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The director of World Press Photo should spend some funds on studying history, Latin, and certainly the reports send to him by people who works for free and tirelessly to unveil the cheaters among us photojournalists. And then he should act genuinely and honestly when it has been proved for him that the world is full of conmen. We have plenty of fake stories going around. We do not need the frauds to win big prizes.

By Jørn Stjerneklar, photographer

Today, March 15, was the date Julius Cesar was assassinated 44 years before Christ was even born.
I don't know why, but I never forget his date of death. Maybe because we got the Latin lesson off March 15, when I was in school?

Anyway, it's proper to do some latin on this special day.

'Cujusvis hominis est errare, nullius nisi insipientis in errore perseverare'

which translates into:

'To err is human, but only the fool persists in his fault '.

I have to let you know. I didn't pass the Latin exam, so maybe it's not a 100% correct translation? But even a tone-deaf director of World Press Photo should get the meaning .

But Lars Boering persist to err again! And again.

There's been a lot of chatter on facebook and web sites about Hossein Fatemi who got the 'Long-Term Projects, second prize stories' here in WPP 2017.

The basics are that Fatemi's Iranian colleague, photographer Ramin Talaie, has made an thourough investigation into Fatemi's prize winning work and found a lot of staged photos, wrong captions and general bad behaviour. Enough to have his series disqualified and prize taken away.

You have to read Talaie's own blogs, but the detective work is immaculate.

Has WPP been up to it's task and followed it's own rules this time?

Skærmbillede 2017-03-15 kl. 12.38.49
Fatemi's caption: December 23, 2010 A naked woman, with a tattoo at the base of her spine, lies on a bed.
The woman is a prostitute working to pay for the cost of raising her two children.

Talaie's research: "She went on to explain that everything about the photos were staged and directed by all three of them in a collaborative manner.
She doesn’t understand why would Fatemi write this caption about her, “…
a prostitute working to pay for the cost of raising her two children.” She didn’t even know where her daughter was at the time of the shoot.

Now, let's go back to the Autum 2015 where I participated in a meeting in Copenhagen hosted by the photo bossman on the Danish daily Politiken, Thomas Borberg.

At the meeting were most of the photo editors from Denmark's big media outlets, the chairman of our Press Photographers Association plus a handful of photojournalists.

And Lars Boering, the new man in charge of WPP.

I had crashed the party, but flying in from 10.000 kilometers away, Borberg granted me access. I was there for one thing only, to ask Lars Boering to take away Marco Vernaschi's first prize he received back in 2010. The prize which still today is a disgrace for our profession.

I raised the matter at the meeting, I didn't get booed out, but the temperature fell considerably in the room.

Now we are here to discuss the future with the VIP from Amsterdam and then we have to listen to you old fool with your persistent call for action. Fuck you!

Or something like that was going through some of the minds present.

But my point was then and still is today, by lack of action (twice) from WPP they opened up for further cheating. Now it has been proved once more.

But it's not proved says Lars Boering in his arrogant answer to Ramin Talaie over the allegations:

”It is important to note that Ramin was not present when any of the photos he criticises in the winning story were taken, so he does not have direct experience of the circumstances he discusses.” (sic)

If this is the future, and Lars Boering only wanted to look ahead in Copenhagen in 2015, well, we can all forget to criticize anything.

We at Mayday Press were not present when Marco Vernaschi cheated and lied and staged his photos in Guinea back in 2009. So therefore our findings were irrelevant?

Probably the most staged photograph to have won the News Stories category in World Press Photo ever experts says about Marco Vernaschi's winner of a chair in 2010.

But hail Cesar! Lars Boering did start an investigation into Ramin Talaie claims. He hired one well known man to do the job. Well known to WPP it is.

Normally it would be an qualification to have been teaching the 2010 Joop Swart Masterclass, which is organized by WPP. Normally it would be an honour to have been Chair of the Jury for the 2013 World Press Photo contest.

But in this context? Not in my opinion. To investigate and maybe find plenty of dirt? To be part of a very embarrasing moment for WPP?

Photographer Santiago Lyon who was hired to 'investigate' had been behind the master class in 2010 and jury chairman in 2013. He is a bit to close to the people he reports to. He is by any standard not neutral when working for a former employer. Excuse me.

On top he does not speak Farsi and no translater was used during his 'investigation'.

It smells, does it!

None the less WPP concluded, “found that given the evidence presented there was not sufficient evidence to declare a clear breach of our contest entry rules.

Skærmbillede 2017-03-15 kl. 16.08.12
It's our modern day Cesar in the middle at the very back, Lars Boering

Ramin Talaie has digged deeper down since Lars Boering's arrogance. And written another blog about it.

But will WPP react? I for one doubt it. It will be same old, same old in the future. The future Boering was so persistent would change under his leadership.

So we are back to good old Cicero, who is quoted for: 'To err is human, but only fools persist in his fault'.

Cicero died a year before Cesar, it's a long time ago. And still some people in high positions insist to err...again and again.

I for one will stick to an even older guy than the two later CC's, my favourite is Marcus Porcius Cato, between friends called Censor, who always ended his speeches in the Senate with the words: "Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam"

Which loosely translates into, ”by the way, I think Marco Vernaschi should have his first prize taken away”.

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