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The 2007 EPUK Golden Cameraphone Awards

30 December 2007 - EPUK

They’re back! Bigger and badder than ever, it’s the annual EPUK Golden Cameraphone Awards. Check out how you did, and get your lawyers to call our lawyers in the morning…

The Clouseau Award For Law Enforcement [sponsored by Heckler & Koch]

As a specialist award only open to serving police officers, one might think entries would be limited. Happily this was not the case, and UK police forces have been enthusiastic in their nominations.

Highly Commended: Suffolk Police for detaining an amateur photographer caught in the act of photographing Postman Pat and Cinderella at Christmas celebrations in Ipswich town centre.

Winner: SO14 police officer Paul Page. Faced with the imminent threat of being photographed this former royal protection officer reacted as any reasonable person would: he rammed the photographer’s car, then forced Sun freelance Scott Hornby onto the ground at gunpoint. ‘Thank goodness the court accepted the entirely plausible defence that Page believed Hornby to be a hit man,’ commented our award judges. ‘To have done anything else would have left our streets wide open to marauding hit men masquerading as photographers, or indeed the opposite. Or something.’

The Citizen Kane Award For Proprietors

Highly Commended: the Telegraph group for launching an undercover operation to catch employees who cheat on expenses. ‘It’s understandable that the Telegraph should take these steps having lost out to such cheats before,’ said the judges. ‘What a pity they didn’t instigate this system earlier.’

Winner: the National Union of Journalists for their best-selling magazine The Journalist. NUJ photographers were surprised to discover that their own union magazine was not prepared to pay them for images from Stand Up For Journalism, the day of action organised by the union in defence of wages. The judges commented: ‘The first in a string of awards in what turned out to be a spectacular year for the NUJ, and it’s always good to see people practice what they preach.’

The Deadpan Award for Irony Deficiency

‘It must be true: I read it on the internet’. The judges noted with approval that there is apparently no claim so far-fetched, especially when written by a dog in paramilitary clothing, that there is not someone gullible enough to believe it.

Highly Commended: Anthony Bromley for ‘Self serving, selfish and utter crap’ at Oi! Minkey – Do You ‘ave A License For Zat Camerabehm?

Highly Commended: Chris for ‘Who won the war anyway?’ at Oi! Minkey – Do You ‘ave A License For Zat Camerabehm?

Winner: the inappropriately named Zoë Wiseman for failing to check the publication date of Independent Titles To Abandon Digital And Return To Shooting On Film. We thought of letting Zoë know that the Independent no longer exists as a newspaper in any meaningful sense, but that would have been too cruel even for us.

Multiple Personality Of The Year

For obvious reasons, one of the most complex categories: confusion often reigns among candidates and judges alike.

Highly Commended: Stig O’Tracey, his twin brother Spig, Terry Ball, Jez Nihil and Fuckarse O’Pugh for their comments – now removed since this s a family website – to Blognum Rising, Black Star Bombing, Alamy Blogorrhoea. The award will be collected on their behalf by their legal representative Ian Murray.

Winner: Jay Kaycappa. It’s not unusual for a photographer to occasionally work under a pseudonym, but Kaycappa’s ten aliases and six dates of birth seem to be a public record, not least because they all turned up in court. Said the award judges:‘ Paparazzi tend to get a bad press, so it’s always good to meet one with genuine convictions: but how does he keep track of his bylines?’

Business Advisor Of The Year

Highly Commended: prominent photo-blogger Thomas Hawk is an enthusiastic proponent of the so-called Creative Commons license. So it came as a surprise when he discovered he didn’t actually understand the terms of the license he spends so much time promoting, and lost out to Forbes as a result. Hopefully this award will provide some compensation.

Highly Commended: National Union of Journalists Irish Secretary Seamus Dooley for his attempt to redefine freelances: ‘we should not use the word freelance but part-time casual worker’. The judges commented: ‘Presumably the originators of the term freelance, who were medieval mercenary soldiers, would have been eager to discuss this reclassification with Mr. Dooley.’

Winner: Harlan Ellison. This part-time casual worker may have been talking about writers, but everything he had to say will seem very familiar to photographers. So from now on just practice the Harlan Rant in the mirror each morning after flossing your teeth: ‘I should do a freebie for the Guardian News & Media? FUCK NO!!!’

The Bling Award For Fashion Victims

The controversy over size zero photographers continued, although some judges argued that the trend toward slim-line smudgers was not a true fashion statement, but emaciation brought on by falling fees and unpaid invoices.

