealing them the opportunity to win and their money.

    This is maybe the only way he can cheat on saying he is an “award winning” photographer in his website, which it has the word repeated more than once BTW.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/906f7f4781a46253dcedf0918028e39d44aa0e24f1aba2c1f9f0f280cb75bb23.png

  29. Raphael Bruckner Avatar
    Raphael Bruckner

    Plus his work isn’t all that good….not that mine is any better

  30. JetLi Avatar
    JetLi

    the guy is a piece of sh*it…just look at his reactions. no need to talk about such scum.

  31. Andrew King Avatar
    Andrew King

    If it’s true that the judging was fair, I think it’s hilarious that he won. And I give him props. That being said, he misjudged how big of a cry baby the collective is. Waaaa. We want more chances to be given a win.

  32. César Gamiño Avatar
    César Gamiño

    I thought this was an Onion article!

  33. Tom Jakob Brablec Avatar
    Tom Jakob Brablec

    And this is why I don’t enter photo contests. Once it’s “the person with the most likes wins,” another time there’s no proof anyone will win at all, then some asshole will win his own contest just to keep whatever the prize was…

  34. Carolopinion Avatar
    Carolopinion

    The problem with Sal Cincotta is that his ego is huge! Wrong way to do business.

  35. Thiago Pereira Avatar
    Thiago Pereira

    Dude, some categories, he won the first, the second AND the third places…. what a scam…

  36. Andrew Langley Avatar
    Andrew Langley

    The term “conflict of interest” has no meaning any more and this just proves it. I wonder if the photography community is smarter than the average American and dumps Sal’s Shutterfest mag.

  37. Chris Lane Avatar
    Chris Lane

    The worst is the category Bridal Couples, where he won 1st, 2nd, 3rd, AND a merit award in one category! Shenanigans.