“Most Beautiful Country” IV Photo Contest of the Russian Geographical Society. Rules and Regulations.

1. General rules

1.1. The “Most Beautiful Country” IV Photo Contest of the Russian Geographical Society (hereinafter referred to as the Photo Contest) is held in order to attract attention to preserving the natural and cultural heritage of Russia and promoting the attitude of care to the environment through the art of photography.

1.2. The Photo Contest is organized by the Russian Geographical Society, the All-Russian Public Society (hereinafter referred to as the Society).

1.3. The organizer of the Photo Contest is the owner of the trademark MOST BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY (Certificate of trademark (service mark) No. 596181 registered in the Public Register of Trademarks and Service Marks of the Russian Federation on November 24, 2016).

1.4. The organizer of the Photo Contest shall:

1.4.1. Set the rules and terms of the Photo Contest.

1.4.2. Appoint the Expert Commission, the Jury and the Chairman of the Jury of the Photo Contest (hereinafter referred to as the Expert Commission, the Jury and the Chairman).

1.5. The Photo Contest runs from 19th of December, 2017. Works have been submitted starting this date.

1.6. The Photo Contest consists of three (3) stages:

- The 1st stage for submitting entries starts December 19, 2017and ends April 3, 2018.
- During the 2nd stage the Expert Commission will select best photos – from April 4, 2018 to May 16, 2018.
- The 3-d Final stage is a meeting of the Jury - May 29.

1.7. Results of the Photo Contest will be published at: photo.rgo.ru.

2. Themes and Categories

2.1. Works are submitted to the following categories:

2.1.1. SMALL INDIGENOUS PEOPLES OF RUSSIA (photographs reveal the identity of the peoples of Russia who have been able to preserve their distinctive identities, cultures, household traditions, handicrafts and centuries-old ties of generations with nature in the age of information and modern technologies);

2.1.2. RUSSIA IN PERSONS (ethnographic portrait of the peoples of Russia; large-scale portraits of people are also accepted);

2.1.3. LANDSCAPE (pictures showing the greatness and diversity of the Russian nature);

2.1.4. WILD ANIMALS (pictures of wild animals caught in unique moments of their life in their natural habitat);

2.1.5. BIRDS (pictures of wild birds showing their beauty, interaction with each other and the environment);

2.1.6. CAVES (photographs depicting the underworld and its inhabitants);

2.1.7. MACROWORLD (pictures that show the elegance and complexity of the world that can hardly be visible to the naked eye);

2.1.8. UNDERWATER WORLD (photos taken from underwater and showing the underwater world - its flora, fauna and landscapes, as well as unique underwater objects, shipwrecks, etc.);

2.1.9. RUSSIA IN THE BIRD'S-EYE VIEW (pictures with scenes from high in the sky: landscapes, animals, settlements, etc. Works submitted should not distort the real scene of what is happening);

2.1.10. CULTURAL HERITAGE (the aim of this category is to draw attention to the objects of material and spiritual culture of our country created by past generations and of value to contemporaries);

2.1.11. THOSE FUNNY ANIMALS (pictures of funny and unusual moments from the life of wild animals);

2.1.12. WORLD IN OUR HANDS (photos showing positive examples of interaction between humans and nature: people helping wild animals, saving forests from drought and fire, combating poaching, etc.).

2.2. In the Photo Contest there is a special prize for young participants – Best Young Photographer. Only photographers up to and including the age of 16 will be nominated for this prize. Young entrants may upload their photos to any category above. С

2.3. Each participant shall independently choose the category to submit photos to the Photo Contest. Each photo should be related to the theme of the chosen category.

3. Entry Rules

3.1 Participants in the Photo Contest (hereinafter referred to as Participants) shall register and submit their works on the website of the Photo Contest at photo.rgo.ru/en. Once the registration is completed, each Participant will receive a confirmation email.

3.2 During the registration each participant will receive a username (login) and password to access the account.

3.3 Once the registration is completed, each Participant will be able to upload photos.

3.4 Each participant may submit up to 25 photos.

3.5 Each participant shall independently choose the category for his work. But the chosen category may be changed if decided by the Expert Commission or Jury.

