Wildlife Photographer of the Year disqualified

Discussion in 'Wildlife' started by Andy K, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. Andy K

    Andy K Member

    Messages:
    9,422
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2004
    Location:
    Sunny Southe
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  2. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

    Messages:
    6,930
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Location:
    Richmond VA.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I wonder how often this happens?

    Jeff
     
  3. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

    Messages:
    20,586
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hearkens to the too perfect photograph taken by a Chinese photographer a few years ago.

    Steve
     
  4. msdemanche

    msdemanche Member

    Messages:
    227
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Location:
    Princess Ann
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Wow, I thought too perfect was post shooting problems, now it sounds like even the "moment of capture" is manipulated. what a shame
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,946
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    There's a long history of ambiguity about what is appropriate in a nature image. Audubon shot (with a gun) hundreds of birds to find good specimens. This seems to be a case where a trained animal was used to stage the photograph.

    The ideal these days is that nature photos should show non-captive animals in the wild, doing things they do naturally.

    Images of captive animals should be labeled as such.

    There is some ambiguity about the ethics of baiting animals to get a good photograph, what constitutes baiting, and whether baiting in some cases (even when the bait is not in itself an unnatural part of the animal's diet) may be harmful to the animal by discouraging natural foraging patterns. I do some bird photography, and personally, I would never use bait to get a one-off shot, but I might take advantage of a well-maintained and monitored feeder at someplace like a National Wildlife Reserve.

    There is an aesthetic preference among many nature photographers not to show the "hand of man" in a nature image, but this is something I question, since part of the story of nature to be documented in our time is the interface between the natural environment and human encroachment on that environment.
     
  6. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,985
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2002
    Location:
    Wine country, N. Cal.
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Lucky Sarah Palin wasn't there or it would have looked more like this:
     

    Attached Files:

  7. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,420
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    northern Pa.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Even the great Marty Stauffer's reputation was tarnished when it was disclosed that he used body doubles for his nature films. It's a common practice to use posed models and tamed animals in staged settings in order to get the perfect shot.

    Rick
     
  8. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

    Messages:
    20,586
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Then the shot was not perfect!
     
  9. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

    Messages:
    5,682
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    A visual medium, right?
    So if it looks perfect, it is. :wink:


    This is a difficult thing, though.
    Suppose you manage to shoot the perfect shot. How would you be able to avoid an "too perfect" accusation?
    And how would it be possible to prove that a perfect shot isn't too perfect, how would it be possible to prove that this isn't a trained wolf?
     
  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,946
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    The accusers assert that it's a particular trained wolf named "Ossian" who is evidently known to people who know about the relatively few trained animals who are used in photo and movie shoots.

    If you photograph a lot of birds, it becomes easy to recognize likely shots of captive birds. For instance, if someone has three close flight shots and two close portraits of raptors all taken on the same day, then they were probably visiting a raptor rehabilitation center or a falconry exhibition. Someone like Frans Lanting has the resources, knowledge and personality to get fairly close to birds that are hard to get close to, so if some unknown photographer has a fantastic shot that would normally require building a tall scaffold in the rainforest, then it tends to raise questions.
     
  11. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

    Messages:
    5,682
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The photographer denies that it is a trained wolf. What can he do to show he's right, the accusation wrong?
    It's extremely hard, nigh impossible to prove that something is not the case (which is why conspiracy theories are so abundant and hard lived.)
    Suppose he produces Ossian, compares that wolf to the one in the photo, and demonstrates thus that it isn't. Isn't proof that it isn't a (different) trained wolf anyway. (Nor, i'm sure many will argue, that it isn't Ossian. Why, it could be Ossian in disguise! :wink:)
     
  12. Ian David

    Ian David Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,079
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Location:
    Brisbane, Au
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The burden of proof would normally work the other way around. Not being privy to all the information, I imagine that the panel has some evidential basis (beyond a hunch) for thinking that this wolf is not the real deal (a sheep in wolf's clothing?)
    It would be very unlikely that they simply said to the photographer, "we think your shot is staged because it looks too perfect - prove that it isn't". More likely they have some strong specific evidence (eg receipts from Hire-A-Wolf) that has not been revealed in the story. The photographer then presumably failed to provide a convincing explanation.

    Ian
     
  13. Andy K

    Andy K Member

    Messages:
    9,422
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2004
    Location:
    Sunny Southe
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

    Messages:
    5,682
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    So they indeed simply said "It is Ossian - prove that it isn't."

    The more disturbing bit is why they thought they had to look into this in the first place. It looked too perfect to be true. They gathered evidence to prove that it is.
    Whether they are wrong, or right: disturbing.
     
  16. Ian David

    Ian David Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,079
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Location:
    Brisbane, Au
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Which is also what they would have said if the wolf in the photo had been wearing a dog tag around his neck that said "Ossian". Depending upon the strength of the evidence that the wolf was in fact Ossian, it is a reasonable approach.
     
  17. Ian David

    Ian David Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,079
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Location:
    Brisbane, Au
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    More likely, other disgruntled competitors said to the organisers, "hey, that wolf sure looks like the wolf-for-hire down at the winner's local zoo". They would then have been obligated to look into it...
     
  18. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

    Messages:
    5,682
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Based on the evidence they have that it is Ossian, yes. Perhaps.
    Suppose though that all they know is that some people think it could be Ossian (which appears to be all they have). Suppose too that that also implies the accusation that the photographer was (and will be) trying to hide the fact, and thus will not be telling the truth whatever he says in defence, unless he admits (admitting it would concur with the 'evidence' the jury base their case on, so that would clearly not be a lie, would it?).
    How to disprove that?

    Do they all know that wolf-for-hire that well themselves (and if so: why? :wink:)?
    But why did they come up with such an objection? They needed something to latch on to, and i think they found it in the "that looks to good to be true" thing.
     
  19. Ross Chambers

    Ross Chambers Member

    Messages:
    703
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2004
    Location:
    Blue Mountai
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  20. Ian David

    Ian David Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,079
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Location:
    Brisbane, Au
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Who knows? We only have a sketchy news report to go on.
    I assume that it is a source of embarrassment to the organisers to pull the award, so they presumably think they have good reason to do it.
     
  21. mike c

    mike c Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,281
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2009
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Real nice capture on film,did not read what the photographer gave as defense .
     
  22. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

    Messages:
    1,148
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2004
    Location:
    Near Tavisto
    Shooter:
    35mm
    If this wolf can be hired for photographic purposes, surely it shouldn't be too hard to establish the wolf's movements around the time the photo was taken, as money must have changed hands?

    Steve
     
  23. hoffy

    hoffy Member

    Messages:
    2,332
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    Location:
    Adelaide, Au
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    What I don't like are the words "probably" and "likely" when it comes to the judgment. Doesn't sound beyond a reasonable doubt.
     
  24. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    5,888
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Threads merged.
     
  25. DLawson

    DLawson Member

    Messages:
    324
    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    Shooter:
    35mm
    When you take a picture and spread it across the international media, it gets seen by all sorts. Some of those sorts include fans of wolf photography, whether wild or captive. If the wolf is distinctive, that drastically raises the odds of recognition.

    I've only seen one of the comparison pictures, and have to admit to being unfamiliar with how distinct wolf faces are.
     
  26. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,813
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    Location:
    Elk, Califor
    Shooter:
    Plastic Cameras