PetaPixel

Photographer Cries Wolf? Contest-Winning Shot Allegedly Staged

Spanish photographer José Luis Rodriguez recently received the prestigious winning title as the Veolia Environment Wildlife photographer of the year, along with £10,000 (about $20,000 $16,000) in prize money for his image, Storybook Wolf.  The photograph depicts a rare, Iberian wolf hopping a fence to enter a corral where the photographer had placed meat to attract the animal.

However, rival photographers along with a wolf expert allege that the shot was set up, suggesting that the wolf would not naturally jump over the fence, but would be more likely to squeeze through the openings.  Additionally, they allege that Rodriguez may have used a captive, tame wolf from a zoological park near Madrid, and trained the animal to hop the fence until he got the shot.

The contest prohibits use of a captive animal unless specified in the description, and the judges noted they would give preference to photos of natural wild animals.

The description that ran with photographer Rodriguez’s image explain the painstaking efforts he made to get the shot, baiting the wolf with meat, camping out and anticipating its entry into the corral.

Now, the photographer not only has prize money and the winning title at stake, but now his reputation as a photographer is on the line as judges decide the image authenticity during the next few weeks. However, the Guardian quotes contest judge Rosamund Kidman Cox, who said,

But until one bit of evidence can be verified I don’t think it’s possible to accuse the photographer of cheating. [...] It’s not 100%.

(via The Guardian)


Image credit: Storybook Wolf by José Luis Rodriguez


 
  • http://jasoncollinphotography.com/ Jason Collin Photography

    To me the shot should be disqualified as soon as it was determined the photographer used bait. What is wild about that?

    The roof of my neighbor's house always has 2 or 3 wood storks on it, several great blue herons walking around, and numerous great egrets…it's because she feeds them! If I photographed them I would not consider it a wildlife shot anymore than a shot of pigeons eating bread crumbs in the park.

  • Dave K

    Without any evidence even bringing this up is a bit of an accusation isn't it ol' PetaPixel?

    I think that PetaPixel is actually a werewolf, why haven't you been able to prove you're not! Let's all make blog posts exploring this idea!

  • http://www.petapixel.com Michael Zhang

    We're not accusing him or anything, but just reporting what is being reported. =)

  • http://citynoise.org/author/guy_mclaren Guy McLaren

    The shot is good, Even if it is a trained dog. But I agree that if its a trained wolf then it is no longer wildlife. A zoo animal is not wildlife at all

  • QuBe

    Fake.
    The openings in the gate are large enough for the animal to go through.
    Critters don't waste energy leaping when they can walk or crawl through an obstacle…at least not any of the wild wolves or coyotes I've ever seen.

  • QuBe

    Fake.
    The openings in the gate are large enough for the animal to go through.
    Critters don't waste energy leaping when they can walk or crawl through an obstacle…at least not any of the wild wolves or coyotes I've ever seen.

  • lepkirk

    Since when is £1=$2?! I wish! :)

  • http://www.petapixel.com Michael Zhang

    Oops. Thanks for catching this. We've fixed it.

  • mastacoupe

    When I first saw this shot a couple of weeks ago and read the accompanying write up I was a bit incredulous that the chap had camped out and the like, but it's still a great shot.

  • tammylynwilson

    If the animal was trained, then no, it shouldn't be considered wildlife. But I don't see how baiting would make a difference. If all he did was use bait, that doesn't change the fact that the animal is wild. It simply increased his chances at getting the shot.

  • JeromeShaw

    I have to agree with DaveK that publishing this accusation without any factual proof is lending credibility to an unfounded accusation. And, posturing that “We're just passing along what is being reported in the news.” sounds very much like gossip.

    I notice you've cropped out the photographers copyright credit does this mean you don't have permission to publish the photo?

    In any case it is a noteworthy image.

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  • robmarc77

    You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes (or expert photographer) to see the photo is plainly and obviously a complete fake!! Why didn't he stick some fairies in the picture as well!?