Highly Commended: Gitzo, for their very modestly priced titanium tripod. A snip at just under £1,400, this will appeal to both E-Bay collectors and paparazzi who need a tripod light enough to run away with, but sturdy enough to act as a Gallagher repellant.

Highly Commended: Computer Choppers for their gold-plated MacBook Pro [diamonds optional]. Who says Apple products are overpriced?

Winner: Kodak, for Kodak Lays On The Style. Faced with the collapse of their core business the former film producer wisely decided that the money from now on is in style not content. The move has paid off with recent large sales in Ireland of the Blunt model, re-branded there as the Dooley.

Services To Her Majesty’s Paparazzi

While some remained obsessed with a ten-year-old drunk driving incident involving a rat in a Paris tunnel, the celebrity documentary world moved on apace. The judges noted with approval the trend for celebrities to take a more proactive stance, rather than simply wait for their bodyguards to kill any passing member of the public wielding a cameraphone.

Highly Commended: Liam Gallagher for Knuckle Sandwich Lunch. The judges commented: ‘An energetic performance from someone widely dismissed as a mere John Lennon impersonator. But on the contrary Liam continued to show that his true theme songs are ‘Give Violence A Chance’ and ‘All You Need Is Aggro’. We were particularly impressed by Liam’s dynastic tendencies, ensuring that his five year old son was on hand to learn the correct way to handle the media.’

Winner: Hugh Grant for Papz Meanz Heinz. ‘A brilliant and original performance from an actor never described as the greatest British thespian since Olivier’, enthused the judges. ‘Not only did Hugh successfully defend the celebrity’s right to privacy in public, but his manner of so doing constituted a form of humanitarian aid: by generously donating his breakfast to the hapless pap he helped fight the scourge of size zero photographers.’

The Arthur Daley Award For Syndication

Highly Commended: Jay Kaycappa. During the Heather Mills-McCartney trial it was discovered – although not revealed in court – that Kaycappa had been acquiring other photographers’ material without their knowledge and attempting to sell the images under his own name. The award judges commented: ‘It’s good to see that Jay – or one of his nine other identities – didn’t allow their collective courtroom responsibilities to interfere with their income stream. So many photographers complain about the impact of new technology on their businesses: it was heartening to see one turn this same technology to his own advantage.’

Winner: Only Dreemin, for The Web Giveth, The Web Taketh Away. This Leicester-based outfit got an unexpected publicity boost when Flickr star photographer Rebekka Guoleifsdóttir caught them selling posters of her work. She was in good company: Only Dreemin were also selling work by Roy Lichtenstein, and a wide range of Hollywood movie stills and posters, including ones of Dirty Harry, Vito Corleone, Tony Montana and Travis Bickle. Despite initial protestations of innocence, only Dreemin’s online store quickly went offline, and remains so at the time of writing. Flickr notably not only failed to support Rebekka in her quest for justice, but also backed the wrong horse and censored her Flickr page comments, much to the fury of other Flickr contributors. Given Flickr’s inaction and Only Dreemin’s subsequent disappearance we can only conclude that Harry, Vito, Tony and Travis got together to set things right. Said the judges: ‘Icelandic babes, theft and violence: what more could one ask for? Don’t you just love a Hollywood happy ending?’

The Joseph Goebels Award For Truth In Advertising

Nobody actually expects advertisers to tell the truth of course: the real test is the size of their whoppers.

Joint Winners: TVX Films and Virgin Mobile for The Pornographer, The Virgin, The Flickrite, Her Lawyer. It’s highly unusual to have a joint winner, but such was the high standard and similarity of these two entries the judges found it impossible to choose one over the other. ‘We could understand if a perfectly respectable Texas pornographer would prefer not to be compared with an Australian advertising agency,’ observed the judges; ‘however the nature of the entries makes it almost impossible to distinguish between them. Both the pornographer and the Virgin found their subject matter in Flickr. Both used their subjects’ images without consent to market their products. Both subjects were offended when they discovered the incidents and are seeking legal redress. Whatever the outcomes of the current cases it seems that the pornographer and the Virgin are a business match made in heaven.’

Good Samaritan Award

Winner: Gary Trotter And The Prisoner Of Al-Sulaymaniyah. Without even an invisibility cloak for protection EPUK member Trotter conducted a thousand day quest to free Iraqi friend and interpreter Tarik Ramadan, who had been handed over to Kurdish intelligence by the agents of Lord Voldemort. ‘Proof that even in the world of EPUK good can triumph over evil,’ concluded the judges. ‘But thankfully not too often.’

