Photographer Caught Profitable Awards With Other People’s Shots

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A stolen photo that won an award
The stolen image that received 3rd place in the 2023 WPE Awards Industrial category | Alex Koloskov

A photographer has been awarded multiple prizes in a photograph competitors for operate that was not his personal, PetaPixel has solely learned.

Italian Davide Francese has entered many photos into the WPE Awards and even though some of them look to be his have, other folks have been stolen from other photographers — which includes one particular who found Francese had taken 8 of his visuals.

Francese has apologized for his transgression, telling PetaPixel he acquired an online tutorial operated by Alex Koloskov from Photigy and believed he could use them for any purpose.

“I didn’t know they could not be utilized,” he suggests in an electronic mail. “I apologize for this, I did not know I couldn’t.”

WPE Awards congratulate Francese on Instagram
In a considering that-deleted submit, the WPE Awards congratulate Francese for third area in the 2023 WPE Awards Professional group for a photo he stole from yet another photographer.
The original shoe photos
The impression belongs to Alex Koloskov. He designed a images system all-around it which Francese obtained.

Nonetheless, it was not just Koloskov’s shots that Francese misused, he was awarded the silver badge in the Marriage ceremony Aspects class in 2020 employing a picture that was evidently taken from Pixabay. But he experienced manipulated the stock image by incorporating a glass of drink to the picture.

Francese’s award-winning visuals from the 2020 WPE Awards Wedding Details group, still left, the photo he evidently used as the base from Pixabay, proper. Graphic by Irfan Haider on Pixabay


The WPE Awards, based in Paris, France, experienced a biography web site for Francese, exactly where “his” winning photos had been exhibited. Nonetheless, this web page has now been deleted by the web page following PetaPixel alerted them to the condition.

The biography page
Francese’s now deleted biography page on the WPE Awards. The purple dots characterize images that he stole from the Photigy web-site.
Marked photos from his biography page
All of the crimson dots characterize Alex Koloksov’s pictures that ended up stolen other than for the ‘Just Love’ shot that was apparently taken from Pixabay.

Marked photos from his biography page

Marked photos from his biography page

Francese generally shoots weddings and he insists that the matrimony photographs are all his very own. For occasion, in the 2023 level of competition, he is even now credited as winning 3rd position in the Groom Alone Wedding day Working day category.

But he entered a lot of product or service photos which ended up all stolen from Alex Koloskov, the CEO and founder of Photigy — an on the internet images course portal. A reverse picture look for with Google Lens immediately led to the supply shots.

“I sense happy,” Koloskov jokes to PetaPixel. “I under no circumstances recognized why fellas like him are carrying out this. Fantastic photographs will often locate their proprietor, this is why I by no means put watermarks on my perform and never counsel [doing so] for my pupils. The ideal copyright is the publicity of an remarkable get the job done.”

The Grand Prize

The WPE Awards is effective on a factors program, there are a number of classes to enter and photographers are ranked in general. The grand prize winner receives a $2,158 (2,000 Euros) money prize, there are no tangible prizes for 2nd or third (apart from free entries into the next levels of competition).

Francese was ranked 25th in 2023’s competition and has an all round planet ranking of 32nd which usually takes in prior competitions so he does not appear to have monetarily acquired from stealing other photographer’s work — but was attempting to.

Ranking on WPE
Francese’s ranking on WPE as of June 13, 2023.

But he has scooped numerous awards with other people’s shots, denying other photographers the prospect the fuzzy emotion of being regarded for their hard function.

In the initial fifty percent of the 2022 WPE levels of competition, Francese gained 3rd spot in the Wedding Specifics category with a image taken by Alex Koloskov from Photigy.

In the 2022 yearly WPE Awards, he was awarded third put in the Industrial category for a stunning merchandise picture of a view — that was taken by Alex Koloskov.

And in the first half of the 2023 awards, Francese the moment yet again made use of Koloskov’s concept photograph of a pair of sneakers to acquire 3rd spot in the Professional group.


The WPE Awards did not respond to PetaPixel’s email messages but has now removed some of Francese’s perform from its web page.

Equally the WPE and Francese have taken out Instagram posts celebrating his achievements.

PetaPixel has found messages from the competition’s organizer saying of Francese: “We warned him, if he does it all over again, we will terminate his membership.”

Francese has also been in immediate call with Koloskov to apologize for stealing his shots.

“I purchased the study course from you and you also despatched me the files but I did not know that I could not [use] them,” he states.

Koloskov stays unimpressed.

In the competition’s phrases and conditions, it obviously states that by coming into the participant “accepts that he/she is the operator of the shots.”

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