3.6 Photos must be uploaded no later than April 3, 2018. Until then each participant has the right to edit, replace and/or delete the previously uploaded works.

4. Admission to the Photo Contest

4.1. Each entrant must complete an application form to enter the Photo Contest, accept the rules and conditions of the Photo Contest and give permission to the Society to use the photos submitted to the Contest as provided by these Rules and Regulations.

4.2. Works may be admitted to the Photo Contest if they comply with requirements for photos and any other requirements established by these Rules and Regulations, and participants must be the copyright holders to submit the pictures.

5. Requirements for Photo Contest participants

5.1. The Photo Contest is open to any author (copyright holder) of photos submitted. The Photo Contest is open to photographers from any country, with no age limit.

5.2. Employees of the Executive Board of the Society, the Society’s management members as well as the Jury and Expert Commission members shall not participate in the Photo Contest.

5.3. Each participant in the Photo Contest is obliged to comply with the laws of the Russian Federation, the Photo Contest rules described in these Regulations and ethical treatment of nature, cultural monuments, animals and their habitat.

6. Code of Ethics

6.1. Participants in the Photo Contest must comply with the following ethical requirements:

6.1.1. photographs of animals in captivity or images created with live bait shall not be accepted;

6.1.2. photographers shall not violate the natural way of life of picture subjects in order to capture a necessary shot;

6.1.3. works shall not mislead viewers, mask or alter the real scene of nature and objects of culture;

6.1.4 participants in the Photo Contest should not take any actions that lead to damage of the wildlife, cultural monuments or change the natural way of life of animals;

6.2. For portrait photography categories photographers should provide a letter of release (a model's consent to publication and further use of a photograph by a photographer).

6.3. If the Organizer of the Photo Contest is not certain that the photo submitted to the Contest hasn’t been taken through the use of cruel, illegal or ethically incorrect methods, the photo will be excluded.

7.  Photos must meet the following specifications

7.1. Content of photos must comply with the themes and categories of the Photo Contest and pictures must be taken in the territory of the Russian Federation.

7.2. Each participant may submit a maximum of 25 pictures.

7.3. One and the same photo should not be submitted to several categories.

7.4. Photos that won any other Photo Contest or were marked by special awards in the period up to December 1, 2017 will not be accepted.

7.5. Photos with images of domestic animals (cats, dogs, pigeons, etc.) and domestic plants will not be accepted.

7.6. All pictures submitted to the Photo Contest must have accurate information (name/title given by a photographer, description of an object in the picture, species of an animal, bird or plant, whether it is listed in the Red Book or not, whether a bait was used or not and if yes which, a short story of the photograph, the place where it was taken, a letter pf release, as well as technical specifications (the camera used, lens, aperture, exposure, ISO, special equipment used).

7.7. Entries (photos) must be uploaded and submitted in digital format (scanned transparencies or high-resolution negatives are also accepted).

7.8. Pictures must be uploaded in JPEG format with high quality compression up to
1920 pixels on the long side.

7.9. The file name of the photo should include the following information: the Photo Contest category and photo name, for example, "birds_flying_goose.jpeg".

7.10. Neither pictures nor file names nor EXIF data must show the name of a photographer in order to ensure impartial expert and jury judgement. Photos must have the EXIF data (i.e. the camera used, lens, exposure, e-mail address, phone number, etc.). Entries must not have any author's dice, frames added, watermarks, paintings, etc.

7.11. It is permitted to edit photos unless editing does not distort the content of the picture. The following things are permitted: color, tone and contrast adjustment, adjustment of exposure, framing, sharpening, noise reduction, insignificant cleaning, HDR reduction. Stitched panoramas, focus-stacking with multiple exposures made from one point at the same time are permitted provided that they do not violate basic principles of the authenticity of photographic images and do not distort the real scene of nature. Participants should provide full information about any changes made to photos.

7.12. Cropping of no more than 15% of the original frame size is permitted.

7.13. The content of a picture must not be altered by adding, rearranging, reversing, distorting or removing people, animals and plants and other objects or their parts from within the frame.

