Treasurer accused of plagiarising a picture steps down

John Scott's version of the photograph
John Scott's version of the photograph

THE treasurer of Wigan Photographic Society has stepped down after being accused of plagiarising a picture.

John Scott won the society’s February competition with an image named Madonna, but it has since been claimed that the original image was actually taken by Devon-based designer and fine art photographer Carri Angel.

The original photograph

The original photograph

Ms Angel says she was told about its use by another photographer after the picture also formed part of the society’s entry into the PAGB championships, where they won a trophy and as a result would have entered another competition in October.

The society has since removed the picture from the website and Mr Scott has left his post.

Debra Cain, president of the society, said: “It has come to our attention that a member of WPS has defied this organisation’s rules and code of conduct by plagiarising photographic images.

“As a well-respected photography club we are appalled by the behaviour of this individual and do not under any circumstances condone this practise.

As a well-respected photography club we are appalled by the behaviour of this individual and do not under any circumstances condone this practise

Debra Cain

“As a result of this coming to light and being thoroughly investigated by WPS committee members, the individual has by mutual agreement retired both their position on the committee and membership from this club.

“Any organisation that has been affected will be contacted forthwith and apologies made.

“Please may WPS extend our deepest apologies to the family concerned for any distress and inconvenience caused by this and assure all concerned that this club does not and will not accept this behaviour by any members past present or future.”

Mr Scott is accused of copying the image from Ms Angel’s website before flipping it and putting it onto a different background before submitting it as his own work.

John Scott

John Scott

Ms Angel said: “As it transpires the image was used for more than winning the competition, the society also used it to enter the PAGB championships.

“I was informed by another photographer that they won a trophy for this and were due to compete in a further event in October. They have since had to pull out and return the trophy.

“I do know that this is quite a dreadful scenario though and it is terribly unfair on the other members of the Wigan Photographic Society, who have now all been forced out of the competition.

“I think that the people who have been truly wronged in this situation are his fellow society members. They are the ones who will carry the brunt of his disgrace and have had their work thrown out of the national competition.

“The only thing that grieves me slightly is that I think the society should have spotted this. I am a professional photographer and it is quite evident to anybody that knows anything about photography that the model in the shot has been photographed in a professional studio and the image has been edited to a very high level.

“He then roughly cut this image out and dropped it onto a tacky stock background. The level of skill in the photography certainly does not match his shoddy attempt at editing. The WPS really should have noticed that.”

It is believed that Mr Scott was retired from his post in Monday and the society has returned the trophy won at the PAGB championships and withdrawn from the competition.

The Wigan Evening Post tried to get in touch with Mr Scott for a comment but he could not be contacted.