Nick Hanson disqualified 2016 & 2015 SLPOTY awards.

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After careful and thorough consideration, it is with regret that the Competition places on record, that Nick Hanson has been disqualified for the 2016 Competition and stripped of the overall title. His 2015 Runner Up award is annulled.

The Competition places on record that the overall winner of the 2016 “Scottish Landscape Photographer of Year” is Christopher Swan.

On what grounds were the Titles stripped?

1. Submitting an image that broke the Competition’s rules.
2. Submitting a false account of how the image was captured.
3. Unauthorised promotion of his awards for commercial purposes.
4. Aggressive and threatening behaviour.

1. Which image broke the Competition’s rules?

Autumn in Glen Affric

Why did it break the rules?

Section 14.1 (ii) of the rules require photographers to confirm and warrant that “they are the sole author of each entry and it is their own original work”. Additional clarification of this rule is set out in the FAQs that images captured during photography workshops or 1-2-1 workshops are not eligible for any of the main awards or the overall title, but may be eligible for a commendation in a lesser award.

2. Submitting a false account of how images were captured.

When Nick Hanson submitted his images, he provided a description of how his images were captured. When he was interviewed before being confirmed as the overall winner, he confirmed none of his images were captured during a workshop.

In 2017 however, a report was received casting doubt on Nick Hanson’s images. Specifically, Nick Hanson stated in an online magazine interview and published on his own website that he captured his image during personal workshop he had paid for. See image below.

Nick Hanson was well aware that images captured during a paid workshop were not eligible for the overall winner’s award but despite this, he lied in both his written statement and in his initial interview.

Nick Hanson refused to answer any questions or respond to the Competition’s queries but it was later confirmed that he had in fact captured the image during the paid workshop.

3. Unauthorised promotion of his awards for commercial purposes

Nick Hanson made a request to publicise his award on his employer’s company website, however, when he was queried, it was clear that the request was for his employer to profit from the Competition’s intellectual property – known legally as “passing off”.

Mr Hanson was informed that his request was against the competition’s rules and he was bound by the rules when he entered and his request was declined. Despite this, he went ahead regardless and published promotional material that exploited the Competition and the sponsors rights.

Mr Hanson was approached numerous times and asked to cease the commercial infringements but refused on each occasion. He was then warned that continuing to do so would mean his awards could be revoked, but Mr Hanson doubled down and told the Competition that he did not care what the rules said and would carry on regardless.

4. Aggressive and thretening behaviour

The exact details of the behaviour will not be published, but during the period 2015-2016, Mr Hanson was frequently aggressive in his communications, made entitled demands and left a threatening voicemail. The Competition was later forced to launch a defamation action in the courts records of his behaviour were submitted in evidence. His behaviour would have become public but the case was settled out of court and the Competition has chosen not to make this public.

Decision

The Competition went to extraordinary lengths to engage with Nick Hanson and avoid the disqualification and the publicity that comes with it, but no matter those lengths, Nick Hanson refused to engage or comply with the Competition’s rules.

After all attempts were exhausted, the Competition was left with no option but to disqualify Nick Hanson of his awards.

Nick Hanson at no point challenged or disputed the reasons for the dismissal.

What does this disqualification mean?

The Competition no longer recognises Nick Hanson as either Runner up or Overall Winner of the Competition. He is not eligible to enter the Competition at any point in the future or use the title of winner or runner up of “The Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year” in any way to promote himself on a personal or commercial level. The public and media are requested not to refer to Mr Hanson as a winner of the Competition and where possible, to remove any reference to Mr Hanson as winner of the Competition from their websites, blogs etc.

Will the titles be awarded to another entrant?

Yes, the overall title “Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year” is Christopher Swan.

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