7.14. Participants whose photos are selected for the third stage of the Photo Contest must provide their works in 8-bit TIFF format in their full resolution. Colors and composition of photos must match the original JPEG file entered for the Contest on the website (please do not zoom the images in). In order to ensure the authenticity of photos, participants must provide RAW files (.CR2, .NEF, .ORF, .PEF, etc.) or original unadjusted JPEG files, as well as originals of transparencies or negatives. DNG files are accepted only if they are the main RAW format of the camera used.

7.15. Works of unacceptable quality or works that cannot be authenticated will be excluded or disqualified.

8. Judging process. Selection of Winners. Prizes.

8.1. Works submitted to the Photo Contest are first reviewed by the Expert Commission members during the second stage of the project. The list of the Expert Commission members is published on the Photo Contest website.

Each Expert should review all photos of each category. Each photo is rated on a five-point scale.

8.2. The Expert Commission Members have the right to change assessment over the pre-selection period.

8.3. Then the site system will automatically select up to 100 works that received the maximum total number of points based on the results of the evaluation of all the members of the Expert Commission. Each participant whose work has been selected will be requested by the organizer of the Photo Contest to provide RAW files, full-size files, captions to photos (if necessary) and specifications of shooting.

8.4. Finalists will be selected from the photos with the maximum number of points by the Expert Commission members at a general meeting of the Commission held in the HQ of the Society in Moscow in the presence of the Chairman of the Jury. At the in-person meeting the Expert Commission will select the best 10 photos in each category by open voting. The information about top finalists in each category will be entered into the records of the Expert Commission meeting.

8.5. 8.Participants whose pictures are eligible for the final round are contacted and required to provide full-size files and other necessary shooting specifications.

8.6. Selected photos will undergo additional inspection for ensuring the authenticity and compliance with the Contest requirements (compliance with ethical standards, use of photo editors, etc.), check of experts - geographers, ethnographers, historians, culturologists, biologists, as well as technical expertise, and then they will receive the status of Photo Contest finalists. The organizer of the Photo Contest shall inform the authors of these works that they have got into the finals.

8.7. Final evaluation of works that have got into the finals will be contacted by the Jury. The Jury will sum up the results and announce the winners: one winner in each category.

8.8. Each Jury member chooses 3 (three) best works from finalists in each category. The counting commission will sum up the number of votes for each photo. The photo that will receive the maximum number of votes of the Jury will become the winner in the category. If several works receive an equal number of votes, additional voting will be conducted on them.

8.9. Based on the results of the work of the Jury and the counting commission, a protocol shall be made where one winner for each category will be defined.

8.10. Members of the Jury if agreed with the Chairman have the right to move photos that have got into the finals from one category to another.

8.11. Getting into the finals of the Photo Contest is not a necessary condition for displaying photos at exhibitions and publishing in the contest photo album.

8.12. Winners in each category of the Photo Contest will receive a cash prize of 250,000 (two hundred and fifty thousand) rubles, personal income tax included.

8.13. A nominee for a special prize - «THE BEST YOUNG PHOTOGRAPHER» - will receive a professional camera (Nikon D810 or Canon 5D Mark III or the like).

8.14 Finalists in each category of the Photo Contest will receive the Photo Contest finalist certificate.

8.15 Results of the Photo Contest will be published on the Photo Contest website at photo.rgo.ru/en.

9. License Agreement

9.1. Entering the Photo Contest each Entrant warrants that:

9.1.1. he/she is the copyright holder of the pictures submitted to the Photo Contest and has exclusive rights over them;

9.1.2. photographs neither violate the laws of the Russian Federation nor contain offensive information, as well as any information that doesn’t comply with moral principles and universally recognized values;

9.1.3. the content of photographs does not violate the rights of third parties;

9.1.4. if third parties dispute the right of the Society to use photographs through a judicial or other procedure, the participant must take part in the proceedings on the side of the Society and prove the legitimacy of the use of the photographs by the Society;

9.1.5. if the participant cannot prove the legitimacy of use and publication of photographs and the Society will be held liable, the participant is obliged to compensate to the Society the amount of all recoveries to be made from the Society to third parties, as well as other costs associated, within 10 (ten) calendar days from the moment the decision is taken by court and/or other body considering the dispute.

