Photographer Caught Winning Awards With Other People’s Pictures

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The stolen photo that gained third spot in the 2023 WPE Awards Business group | Alex Koloskov

A photographer has been awarded multiple prizes in a picture levels of competition for get the job done that was not his individual, PetaPixel has solely uncovered.

Italian Davide Francese has entered numerous pics into the WPE Awards and although some of them seem to be his own, other folks have been stolen from other photographers — including just one who observed Francese had taken eight of his visuals.

Francese has apologized for his transgression, telling PetaPixel he acquired an on-line tutorial operated by Alex Koloskov from Photigy and considered he could use them for any goal.

“I did not know they could not be applied,” he claims in an e-mail. “I apologize for this, I did not know I couldn’t.”

WPE Awards congratulate Francese on Instagram
In a due to the fact-deleted submit, the WPE Awards congratulate Francese for third put in the 2023 WPE Awards Commercial group for a photo he stole from another photographer.
The original shoe photos
The image belongs to Alex Koloskov. He made a photography system all over it which Francese procured.

However, it wasn’t just Koloskov’s photos that Francese misused, he was awarded the silver badge in the Wedding Specifics class in 2020 applying a photograph that was evidently taken from Pixabay. But he experienced manipulated the stock photo by adding a glass of drink to the image.

Francese’s award-profitable photos from the 2020 WPE Awards Wedding day Aspects group, still left, the picture he seemingly applied as the foundation from Pixabay, appropriate. Picture by Irfan Haider on Pixabay


The WPE Awards, dependent in Paris, France, experienced a biography page for Francese, where by “his” profitable pictures ended up exhibited. Even so, this site has now been deleted by the site soon after PetaPixel alerted them to the situation.

The biography page
Francese’s now deleted biography webpage on the WPE Awards. The purple dots signify pictures that he stole from the Photigy web-site.
Marked photos from his biography page
All of the red dots characterize Alex Koloksov’s pics that ended up stolen except for the ‘Just Love’ shot that was seemingly taken from Pixabay.

Marked photos from his biography page

Marked photos from his biography page

Francese principally shoots weddings and he insists that the matrimony shots are all his personal. For occasion, in the 2023 competition, he is nonetheless credited as winning third position in the Groom Alone Marriage ceremony Working day category.

But he entered numerous product pics which were being all stolen from Alex Koloskov, the CEO and founder of Photigy — an on the net photography course portal. A reverse graphic research with Google Lens speedily led to the supply pics.

“I experience very pleased,” Koloskov jokes to PetaPixel. “I by no means comprehended why guys like him are doing this. Very good illustrations or photos will generally obtain their proprietor, this is why I by no means place watermarks on my operate and never ever counsel [doing so] for my learners. The ideal copyright is the publicity of an excellent work.”

The Grand Prize

The WPE Awards operates on a points program, there are a number of groups to enter and photographers are ranked in general. The grand prize winner gets a $2,158 (2,000 Euros) hard cash prize, there are no tangible prizes for second or third (aside from free entries into the subsequent competitiveness).

Francese was rated 25th in 2023’s competitiveness and has an all round earth ranking of 32nd which requires in prior competitions so he doesn’t seem to have monetarily received from stealing other photographer’s do the job — but was making an attempt to.

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

But he has scooped many awards with other people’s photographs, denying other photographers the chance the fuzzy emotion of being identified for their hard get the job done.

In the to start with fifty percent of the 2022 WPE competition, Francese won 3rd position in the Wedding ceremony Aspects group with a photo taken by Alex Koloskov from Photigy.

In the 2022 yearly WPE Awards, he was awarded third position in the Business classification for a stunning products photo of a observe — that was taken by Alex Koloskov.

And in the first 50 % of the 2023 awards, Francese as soon as all over again employed Koloskov’s thought image of a pair of footwear to get 3rd put in the Industrial group.


The WPE Awards did not respond to PetaPixel’s emails but has now taken off some of Francese’s do the job from its web-site.

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

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

Francese has also been in immediate get hold of with Koloskov to apologize for stealing his images.

“I bought the course from you and you also sent me the information but I didn’t know that I couldn’t [use] them,” he claims.

Koloskov continues to be unimpressed.

In the competition’s terms and ailments, it clearly states that by moving into the participant “accepts that he/she is the owner of the pictures.”

Maria Lewis

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