I remember my first encounter with a fat wolf. I was researching stock images of wolves for a story we were running in Outside Magazine and I could find nothing I liked. All the wolves from the specific location in the story looked like mangy old flea-bitten dogs. It wasn’t until I widened my search to include any wolf photo available as stock did I discover healthy, strong, wolf looking wolves. Upon further inspection I learned that these were captive wolves (who apparently are well fed).
If you haven’t heard the recent uproar about Spanish wildlife photographer Jose Luis Rodriguez being awarded first place (here) in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest run by the British Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine then being stripped of the award (here) after people called into question the authenticity of the wolf in his winning image (here).
I quickly lost all interest in the controversy when I read this (here):
“José Luis started by placing meat in the corral.”
Great wildlife photography for me is equal parts photography and sport. If baiting the animals is acceptable to the judges who cares if it was captive or wild?
I like what photographer Bob Keefer has to say (here) about the whole kerfuffle:
But the weirdest thing is, the winning photograph is awful. Whether “real” or staged, it’s utterly cheesy, the kind of demented nature porn that has come to dominate the nature photography market around the world. Who cares if it’s a picture of Ossian? It’s boring, overwrought and melodramatic. The judges knew this when they picked it, referring to its “fairy tale” qualities.
The judges should be fired, both for choosing the photograph in the first place and then for their handling of the complaints about it.
Someone online obviously felt the same way. Why stop with one jumping wolf when you can have 3 and a full moon to boot (UPDATE: obviously an homage to the three wolf moon t-shirt phenomenon that went completely over my head – ape):