Prize for photo of man standing on beached whale revoked following backlash

Kyodo

A photo of a man posing atop a beached and seemingly dead whale won a photography award before triggering a backlash that ended with the prize being revoked, the contest’s organizer said Wednesday.

The Okhotsk Sea Ice Museum in Hokkaido awarded the Hokkaido Governor Award as first prize this month to the photo titled “Conquest,” taken by a man from Kitami, Hokkaido.

But the picture drew criticism on the Internet, with a post saying it was “blasphemy against nature,” which led the photographer to offer to return the prize Tuesday.

The man in the photo was celebrating from his place atop the small whale.

One judge in her review said, “It can be said the young man succeeded in accomplishing a rarely-seen feat,” seemingly praising the man for climbing the whale.

The photo was selected from among 118 works submitted by 62 people across the country. The contest featured the theme “Four Seasons in Okhotsk.”

“We consider the cause (of the backlash) to be our lack of care and awareness about nature and the environment, even though we are an institution that studies them,” Shuhei Takahashi, director of the museum, said. “We are reflecting on that seriously.”

  • Karagarga

    To think that dumb judges like these determine contests…

  • Pat

    Positive reaction, a chance for barbarism to be disencouraged

  • Gordon

    It’s not even a particularly good photo.

  • Ron Lane

    So many things are wrong here, all clearly mentioned in this article. I can take no pride in being a permanent resident of this country.

    • rezme

      As an American, I feel I should draw attention to one part of this article:

      “We consider the cause (of the backlash) to be our lack of care and awareness about nature and the environment, even though we are an institution that studies them,” Shuhei Takahashi, director of the museum, said. “We are reflecting on that seriously.”

      You would never see that kind of open, and unbiased self analysis from any organization here in the states. Yeah, they screwed up, but they owned it and (from the tone of the announcement) are actually ashamed of their gaffe…

  • Ron Lane

    So many things are wrong here, all clearly mentioned in this article. I can take no pride in being a permanent resident of this country.

  • Erma

    “…succeeded in accomplishing a rarely-seen feat” of climbing on the rotting carcass of a sentient creature more intelligent than himself. Ick.

  • Erma

    “…succeeded in accomplishing a rarely-seen feat” of climbing on the rotting carcass of a sentient creature more intelligent than himself. Ick.

  • Paul Johnny Lynn

    Pathetic all round; from the guy in the pic to the judges.

  • MLCross

    Wow, the other photo entries must’ve been really bad.

  • MLCross

    Wow, the other photo entries must’ve been really bad.

  • http://www.johnpnts.wordpress.com/ John L Pontious

    One foot on apathy, one foot on the absence of knowledge, and the rest is pissin’ all over the awful truth. Photobomb – is not even funny! Unless, of course the man is standing up for this beautiful creature, instead of just standing ON her. Julianna Pontious

  • Frank Energy

    AFter Fukushima radiation killed the krill. this is a heavy dishonor for Japan.