Definition of Nature and Wildlife in Competitions

Definition of Nature and Wildlife in Competitions

From January 2015 competitions organized by the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (PAGB), regional associations affiliated to PAGB, including the Surrey Photographic Association (SPA), and clubs that are affiliated to these bodies are required to adopt a new definition for images that are entered in Nature or Wildlife classes.

The new definitions were drafted because of concerns that the rules applied in “nature” competitions were being misinterpreted or deliberately flouted. One of the most common faults was entering an image of a captive creature or cultivated plant in a “nature” competition, the rules of which restricted subjects to those taken in the wild.

The new definitions were drafted jointly by Photographic Society of America (PSA), the Fédération Internationale de l’Art Photographique (FIAP), which represents more than 85 national associations including PAGB, and The Royal Photographic Society (RPS).

The full text of the new definitions as published by PAGB is attached.

What are the main changes and how might it affect Ludshott PC members?

  1. In a Nature competition images of captive creatures and are now accepted, but not domesticated or feral animals, or cultivated or hybrid plants. This is a change from the rules that applied previously to “nature” competitions under the auspices of FIAP and, thus, any organized by PAGB or SPA, as captive creatures were excluded. This means one can now enter pictures taken at zoos, falconry centers, etc. provided the subject is a creature that naturally occurs in the wild.
  1. In a Wildlife competition the rules for Nature apply, but in addition captive creatures are excluded. However, since PAGB / SPA only seem to organize competitions which have a Nature class this difference is unlikely at present to affect many of LPC’s members.
  1. A significant change from previous FIAP, PAGB, SPA rules that applies to both Nature and Wildlife classes is the requirement that “No techniques that add, relocate, replace, or remove pictorial elements except by cropping are permitted”. The meaning of this rule and, specifically, the reference to “adding or replacing pictorial elements”, is now understood to prohibit any cloning, except where used to remove dusts spots, digital noise or film scratches. So, one cannot add canvas, nor improve an image by removing so much as a small leaf or a blade of grass.

The new rules will affect those members who enter competitions (in their own name) that have a Nature class. At present these include the SPA’s individual print and PDI competitions that are held in October each year and SPA’s Biannual competition that is held in February on alternate years. The rules will also apply to individual entries to any RPS competition with a Nature or Wildlife class and national and international Nature or Wildlife competitions with PAGB, FIAP or PSA accreditation.

LPC’s internal competitions are all Open competitions, i.e. they have no Nature class. However, the Club may wish to use an image that has done well in an internal competition to represent LPC in the Nature class of an SPA or PAGB club competition. In such circumstance you may be asked to advise whether your image complies with the PAGB’s new rules.

PAGB Definitions of Nature and Wildlife

 Nature Definition

Nature photography is restricted to the use of the photographic process to depict all branches of natural history, except anthropology and archaeology, in such a fashion that a well-informed person will be able to identify the subject material and certify its honest presentationThe story telling value of a photograph must be weighed more than the pictorial quality while maintaining high technical quality. Human elements shall not be present, except where those human elements are integral parts of the nature story such as nature subjects, like barn owls or storks, adapted to an environment modified by humans, or where those human elements are in situations depicting natural forces, like hurricanes or tidal waves. Scientific bands, scientific tags or radio collars on wild animals are permissible. Photographs of human created hybrid plants, cultivated plants, feral animals, domestic animals, or mounted specimens are ineligible, as is any form of manipulation that alters the truth of the photographic statement. No techniques that add, relocate, replace, or remove pictorial elements except by cropping are permitted. Techniques that enhance the presentation of the photograph without changing the nature story or the pictorial content, or without altering the content of the original scene, are permitted including HDR, focus stacking and dodging/burning. Techniques that remove elements added by the camera, such as dust spots, digital noise, and film scratches, are allowed. Stitched images are not permitted. All allowed adjustments must appear natural. Colour images can be converted to greyscale monochrome. Infrared images, either direct-captures or derivations, are not allowed.

 Images used in Nature Photography competitions may be divided in two classes: Nature and Wildlife

 Images entered in Nature sections meeting the Nature Photography Definition above can have landscapes, geologic formations, weather phenomena, and extant organisms as the primary subject matter. This includes images taken with the subjects in controlled conditions, such as zoos, game farms, botanical gardens, aquariums and any enclosure where the subjects are totally dependent on man for food.

Images entered in Wildlife sections meeting the Nature Photography Definition above are further defined as one or more extant zoological or botanical organisms free and unrestrained in a natural or adopted habitat. Landscapes, geologic formations, photographs of zoo or game farm animals, or of any extant zoological or botanical species taken under controlled conditions ae not eligible in Wildlife sections. Wildlife is not limited to animals, birds and insects. Marine subjects and botanical subjects (including fungi and algae) taken in the wild are suitable wildlife subjects, as are carcasses of extant species.

Wildlife images may be entered in Nature sections of Exhibitions.