Good morning, everyone.
This is a final clarification about what happened. I’ve had not the time to answer earlier because I’ve had some family issues and my photographic equipment has been robbed lately.
The photo concerned has been taken using a mantis bred by a friend of mine who’ve had the hobby of macrography for 30 years. I’m not an entomologist, but I find ridiculous to get these complaints. I’ve traveled the world for 20 years trying to make people see the beauty of our planet in an artistic way (and not in a scientific way) always respecting nature. I’ve just tried to get less experienced people to appreciate nature. I’ve learned to respect insects more just photographing them. When I’ve taken the concerned shot, my main goal was to show the extraordinary beauty of this species even to the ones who kill insects because they are scared or annoyed by them.
I also find accusations to the jury totally unjustified. The jury, which was in good faith, has captured the poetic side of the image.
The photo, already published in November, was never questioned by anyone until it has won the first prize. No expert has ever commented it; this because many similar photos are taken this way by macrography enthusiasts and professionals too. Anyway, I admit the photo has not been taken in the species’ original environment, but I’ve deeply respected the mantis. It has been photographed in many moments and it was in perfect health.
I say it once again, the animal wasn’t in its original environment, but it has been fully respected.
Knowing that this mantis are bred even in their original country to become pet animals, I have made the mistake of not specifying the place where I have took the photo.
If the jury decides to remove this photograph from competition, I will accept the disqualification. But I won’t allow anyone saying that the photo is a photomontage or that the jury does not require original RAW files or even worse that the animal has been abused.
Many times, as I’ve always admitted, I recreate little scenes just like many other fellow photographers. The ones who knows me best, knows also that I do this in total respect for the subject, being it a tiny insect or a wild lion.
For the ones renewing accusation about my exclusion from another popular Italian contest, I just want to make it clear for them that I’ve not been disqualified because of a photomontage or an unspecified manipulation. I’ve been disqualified from that contest because I have used a technique that is becoming more and more accepted nowadays, even in Oasis contest: I’m talking about focus stacking, a technique which I have been a pioneer of and that is nowadays largely used in photography.
Hoping to have clarified on this misconception, I trust that in a near future all the insults damaging the whole photography sector will come to cease.