Russian Photographer Accuses Sony World Photography Awards Finalist of Plagiarism

According to Anka Zhuravleva, the idea for the shortlisted photograph was plagiarized from her.

In later February, the organizers of one of the largest international contests, Sony World Photography Awards, announced the names of finalists: among them, a Romanian photographer Alex Andriesi — the jury shortlisted his work titled Far From Gravity.

One month later, Russian photographer Anka Zhuravleva published a statement on Facebook, accusing Andriesi of plagiarism. According to her, he stole the idea for his photograph from her. She attached both pictures that look almost identical to the post: Zhuravleva took hers in 2011.

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Anka Zhuravleva's photograph, taken in 2011
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Alex Andriesi's photograph, shortlisted for Sony World Photography Awards

“It’s ok to copy to learn, to try to find yourself. But to participate in a famous contest? And do you think it is ok when the famous organisation like World Photography Organisation is giving a green light to a photographer who uses so obviously the idea of another photographer?” Zhuravleva says.

After some time, WPO representatives commented on Zhuravleva’s post. They said they were aware of the situation, but did not find evidence of plagiarism.

“We at the World Photography Organisation take plagiarism and any accusation of plagiarism extremely seriously. As with any accusation of plagiarism we conduct an investigation and speak with the relevant parties. In this instance Alex Andriesi has provided documents that support his statement that he has not plagiarised the work of any other artist and his influence was taken from elsewhere,” WPO said.

“Whilst we recognise the similarity between the images it is essential to point out that accusations of plagiarism have to have more than coincidence. The documents provided to us by Mr Andriesi certainly support his claim,” WPO representatives explained. “Until this is proved otherwise, Mr Andriesi remains a shortlisted photographer of the 2017 Sony World Photography Awards.”

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