The Dzugashvilli Award For Media Freedom

As always a popular and hotly contested award. Indeed the competition is getting tougher, with not only the obvious entries, but also many from the worlds of sport and the music business. However the judges noted a similarity to many of the entries. ‘One expects such behaviour from gung-ho militarists, the agents of overpaid sportsmen and popular music artistes, meaning there is often little creativity and few surprises. But we were pleased to see that two of the winners were organisations that one would expect to be more media-friendly: not least because one of them claims to represent media workers.’

Highly Commended: npower for The Law As An Ass. In the finest traditions of the most paranoid of states the energy company served injunctions on EPUK member Adrian Arbib and any other UK citizen they could find. The reason? Somebody might take a photograph at some time in the future that might make one of their masked security guards ‘slightly afraid’. The judges sighed: ‘No wonder the guards all appear to be ex-military: whatever is the standard of forces training coming to?’

Highly Commended: Heathrow Climate Camp for Climate Camp Clampdown. ‘We were delighted to see the libertarian movement finally grow up and apply good corporate practice to their handling of the media,’ commented the judges. ‘This, and their firm grasp of Orwellian ideology and terminology – in particular the Tranquility Troops – make this a well-deserved award.’

Winner: the National Union of Journalists for NUJPhoto and Bend Over For Bureaucrats. ‘The NUJ let nothing stand in their way as they demonstrated their commitment to media freedom,’ enthused the judges. ‘From the suppression of the NUJPhoto list to the censorship of their Stand Up For Journalism site they were relentless in their attempts to stifle criticism. Such was their enthusiasm that they even enquired whether there was a link between the NUJ and EPUK, doubtless with the intent of closing this site also. Sadly it was not to be, but that was their only stumble in a wildly successful year of spin, dissembling and censorship.’

The Heath Robinson Award For Outstanding New Technology

Highly Commended: Alamy, for numerous, ahem, improvements to their software. Alamy admit that their system is a work in progress, and set about proving it this year with a slew of additions and alterations: Alamy Search Engine, AlamyUpload, Annotation Tools and the truly baffling AlamyMeasures. It’s a measure of the company’s openness, or naivety, that they also launched the Alamy Blog, where contributors – and anyone else – can tell Alamy EXACTLY what they think of the system. And as if that weren’t enough they then launched the Alamy Forum, where contributors can complain about their own bad behaviour over on the blog.

Winner: Canon for the EOS 1D Mk3. ‘A total triumph for technology,’ was the judges’ verdict. ‘In managing to deliver a £3,000 professional camera unable to reliably focus in the optimum conditions mastered by Human Eyeball V1.0 for thousands of years – i.e. clear, bight sunlight, no haze, perfect landing conditions – Canon demonstrated why they have become the brand of choice for professionals.’ Unconfirmed rumours indicate that Canon may now team up with last year’s winners Leica to produce the ultimate pro tool: a camera unable to either focus or render colours correctly without firmware rebuilds or third-party accessories.

The Tesco Award For Marketing

Highly Commended: Getty Images. After a period of reversals Getty’s takeover last year by iStock has started to show dividends, most notably with their introduction of the $49 image. As is normal with Getty initiatives this was only finalised after consultation with the Stock Artists Alliance, who now hold a controlling share of Getty stock.

Highly Commended: Corbis. Bill Gates’ other company reacted swiftly to Getty’s $49 initiative, announcing their own price reductions. This allowed new Corbis CEO Gary Shenk to make their by now traditional annual announcement that the company expects to show a profit for the first time ‘soon’. His prediction may be helped by the company’s cutting of 285 jobs, and closures of both its assignment division and offices in eight cities.

Winner: Alamy. Responding to the competition Alamy trumped them all in September with the company’s Novel Use Scheme. So novel is it that almost four months, hundreds of emails and one contributors’ meeting later Alamy are still unable to explain to their photographers what exactly the scheme consists of.

Contributions To Photographers Rights

Highly Commended: Baltimore Sun staff photographers. Given that two of the key issues photographers have always fought for is a living wage and a byline, the judges were intrigued and impressed by the Sun photographers’ radical new way of exerting pressure on their employer during an industrial dispute: a byline strike. That’s right, they continued to work, but the Sun could not use their bylines. Vicious, eh? Reports on the success of this tactic are mixed, but we – and doubtless publishers worldwide – will be watching with interest when they escalate their action to the next stage by working for free.

