How Much Is Too Much?

Landscape photographer David Byrne has been stripped of his recent landscape photographer of the year award for over editing his images beyond what the competition rules allowed.

The results went viral in the online photography world, with people discussing the level of editing. Certain online bloggers even started a campaign determined to prove that the images light sources didn’t match up.

Eventually the events organisers Take A View relented and released the following statement.

“Following the recent announcement of the winners of the Landscape Photographer of the Year 2012 Awards, further investigation has confirmed that the image chosen as the overall winner is in breach of the rules for the Classic view category owing to the extent of the digital manipulation techniques used. Organisers, Take A View have regrettably disqualified David Byrne’s image of Lindisfarne Castle and can announce that Simon Butterworth is the new winner of this year’s competition.”

David Byrne responed to his disqualification with the following statement.

“I have to inform you after a conversation with Charlie Waite I have been disqualified from the Landscape Photographer of the year awards, unfortunately I didn’t read the regulations and certain editing like adding clouds and cloning out small details are not allowed, while I don’t think what I have done to the photo is wrong in any way, I do understand it’s against the regulations so accept the decision whole heartily.

I have never passed off my photographs as record shots and the only reason this has come about has been due to my openness about how and what I do to my images. The changes I made were not major and if you go to the locations you will see everything is there as presented.”

What do you think, was the photography community too tough? Did Byrne mislead with his work? Should some editing be allowed?


  1. I think for a photography competition it is too much, otherwise it starts to become a competition of who can photoshop more/better rather than photographic technique. As nice as the photo is, I can understand why people were upset.

  2. The rules are appropriate for a photography competition. This is only notable because the manipulation was noticed by bloggers after the award was announced and not noticed by the judges during their deliberations.

  3. I think creating photos are like creating paintings…so paintings like photos are all about the final result and the impact it has on the viewer.
    The process of creation should not be stifled in my opinion…change the rules…everybody uses some form of manipulation…even Ansel Adams, he was famous for his zone printing process…involving excessive manipulation…and people loved the final result.

  4. Everyone I come across tells me to enter my photos/ sell my photos but you see… I just take the photo. If I wanted to manipulate a scene (which is what wins and sells) I’d paint instead. I’m about the skill of taking a good photo in the first place.

  5. I agree with S. Gunn.
    The dark room was an art form for photography. We just use computers now. All photographs manipulated in the dark room are still manipulated and not a true representation of he original on site experience. Are we artist or journalist, that is the question.

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