Award-winning Australian photographer Lisa Saad has had numerous of her prestigious wins discounted after it was ruled her entries had been created using other photographers’ photos. Several major organizations made the decision to strip her of awards they’d previously selected her for.
An article which first appeared on Stop Stealing Photos, who run a wall of shame that is “dedicated to photographers that feel that it's okay to steal others' work and post it as their own,” drew comparisons between Saad’s work and other images found online. In some cases, it appears Saad had gathered photos of various objects and placed them within her own scene. Some of the images used were stock photos. Besides immoral, this behavior violated the rules of contests Saad had gone on to win.
Since the article first went live, many organizations have begun investigations into the allegations. As a result, many of the prizes have since been designated to other photographers.
Earlier this year, Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) removed Saad’s past WPPI awards and Excellence points. Their rules forbid “using any portion of a photograph not personally captured by the entrant themselves in their submissions.”
The WPPI were followed by The Societies of Photographers, the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP), the Australian Photography Awards (APA), and the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography (NZIPP) in announcing they were disqualifying, removing, and banning Saad.
So severe was the fallout that new winners of prizes spanning back multiple years were announced; AIPP announced winners for contests going as far back as 2015.
One further issue has been the award prize money. Inside Imaging reports that Sara McKenna, AIPP treasurer, said Lisa Saad has cost the AIPP a minimum of $28,000 in prize money and trophies. The AIPP is attempting to recover some of these lost funds, “presumably from Lisa Saad herself.”