Photography contest bosses hit back at ‘bias’ claims (update)

Organisers of professional photography awards at the centre of controversy – after four of the seven judges reportedly won prizes – claim they have received just two complaints.


The British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP) has issued a statement to Amateur Photographer (AP) in a bid to fend off a growing storm of protest over the contest, first reported by the British Journal of Photography (BJP) and subsequently covered by the BBC News website.

Speaking to AP yesterday (Thursday), BIPP project manager Hilary Harper confirmed that organisers are ‘looking at reviewing the awards’.

Among a list of photographers accusing the BIPP of bias was one called Paul who, in the comments section of BJP’s website, wrote: ‘I know of no other competition where it’s acceptable for judges to enter, in any capacity.

‘I certainly will not enter the BIPP competition again, and I’m very seriously considering my membership altogether.’

Another, called Dave, described the news as a ‘very sad turn of events’.

‘To say I am shocked would be an understatement,’ he wrote.

In a statement, the BIPP told AP: ‘Under current rules, members of the judging panel are not precluded from entering images for consideration but strict procedures are in place to ensure that the judging process is open, fair and unbias [sic].

‘In particular, no judge is permitted to sit on the panel assessing a category in which they have submitted an image. All images are also placed before each judging panel without the identity of the photographer being revealed to them.

‘We cannot guarantee that entrants will be satisfied by, or agree with their score, or the scores achieved by their contemporaries, but we do guarantee that all awarded images are fairly chosen after a fair, rigorous and lengthy judging procedure.’

The contest attracted around 1,000 entries.

Photos of the judging, which took place on 19 January, were posted online by the BIPP.

Several of the judges were awarded 'Long Service' certificates.
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