Photographer Stripped of Award for Fraud

Zhang Ziping, Ren Shichen, copyright infringement, stolen image, stolen photograph, image theft, copyright, photography, photo news, Photography News, Diana Topan,
July 19, 2010 /PN/ The top prize winner of the 2010 "Human and Water" international photography competition, Zhang Ziping, was stripped of the title after he was found to have plagiarized his work, the Yangtse Evening News reports Monday.

The original photo was taken by a Lanzhou-based newspaper photographer, Ren Shichen, and it features two people carrying water along a mountainous road.

"I took this photo on February 22, 2007 in Zhengning county of Gansu Province. Local villagers at that time had to fetch water from downhill because the well dried up. When I stood on the mountain road and looked down, I saw the villagers' silhouettes and was inspired to take the picture," Ren told the Global Times Monday. "I was astonished when I heard of the award."

Zhang Ziping – who won the award – reversed and cropped the original image.

Ren said he has spent 10 years visiting more than 100 villages in the provinces of Gansu and Shaanxi and in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. He said he has taken more than 3,000 photos.

Ren said he would demand 50,000 yuan ($7,353) in compensation from Zhang.

"The photos are my painstaking work and Zhang's behavior has infringed on my copyright and right of honor. I feel offended," he said.

The organizing committee issued an online notice Friday to cancel Zhang's award and also issued an apology to Ren.

Zhang has reportedly taken part in many photography contests and won several prizes.

Diana Topan


  1. Anonymous says

    ooops! it looks like cheating in photo contests is kinda 'trendy'. not long ago there was the guy who shot the trained wolf in a reservation and won the 1st prize in a wildlife contest with his photo, for later to be stripped off his award. and now this guy. where's the talent? where's the originality? where's the spontaneity?

    Anonymous says

    i wonder what goes through a persons mind when they so obviously cheat.

    Geoffrey Pawlaczyk says

    I commend Ren Shichen for taking action against Zhang Ziping. One of my talents is a professional photographer and it takes lots of time, resources and talent for just one photograph. I am not surprised Ren Shichen demand more than 50,000 yuan.

    Joe Fogg says

    As we all know if awards are your thing then it's not just about the image but how you present it. Seems like Zhang has mastered the art of winning awards and Ren capturing images - they'd make a great team if they recognised their individual strengths. Creating conflict is the human condition - great for photo journalists.

    Personally I think the Kaleidescope effect shown here (combining both images should win).

    It's style I'll be applying to my images.

    Anonymous says

    I agree with everything stated so far, although I recall that "imitation is the ultimate flattery" (or words to that effect). Now if I also use this mirror technique like Joe is going to, is he going to sue me? :)

    Anonymous says

    i think the judges should have checked the exif file and metadata...

    Anonymous says

    Does this mean that the award will be given to Ren Shichen?

    Anonymous says

    Seeing as it was the winning photograph, then Shichen should be the winner.
    I kind of like the idea of winning a contest you didn't enter...

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