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View Full Version : Wildlife Photographer of the Year disqualified



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Andy K
01-20-2010, 07:36 AM
Photograph 'too perfect' says panel:

http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/bbc-wildlife-photo010.html#cr

Jeff Kubach
01-20-2010, 07:44 AM
I wonder how often this happens?

Jeff

Sirius Glass
01-20-2010, 08:23 AM
Hearkens to the too perfect photograph taken by a Chinese photographer a few years ago.

Steve

msdemanche
01-20-2010, 08:34 AM
Wow, I thought too perfect was post shooting problems, now it sounds like even the "moment of capture" is manipulated. what a shame

David A. Goldfarb
01-20-2010, 08:58 AM
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.

blansky
01-20-2010, 09:38 AM
Lucky Sarah Palin wasn't there or it would have looked more like this:

Rick A
01-20-2010, 09:42 AM
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

Sirius Glass
01-20-2010, 10:12 AM
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

Then the shot was not perfect!

Q.G.
01-20-2010, 10:30 AM
A visual medium, right?
So if it looks perfect, it is. ;)


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?

David A. Goldfarb
01-20-2010, 10:53 AM
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.

Q.G.
01-20-2010, 01:25 PM
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! ;))

Ian David
01-20-2010, 03:19 PM
The photographer denies that it is a trained wolf. What can he do to show he's right, the accusation wrong?


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

Andy K
01-20-2010, 04:09 PM
More: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8470962.stm

Q.G.
01-20-2010, 04:36 PM
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.

Ian David
01-20-2010, 04:41 PM
So they indeed simply said "It is Ossian - prove that it isn't."

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.

Ian David
01-20-2010, 04:43 PM
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.

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...

Q.G.
01-21-2010, 12:46 AM
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...

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?


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...

Do they all know that wolf-for-hire that well themselves (and if so: why? ;))?
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.

Ross Chambers
01-21-2010, 12:59 AM
Banned for life

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8470962.stm

Ian David
01-21-2010, 01:25 AM
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.

mike c
01-21-2010, 02:27 AM
Real nice capture on film,did not read what the photographer gave as defense .