Controversial win in Countryfile photo competition

I wanted to share with you my thoughts in reaction to the winner of the Countryfile photo competition, that was revealed earlier this week.

We live in a time where it has become acceptable to share our opinions. This is great – we should be able to speak our minds. It makes us more interesting and opens our minds to alternative view points.

However, we also live in a time where it has become acceptable to be so vicious with our opinions and not care that we could be potentially destroying another person’s life.

A little over dramatic you think? Maybe, maybe not.

Public shaming

I have recently listened to Jon Ronson’s audiobook “so you’ve been publicly shamed”. In it, he talks about this change in society where it has now become acceptable to put people down over the smallest of actions.

We all go about our lives, not always thinking that our small daily actions could have such a big impact.

It is so easy to be a keyboard warrior and not stop and think that our words that we put online could have bigger consequences.

Countryfile photo competition

So, you may be wondering what this had to to do with photography and why I feel compelled to write this blog post.

This week the winner of the BBC Countryfile photo competition was revealed. The public voted for their favourite image, which was of a mouse peeking out from a partially eaten apple. You can see the winning image and finalists here.

In the early hours of this morning while I was suffering from my weekly bout of insomnia I started to read the tweets that were going up in response to the winning image.

Cheat!

It would seem this poor unsuspecting photographer has now been branded a cheat and a liar.

Why you ask?

Her image was captured indoors in a studio environment. The mouse in question was one that was kept in captivity.

She also has her own photography website, which according to the great British public makes her a “professional photographer”.

Lets talk sense

Now whether or not you believe a studio shot of an animal in captivity should be eligible to win this competition is not really the issue here. It is a debate to had, but have it with the right people!

It is the ones setting the competition who make the rules. And ultimately it is their decision. The photographer followed the rules and should not be trolled online and called a cheat.

The idea that it is unfair on those people who have spent hours out and about trying to photograph wildlife is also ridiculous. (I am one of those photographers, and I do not feel hard done by). Anyone who enters this competition would be familiar with the rules (or at least should be if they have any sense!) I knew that my images could potentially be judged against images that have been captured in this manner. It is clearly stated in the rules!

The idea that she couldn’t enter because she may have made money from her photography is also crazy. The rules clearly state that you should not make more than half your income from photography. Many photographers at some point will have sold an image (even if it is just a print you took for a friend). This does not mean you are making a living wage from your passion.

In conclusion, the people who set the competition set the rules. Therefore there is no point in getting upset about it after the event. It just makes people look bitter!

Let’s just be kind to each other

I’ll get off my soapbox now! It would just be nice if people could be a little kinder to each other. At the end of the day – it is a beautiful image of a harvest mouse. Let’s just enjoy looking at beautiful images!

Pretty images

Finally, I’ll just end by sharing my entries into this competition.

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