I've been thinking about this question for about two weeks now because it's under my skin. Why do people in general, think that photographers will work for free, as if their skills aren't really skills and has no value? This question comes after I read the fine print, and I think everyone should read the fine print, especially for photography contests, that included the language in perpetuity which means forever!
If this contest thought so little of the winner, why not take out their cell phone, and snap their own pictures, and be done with it? Their images would be free and theirs forever. Contests are used as promotional tools, often promising exposure "?", with a small or no financial reward. Why would any creative agree to keep their copyright and in the same breath allow the contest to use their image forever?
I thought then, and I still do, what arrogance! I get that photography is accessible, and that most people can snap a picture in seconds, but so is cooking. It's doubtful that patrons show up at a restaurant and expect to eat their professionally prepared meal for free. I make coffee daily but I know that a cup of coffee at Starbucks has a price. When one rents a car it isn't forever, it's for an agreed amount of time, for an agreed amount of money, and returned.
At the end of the day the only real and ultimately bitter prize in perpetuity affords will be bragging rights which can be obtained daily on Instagram anytime the creative is given a shout-out by another creative, their mates, or a film manufacturer. Take the time to to read the fine print. The film, the processing, and the creativity behind the images has real value.