World's most famous Oscar? One man finds out the hard way

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Nice picture of an Oscar, isn't it? Maybe you even recognise it from somewhere. Nathan Hill issues a word of warning to potential photography competition cheats...

When the Worksop Guardian ran a ‘Picture Perfect’ competition, the entries were wide and varied. One image that impressed the judges – a local photographic society – was that of an Oscar, moodily lit against a black background.

The photographer, who, I shall simply call T, was understandably happy about this, although he’d overlooked one salient point – the image wasn’t his.

Furthermore, when the Worksop Guardian contacted us here at PFK, we instantly recognised the image. It’s one of our favourites, too. In fact, it’s that good, it has been recognised as a Wikipedia picture of the day twice, as well as being a candidate for the 2006 Wikimedia picture of the year. It features on well over 45 English Wikipedia pages, as well as over 50 foreign ones.

Claiming to be able to defend his corner, the wannabe prize winner promised negatives of the image, which he claimed to have taken years ago with an analogue camera. This is no mean feat, given that the picture, actually belonging to Jón Helgi Jónsson, was shot with a digital camera in May 2006. Jónsson even notes the details of his digital shot, going so far as to identify the version of Photoshop he used to process this digital image, as well as the camera model used.

Unsurprisingly, negatives of the image have not been forthcoming, and communication has now broken down between the editor of the Guardian, and the guileless entrant. At last count, the man in question would only respond to conversation by repeating the word’ whatever’ over and over.

So as a polite note to potential competition cheats in the Worksop area – if you’re planning on submitting an image by somebody else as your own, at least have the sense to ensure it’s not the single most popular photograph of the subject that you’re ripping off. Otherwise, you end up with egg on your face, and an awful Sword of Damocles hanging over you at the thought that somebody might contact the actual copyright holder.

But don’t take my word for it. Try googling the word Astronotus, and have a scroll through images. In next to no time you’ll be looking at the same image as the one above.

It’s a beautiful shot of a beautiful fish, isn’t it? All credit to Jón for taking it. To see it in its original beauty, just follow this link…