Winner: the National Union of Journalists for Drogheda Disagreement and ensuing chaos. The NUJ’s new agreement with the Drogheda Independent to replace photographers with writers armed with cameraphones in return for a closed shop and €6,000 pay rise for the writers was a deserved sensation. Although the agreement was with a regional Irish paper of limited circulation, it opens the way – in the NUJ’s dreams – to similar closed shop agreements elsewhere. It was a measure of the agreement’s success that the paper’s only full-time photographer – and NUJ member – was almost immediately replaced by a non-member with no previous professional photographic experience at an even lower rate of pay. The judges were also impressed by the industry commitment of the two NUJ figures who worked hardest to make the deal a reality, NUJ National Organiser for Ireland Des Fagan and Drogheda Independent Father of Chapel Alan Weston. Upon completion of the deal the former left the NUJ for a job elsewhere, while the latter quit journalism altogether for a job in teaching ‘with much better benefits’.

The First Adnan Hajj Award For Image Manipulation

Highly Commended: every US picture editor incapable of telling his dick from a tourniquet. In the wake of numerous embarrassing incidents of photographers altering news images, the American media now employ strict rules: any photographer caught doing so can expect the sack. Happily different rules apply on the other side of the picture desk, especially when the images are of Americans and readers might be offended by imagined body parts.

Winner: the Metropolitan Police for Plodshop Creative Suite, a programme capable of producing images that make innocent commuters look so similar to wanted terrorists that any reasonable person would shoot the former in the head seven times.

Best Rights Grab

While this remains the most popular category, with entries arriving thick and fast, the judges were largely unimpressed by this year’s standard. ‘Almost entirely lacking in originality,’ was their despairing verdict. ‘So much so that it’s difficult not to speculate that publishers’ lawyers are short-changing their clients by simply plagiarising one another’s rights-grabbing contracts. There is certainly nothing to rival the panache and chaos of last year’s award-wining Guardian entry.’ Ironically a late entry arrived from the Guardian just before contest deadline, but initial poor reviews by select target audiences leading to meetings in the New Year mean that the status of the paper’s controversial new contract has reverted to that of ‘in production’. Since Golden Cameraphone rules specify that all entries must be on general release, this means that the Guardian’s latest attempt must await next year’s awards.

The similarity and poor quality of this year’s entries led some judges to speculate that the rights-grab genre may finally be exhausted. Others however took a more optimistic view, believing that as publishers move to the web an exciting sub-genre will emerge: the video rights-grab. In support of their case these optimists pointed to the carefully hidden video rights grab in the proposed new Guardian contract.

As final decision time approached the judges had determined that no award would be made this year, only for a truly sensational last-minute entry to appear and send them back into consultation.

Winner: the Egyptian government for Pyramid Scheme. ‘Unprecedented’, ‘groundbreaking’ and ‘the rights-grab of the millennia’ were some of the judges’ comments. ‘This should serve as an inspiration to publishers everywhere’, they enthused. ‘While others have attempted retrospective rights-grabs in the past, none have dared to go back as far as 4,500 years, considerably longer the current legal standard of lifetime of the creator plus 70 years. The Egyptian Department of Antiquities are to be congratulated on the most revolutionary extension of creators rights since four or five millennia before they first entered the statute book.’

The EPUK Golden Cameraphone Black Hole Award For Disservices To Professional Photographers

As the most prestigious award the competition for the Black Hole is often fierce and can last right until judging time. But this was a highly unusual year. As time progressed it became clear that one entrant had embarked on a project of such spectacular incompetence, venality and wrong-headedness that it was likely to sweep all before it. And so it was.

Winner: the National Union of Journalists for Nujfellas. The judges were unanimous in their acclaim for this blackest of comedies: ‘From its opening line – “As far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a bureaucrat” – this epic tale of a former punk who rises to become boss of an alleged trade union and his attempts to control his dysfunctional “family’” was gripping stuff. But while many have focused on the dramatic central act of the so-called Drogheda Massacre, there was much more to savour. Structurally it was brilliant. Building from the NUJ’s quiet rewriting of their own rules to encourage staff writers to supplant freelance photographers in an attempt to protect their power base from rivals, it progressed with the union’s attempts to eliminate dissent, culminating in the now-famous Drogheda Massacre scene. The intricate plotting – generally in back rooms away from the prying eyes of union members– was supported by an array of powerful individual performances, most notably NUJ Irish Secretary Seamus Dooley in the role originally slotted for Joe Pesci.

Perhaps all of the preceding would have been enough to secure the NUJ the premier award. But the real denouement was yet to come. In a brilliant third act plot twist the NUJ denounced the internet and the very convergence they had just spent the rest of the year promoting. The result? A further stream of high profile resignations to join the ranks of photographers already deserting the union. It was this that ensured NUJ victory in the Black Hole, for the winners’ performance must contain the seeds of their own destruction. A masterpiece, and we eagerly anticipate the already-announced NUJ sequel, “The Departed”.’

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