What Would You Do? How Would You Feel?

“If you’re not lying, you’re not trying”
A South London Proverb.

This article is based upon a series of hypothetical questions and is short in nature as it requires you to write the answers. Of course you do not have to physically write your answers although you may choose to do so in the form of tweets, facebook comments or blog posts. That is up to you, but however you choose to respond to the questions I pose below I hope that your reflections, responses or thoughts are of some use in how you see some photographic competitions in the future.

A question for the entrant.
How would you feel if you discovered that a photography competition that required you to pay a fee to enter was asking well-known photographers to enter the same competition for free and that the work they entered would be identified to the judges and successful in the competition?

A question for the successful photographer.
How would you feel if your success in a photography competition was dictated by the use of your name to give that competition a credence and profile based on your hard work to achieve the position you have within the photographic community?

A second question for the successful photographer.
How would you explain to those who paid to enter the competition why you did not have to?

A third question for the successful photographer.
How would you feel seeing your work exhibited to demonstrate the success of a competition?

A question for the photographer who declined the opportunity.
Do you feel that you should talk openly about an offer you felt to be either incorrect, inappropriate, unprofessional, corrupt or amoral?

Over to you…


Grant Scott is the founder/curator of United Nations of Photography,
a Senior Lecturer in Editorial and Advertising Photography at the University of Gloucestershire, a working photographer, and the author of Professional Photography: The New Global Landscape Explained (Focal Press 2014) and The Essential Student Guide to Professional Photography (Focal Press 2015). His next book #New Ways of Seeing: The Democratic Language of Photography will be published by Bloomsbury Academic in 2019.

His documentary film, Do Not Bend: The Photographic Life of Bill Jay will be screened across the UK and the US in 2018.

You can follow Grant on Twitter and on Instagram @UNofPhoto.

Text © Grant Scott 2018


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: