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Photographer Caught Winning Awards With Other People’s Pictures

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

A photographer has been awarded multiple prizes in a picture level of competition for operate that was not his very own, PetaPixel has solely realized.

Italian Davide Francese has entered a lot of photographs into the WPE Awards and when some of them seem to be his individual, other individuals have been stolen from other photographers — including a person who found Francese had taken eight of his illustrations or photos.

Francese has apologized for his transgression, telling PetaPixel he procured an on the net tutorial operated by Alex Koloskov from Photigy and considered he could use them for any objective.

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

WPE Awards congratulate Francese on Instagram
In a because-deleted publish, the WPE Awards congratulate Francese for 3rd area in the 2023 WPE Awards Industrial category for a photograph he stole from one more photographer.
The original shoe photos
The graphic belongs to Alex Koloskov. He made a pictures program all-around it which Francese bought.

Nonetheless, it was not just Koloskov’s images that Francese misused, he was awarded the silver badge in the Marriage Aspects category in 2020 applying a photograph that was evidently taken from Pixabay. But he had manipulated the stock picture by introducing a glass of consume to the impression.

Francese’s award-winning pictures from the 2020 WPE Awards Marriage ceremony Aspects classification, still left, the photograph he evidently used as the foundation from Pixabay, proper. Graphic by Irfan Haider on Pixabay


The WPE Awards, primarily based in Paris, France, had a biography webpage for Francese, where by “his” winning pictures were being shown. However, this site has now been deleted by the web site following PetaPixel alerted them to the problem.

The biography page
Francese’s now deleted biography page on the WPE Awards. The red dots depict shots that he stole from the Photigy web-site.
Marked photos from his biography page
All of the pink dots depict Alex Koloksov’s pics that were stolen apart from for the ‘Just Love’ shot that was seemingly taken from Pixabay.

Marked photos from his biography page

Marked photos from his biography page

Francese mostly shoots weddings and he insists that the matrimony shots are all his individual. For instance, in the 2023 levels of competition, he is nevertheless credited as profitable third area in the Groom Alone Wedding day Day group.

But he entered a lot of solution shots which have been all stolen from Alex Koloskov, the CEO and founder of Photigy — an online images study course portal. A reverse impression research with Google Lens swiftly led to the supply photos.

“I come to feel very pleased,” Koloskov jokes to PetaPixel. “I in no way understood why fellas like him are undertaking this. Good illustrations or photos will always find their proprietor, this is why I never ever place watermarks on my do the job and never ever suggest [doing so] for my pupils. The best copyright is the publicity of an remarkable perform.”

The Grand Prize

The WPE Awards is effective on a details program, there are various categories to enter and photographers are ranked in general. The grand prize winner receives a $2,158 (2,000 Euros) hard cash prize, there are no tangible prizes for 2nd or 3rd (apart from absolutely free entries into the up coming opposition).

Francese was ranked 25th in 2023’s levels of competition and has an overall globe ranking of 32nd which takes in previous competitions so he doesn’t surface to have monetarily acquired from thieving other photographer’s do the job — but was trying to.

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

But he has scooped numerous awards with other people’s images, denying other photographers the opportunity the fuzzy sensation of becoming acknowledged for their tricky perform.

In the very first 50 percent of the 2022 WPE competitors, Francese won third location in the Wedding ceremony Facts category with a picture taken by Alex Koloskov from Photigy.

In the 2022 yearly WPE Awards, he was awarded third area in the Industrial group for a attractive products picture of a watch — that was taken by Alex Koloskov.

And in the first fifty percent of the 2023 awards, Francese as soon as again utilized Koloskov’s principle photo of a pair of sneakers to get third location in the Business category.


The WPE Awards did not answer to PetaPixel’s e-mail but has now removed some of Francese’s work from its web page.

Both the WPE and Francese have removed Instagram posts celebrating his achievements.

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

Francese has also been in immediate make contact with with Koloskov to apologize for stealing his pics.

“I bought the class from you and you also sent me the information but I didn’t know that I could not [use] them,” he says.

Koloskov remains unimpressed.

In the competition’s terms and situations, it obviously states that by entering the participant “accepts that he/she is the operator of the pics.”