Friday, September 12, 2008

Art Competition Fraud: The Art of Cheating?

I read a story today about a dispute between a model and a photographer. Disputes between models and artists are not all that uncommon, but this one involved an art competition so it caught my interest. The model claims that the photographer entered a photograph involving him into the competition without permission. Apparently the model was upset because he is nude in the image and feels that he is being punished for something he did when he was ‘young and wild‘. The contract/release between the model and photographer-- if there even was one-- may not be an issue as far as the competition is concerned. However, the fact that the model claims that the competition entry that included him was created over a decade ago is an issue. That information is important because the competition clearly stated in the rules that all entries must have been created in the last year. If the claim is true that would mean that the entry is fraudulent.

There is more to this story. The model-- perhaps out of spite-- is calling for the photographer, who won a top slot in the competition with the photograph in question, to be stripped of his award. If the photographer knowingly violated the terms of the competition that may very well be the solution. However, the facts are not out yet on this story and the competition rules were not exactly clear in the article. Thus, I’m hesitant to mention names because of that lack of information. I can’t say that someone is guilty until I know the facts, right?

For example, what if the photographer-- depending on what the rules implied and the understanding the photographer had of said rules-- simply photographed one of his old photographs? If the rules simply stated that the work itself, as in the creation of the photograph and not what is depicted in the photograph, must be no more than a year old would an act like that be considered cheating? Would it be an exploitation of the rules? Or should it be considered a legitimate new work of art if that is the case? After all, in that scenario the new photograph may very well fall into the accepted time line, correct? That said, the facts surrounding this dispute, based on the article I observed, are not exactly clear.

This story caused me to reflect on two concerns. The first being the rights of models with or without a contract/release and the second being the fact that some artists are willing to cheat or manipulate rules in order to help their chances in art competitions-- artists that practice the art of cheating, so to speak. If an art photograph of a nude person from years ago harms the reputation of that person today how should it be handled in your opinion? If there is proof that an artists has ‘cheated’ or manipulated the system, so to speak, in an art competition how should that be handled by the competition sponsors or others involved with the artist-- such as the gallery representing the artist? Should the artist be widely exposed for his or her deception? Should legal action be taken? What are your thoughts on these issues?

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor


Anonymous said...

photography isnt art

Balhatain said...

Anon, millions of people view photography as art. Do you suggest that you know more than they do about the subject? What is art to you?

Anonymous said...

I think that naked model did something wrong or not moral when he was young that he does not want other people to find out.

Deka said...

when the sketch was made does not matter - if the finished work was done in the last year then so what... i have made images for over 20 years and for new work sometimes go back to my negatives (sketches).... i don't c this is an issue unless the competition said every component of the image being used in an work had to be made during the course of this year...

Anonymous said...

Anything can be art, it all depends on the intent. And execution. But as few (if any) know what that intent is anymore, one developed and added to over eons, this probably aint it either.

Art collegia delenda est

Anonymous said...

Hello. I think if the rules state, within the last year then it needs to be created within the last year. I am a printmaker and when I see this requirement in a competition I understand it as meaning its relatively new work. I would NEVER consider going back to one of my old etching or litho plates and reprinting an image just so I had made it within the time frame.

In my opinion the point of giving time frames is to get people to continue to create new art work instead of reusing the stuff that they made 10 years ago, some kinda one hit wonder they had way back when over and over again. This is going to sound a bit harsh...but.... people really need to get off their asses and get into the studio and make something instead of sitting around figuring ways around doing so.

As for the photo of the nude man, if the man agreed to get his picture taken when it occurred that there is not much he can say about it at this point. A bigger issue I have with this is, posing nude is far from being immoral or anything off the sort. We all have a body and should not be so damn shamed of it!!!!!

One last thing, Anonymous, if your going to make such ridiculous statements like photography is not art, or assumptions about someone's past or morality then at the very least you could have the courage to say who you actually are. Your speaking of the model not wanting others to find out something, perhaps this is some projection on your part?

Sorry If this is harsh, I am feeling a bit hostile today for some reason, Brain.

Anonymous said...

Ok guys, In my opinion when the work was done is not an issue (and photography is an ART), it can be as viable and honest and fresh as it is today. However showing the nude without asking for permission from the model is definitely a no no. Actually more like an infringement on someones else's privacy when times change. Sorry to say. But Common. Guys, where is all your valuable education??

Balhatain said...

“However showing the nude without asking for permission from the model is definitely a no no. Actually more like an infringement on someones else's privacy when times change.”

Not if the model had signed a release or some other form of contract giving all rights away. If nothing was signed than it becomes a photographer said / model said issue. In those scenarios the photographer can do what he wants with his images for the most part no matter if feelings are hurt.

This story is a good example of why models and photographers should both have a formal agreement about a shoot. Get the release folks.

"Guys, where is all your valuable education??"

Have a snarky day. :)

Anonymous said...

LOL. "Snarky" day...