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Tim in Amboseli National Park, Kenya © Björn Persson
The disqualified image: ‘Tim in Amboseli National Park, Kenya’ © Björn Persson

Our judges have decided to disqualify the image that recently won its photographer the title of our 2019 Photographer of the Year, after being made aware that post-production work by the photographer resulted in certain rips/tears in the ears of the elephant not being accurately reflected. The photographer, therefore, forfeits the award, and a new winner has been announced.  The entrant’s explanation, that this error occurred unintentionally while he was cleaning up the image (a common practice amongst photographers), has been accepted by judges – but the decision to disqualify the image stands. 

Tim at sunset © Selengei Poole-Granli – Photographer of the Year 2019 entrant
By comparison, this image reflects Tim accurately – note the ear rips/tears. ‘Tim at sunset’ © Selengei Poole-Granli – Photographer of the Year 2019 entrant

The judges did not pick up the error during the judging process, although they did comment on the other evident post-production work on the image, which they feel is acceptable and which adds a “mystical dimension to Tim, a sense of fantasy and legend”.

Africa Geographic CEO Simon Espley commented: “We are gutted to have missed this detail about the rips in Tim’s ears, but take comfort that few people have the depth of knowledge about Tim to pick up on that level of detail. That said, we will take this on the chin and improve our systems going forward. We are grateful that one of our ever-vigilant community members with detailed knowledge of Tim did pick up on this, and alerted us.”

This decision was made according to the following entry rule: “Entries should be a faithful representation of the original scene. Localised adjustments should be used appropriately. The objective is to remain faithful to the original experience, and never to deceive the viewer or misrepresent the reality.”

Click here to see our new winner and runners-up

Tim in Amboseli National Park, Kenya © Selengei Poole-Granli – Photographer of the Year 2019 entrant
By comparison, this image reflects Tim accurately – note the ear rips/tears. ‘Tim in Amboseli National Park, Kenya’ © Selengei Poole-Granli – Photographer of the Year 2019 entrant

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