Woman Who Faked Snow Leopard Photos Stole Picture from French Photographer
Fake snow leopard photographer Kittiya Pawlowski has been decidedly outed after it was revealed that the images she claimed were hers were actually taken by a French wildlife photographer.
Alpine Mag has revealed that Pawlowski took Sylvain Cordier’s photos of snow leopards he shot in Mongolia and composited them into her own images before claiming that she took them.
Cordier tells PetaPixel that the “case is incredible.”
“The end result of Kittiya’s photos is very artistic. One cannot deny the creation but on the other hand, one must denounce the usurpation of the texts and the theft of the images in particular of mine for the panther seen at the closest,” he says.
“Almost everything is fake and theft is punishable.”
Cordier tells Apline Mag that he is almost completely certain that the photo is his.
“She has played about a bit with the spots. She’s taken the underside of my leopard’s belly and put it on the leopard on the left,” he says.
“In any case, seeing my photo next to hers, especially when I turn it, I’m 99.99% sure it’s mine.”
The photo was discovered on the stock photography website Hemis where it’s listed as being taken in the Altai mountains in Western Mongolia in 2019.
Hemis confirmed to Alpine Mag that Pawlowski did not license or request permission to use Cordier’s photo.
Earlier this month, Pawlowski insisted to PetaPixel that she did photograph snow leopards in the Himalayas.
“Yes, outside Gorak Shep (not in the village) about a one to two-hour walk northeastward,” she said when asked if she saw the elusive big cats with her own eyes.
Pawlowski has been issuing DMCA takedowns on Google claiming copyright ownership of the snow leopard images. Specifically, she has been targeting Alipine Mag which has done stellar work exposing her lies.
The French magazine, which focuses on mountaineering news, delved further into Pawlowski’s past and discovered that she has stolen other people’s work off before.
In 2020, she won the top prize in the Chromatic Awards “Culture” category for an image of a tree in Thailand that she apparently found on Shutterstock. Like the snow leopards, she mislabeled the location the original photo was taken in.
PetaPixel reached out to Pawlowski about these further allegations but she did not respond ahead of publication.
She has previously said that, “the story behind this series is true, all of the images are taken by me.” She went on to claim that a photographer reserves the right to manipulate their own images however they see fit.
“A photographer should be able to manipulate a photograph any way he/she wants without everyone going berserk,” she says.
“All magazines edit their models, changing their bone structure, skin, hair, teeth… why am I the only one that is required to provide RAW images when I’m not even a journalist?”
Based on this new information, it appears that she is unable to provide the RAWs because they belong to someone else.
“I hope that this will serve as a lesson for Kittiya or others who might be tempted to do the same thing,” adds Cordier.
Image credits: Photo by Sylvain Cordier/Hemis.