9.1.6. for portraits the participant shall receive a letter of release (a model's consent to publication and further use of a photograph by a photographer);

9.1.7. in case the Society receives claims regarding use of photos from the copyright and/or related rights holders, the participant shall resolve all the disputes at his/her own expense.

9.2. The copyright to the photos submitted to the Photo Contest is held by their authors.

9.3. By taking part in the Photo Contest, the participant grants the Society the right (a non-exclusive license) to use photos in any way provided by the Civil laws of the Russian Federation including:

- reproduction, including, but not limited to placing photographs in publications of the Society, in the Society's portfolio, photo albums, printed and electronic media, information and advertising booklets and souvenirs sold by the Society;
- distribution and sale of photograph copies by any means and in any form;
- public displays in any form including, but not limited to exhibitions held during the Photo Contest;
- editing by any existing means (editing, graphic design or musical arrangement, creation of any independent works);
- promoting to the public by any means, including on air, by cable;
- making public (in any form and by any means through the Internet, including social networks and all websites of the Society).

9.4. The Participant in the Photo Contest shall grant the Society the right to use the photographs in any ways provided for in section 9 («License Agreement») of these Regulations in all countries and territories over the world.

9.5. The Participant in the Photo Contest shall agree that the Society may create any independent works, including but not limited to any audiovisual works, animation, promo, image, information and advertising videos, as well as other intellectual property, based on the photos submitted to the Contest. At the same time the Society will have exclusive rights to new intellectual property, including the right to multiple (unlimited) use of this property, completely or partially (fragmentarily), paid or unpaid, without territory or time limits at its own discretion in any existing or potential ways that comply with the laws of the Russian Federation.

9.6. The Participant in the Photo Contest shall grant the Society the right to conclude sublicense agreements with third parties whether in return for payment or free within the limits of those rights granted to the Society in accordance with section 9 («License Agreement» ) of these Regulations. At the same time the Society has the right to independently determine the cost of sub-licenses and not to provide the participant with reports on use of photographs and concluded sub-license agreements.

9.7. The participant in the Photo Contest shall grant the Society the right to place his/her photos on souvenirs and other products sold by the Society.

9.8. By uploading photos to the Photo Contest website, participants in the Photo Contest give their consent to use their name and photographs submitted for the Photo Contest in the statutory purposes of the Society, as well as their consent to use photographs in any ways provided in section 9 («License Agreement» ) of these Regulations.

9.10. By uploading photos to the Photo Contest website, the participant in the Photo Contest agrees with all the terms and conditions of these Regulations, understands legalconsequences of non-performance of the terms of these Regulations, and understands and agrees with the volume of non-exclusive rights transferred to the Company in accordance with section 9 of these Regulations.

10. Final Clauses

10.1. The organizer of the Photo Contest acting as a tax agent shall withhold the amount of PIT from the specified amount of the cash prize and shall transfer it to the budget of the Russian Federation. 

10.2. By entering the Photo Contest (when registered on the website):

10.2.1. Each entrant accepts the rules and conditions, established by the Organizer, and agrees to the requirements of the Photo Contest.

10.2.2. Each entrant is obliged to meet all the requirements of the rules and conditions of the Photo Contest established by the Organizer.

10.2.3. Each entrant gives consent to storage and processing of his/her personal data in accordance with the laws of the Russian Federation on personal data.

10.2.4. Each participant agrees to ensure the Society with the right to use the photos submitted to the Photo Contest (uploaded to the website) as indicated in the statutes.

10.3. All decisions of the Expert Commission and Jury are final and not subject to any review.

10.4. The Organizer of the Photo Contest shall not explain the grounds and reasons for any decision of the Expert Commission and the Jury.

10.5. The Organizer is not liable for any non-performance or improper performance of its obligations resulting from failures in telecommunication and energy networks, actions of malicious programs, as well as the unfair actions of third parties aimed at unauthorized access and/or disabling of the Organizer's software and/or hardware.

10.6. The organizer of the Photo Contest reserves the right to modify the rules of the Photo Contest.