A lot of people were iffy over the British Institute of Professional Photography’s Professional Photography Awards this year. It’s not that anyone broke the rules or cheated any winners out of their prizes. Rather, a lot of entrants cried foul over the fact that four of the seven judges in this years awards were announced as winners themselves.
Yes, you read that right: The judges were allowed to enter, and it was this same group of people that took home four of the top prizes. You can understand why this would cause quite a stir among entrants and other photography aficionados.
However, Hilary Harper of the BIPP said that while the organization doesn’t have “a hard and fast rule that judges can’t enter, they are made aware that if they do, they will not be able to judge that particular category.”
Regardless of this, it’s hard to ignore the fact that a vast majority of this year’s winners were judges themselves. Harper added: “Quite a few of the judges entered this year and they were removed from the relevant categories (one of the reasons we have a pool of judges – just in case there’s a conflict or knowledge of the image being judged). All images are anonymous and we also held the short listing on a separate day, to ensure these people weren’t involved in any way.”
Even assertions like that won’t be able to temper many people’s doubts, though, as the winner roster just makes it seem like too much of a coincidence. It’s probably because of this that the BIPP is now considering revising its rules for the annual awards.
The BIPP, through Harper, stated: “Having judges enter hasn’t been an issue in the past, but as queries have been raised, we’ll look at reviewing the processes for next year.”
The BIPP described the awards as “a showcase for professional photographers, celebrating the very best work from the UK and internationally, and are some of the most respected within the industry.”
What do you think?