Wildlife Photographer of the Year disqualified
Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.
I wonder how often this happens?
Wow, I thought too perfect was post shooting problems, now it sounds like even the "moment of capture" is manipulated. what a shame
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.
Lucky Sarah Palin wasn't there or it would have looked more like this:
I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.
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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.
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?
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.
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! )
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?)
Originally Posted by Q.G.
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.