The overall winning photo of the 2023 CEWE Photo Awards, known as the ‘World’s Largest’ photography competition, has been suspended. This comes after it was revealed that the photo, which appeared to show the owner of a traditional Indonesian cafe playing cards with a group of men, had been staged in a studio.
The photo, taken by Indonesian photographer Dikye Ariani, was named the CEWE Photo Awards 2023 overall winner as well as winner of the ‘People’ category, on 21 September. In October, PetaPixel revealed that the photo was taken at a conceptual photo shoot held at a studio to mark the launch of a camera on 20 November, 2022 in Bogor, Indonesia. Behind-the-scenes photos of the photo shoot appear to show several other photographers shooting the same scene as Ariani.
The woman that is the focus of Ariani’s photo is the mother of an employee of the studio and regularly appears in themed photo shoots at the studio.
In a statement, CEWE said that though staged photos are not considered a violation of the competition’s terms and conditions, ‘the photographer provided untrue and misleading information regarding the creation of the photograph to us and to the jury president of the CEWE Photo Award on stage during the award ceremony, thus misleading the public. This contradicts the values that CEWE stands for as a company.’
There are also legal concerns regarding the usage rights of the photo. As a result, the photo has been suspended and will no longer be displayed on the CEWE website or other CEWE media ‘until the legal situation concerning the photo is fully clarified’
The photo selected by the jury as the overall winner, as well as the winner of the “People” category, is – contrary to the photographer’s statement – not an authentic shot but was created in a studio as a staged scene. We were made aware of this by external photographers.
Staged photographs are not a violation of our terms and conditions. However, the photographer provided untrue and misleading information regarding the creation of the photograph to us and to the jury president of the CEWE Photo Award on stage during the award ceremony, thus misleading the public. This contradicts the values that CEWE stands for as a company.
Furthermore, legal questions arise regarding the usage rights of the photo. The photographer has not satisfactorily answered these questions and failed to submit appropriate documents establishing her as the owner of the usage rights.
We will therefore suspend the award status until the legal situation concerning the photo is fully clarified. Meanwhile, the photo will no longer be displayed by us on our website or other CEWE media.
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