Effective 15th December 2021
All members of the so-called “Society of Scottish Landscape Photographers” are banned from entering the Competition. The Competition and its sponsors will no longer promote or offer opportunities to any photographer known to be a member of this group.
The background and reasons for the ban are detailed below.
In December 2021, the Competition’s lawyers served notice on Davie Hudson (the owner of the group) that legal action was being prepared against his group in response to defamatory statements published by it and a “call to action” to cause damage to the Competition. Mr Hudson was given the opportunity to remove and retract the statements and thereby avoid court action, but did not comply.
The Competition has since received a number of apologies and retractions from several of the group’s members and the Competition has been contacted by photographers to confirm they left the group and did not endorse the behaviour.
This page has been updated for clarity
A handful of entrants (who are all members of the SOSLP) have made entitled demands to the Competition and refused to abide by its rules. As a result of their demands not being met, threats were made by them to “escalate matters” and for the past 4-5 years, they have spread malicious lies within the SOSLP’s forum to damage the Competition’s reputation and dissuade photographers from entering. Screenshot evidence was leaked to the Competition and it has since been confirmed by ex-members that the group’s owner also encouraged and initiated this.
The Competition has ignored this group as far as possible and concentrated instead on promoting & improving the Competition, but when new rules were introduced in 2021, a full and open bullying campaign was instigated by members of the SOSLP on the Competition’s social media page. Abusive emails were sent and veiled threats that the SOSLP were “major financial contributors*” to Competition and through their influence, could “reduce 80% of the Competition’s income”. Demands were made to reverse the new rules and when those demands were refused, false allegations were circulated by SOSLP members that cronyism was being practiced and that a conflict of interest existed with the Competition’s judges. A screenshot confirmed this and that a campiagn was being waged to damage the Competition.
At this point, the Competition chose to take action against the SOSLP. It should be noted however that the Competition made every effort to avoid banning the SOSLP but all those efforts were rebuked
*NOTE: The Competition wants to make clear that the SOSLP are not financial contributors in any way. Only 5-10 SOSLP members have ever entered the Competition, which is less than 2% of all entrants.
What is the “Society of Scottish Landscape Photographers”?
The “Society of Scottish Landscape Photographers” ( SOSLP) is a group that operates a secret forum. In public, it masquerades as an “official” society and misleads the public to believe it is an official organisation. It claims to have an official wesbite, official instagram and official twitter accounts. It claims to run “official” exhibitions, publishes an official e-book’, has a chairperson, a committee, an admissions panel, a treasurer and bank accounts. It alludes to being an elite body whose membership is comprised of photographers that have been “assessed on their skills”. It has approached business associates of the Competition and led them to believe it is an official society.
NOTE: It is not an official or legally registered society. It has been confirmed by numerous ex-members that it is nothing more than a Facebook group and the entire membership was built using the “invite a friend” function. No “skills assessment” ever takes place and many members were unaware they had been added.
Reasons for the ban.
1) Threads have been started inside its hidden forum to smear the reputation of individual photographers and award winners, as well as smearing the Competition and the founder’s personal reputation, Numerous sources confirm this to be true.
2) During an opening night exhibition held by the Competition, several complaints were made by attendees that the exhibition was used to recruit members to the SOSLP. The complainants all made clear that statements were made to them that “the society always does well in SLPOTY” and inducements were offered, that if they joined, they would enjoy access to a secret forum where judges in the Competition are also members.
3) Copyrighted material was regularly stolen from the Competition, the SOSLP logo placed over it and passed off as their own in efforts to promote their group.
4) Allegations of cronyism were disseminated by its members in a private forum and in leaked emails, designed to cast doubt on the integrity of judges and damage the Competition.
5) The screenshot below was posted publicly in November 2021
i) The allegations of personal vendettas are categorically false and are in fact malicious fabrications by disgruntled entrants, designed to smear reputations. No personal relationship exists or can be demonstrated, and no evidence has ever been provided of any personal vendetta.
ii) Allegations of cronyism are defamatory beyond any doubt because any act of cronyism is impossible in this competition. Judging is a matter of public record. It is performed by 10 independent judges, acting in isolation who do not know each other, and scores are electronically recorded for independent auditing purposes.
Every judge since that has ever taken part in this Competition has given their time for free and there is and never will be any question as to their integrity.
The Competition has done absolutely no harm to the SOSLP in any shape or form, but we live in a world where those with egos and perceived entitlement can hide in a secret group and use it as a platform to spread hate and bully those with good intentions. There is no place for such people in this Competition.
All members of the SOSLP are banned from the Competition.