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Wildlife photography? No no, this is deception.

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by davidlloyd, May 15, 2010.

  1. davidlloyd

    davidlloyd Member

    Hello all,

    Wildlife photography? No, this is deception. It's a travesty or more than one front really.

    (If this has already been posted, then I apologise.)

    If you haven't seen it already, this story is doing the rounds in the papers this week. I think that the 'photographer' or newspapers, or syndicate should be ashamed of themselves.

    Just some links to that one story:



  2. turbulentwheat

    turbulentwheat Well-Known Member

    It's true he can't be called a wildlife photographer and it's not true nature photography. Some of the shots however are impressive for their quality but should be called captive animals in images or something like that. Maybe he should go off on a real wildlife trek and put his skills to use more honestly then people can properly judge his bravery and the quality of his work.
  3. huwevans

    huwevans Not Really Here

    From that Daily Mail article:

    Seems clear enough, TBH. I'm not sure what the problem is - there's no deception, as far as I can see. Even in enclosed reserves, a tiger is still a tiger, a bear is still a bear, etc. And the pictures are what they are - the subjects speak for themselves.
  4. Larry Shone

    Larry Shone Well-Known Member

    Hmm, some really good photos but its not wildlife photography is it! I mean its still impressive to get that close to a tiger, panther,lion etc, but a lion, in snow? Just looks wrong and looks obviously not wild!
  5. davidlloyd

    davidlloyd Member

    Sure, but the Metro tells none of this. The Metro implies wildlife photography, not of captive animals. Still, even regarding the Mail story, it's still photographs of animals trained for photography and film making. It's still an embellished story in my view.
  6. huwevans

    huwevans Not Really Here

    Hmmm, well - tigers and African lions in Montana? Unless the average IQ of Metro readers is down in single figures (well, maybe it is - I wouldn't know ;)), I don't think there's really any intent to deceive there.

    No mention of training - it does say,

    But that's part and parcel of wildlife photography and film-making, and has been since Eric Hosking was in short trousers. Professional wildlife photographers rig up all manner of elaborate situations, often including entire sets, and using all sorts of animals, including sometimes genuinely trained and tame individuals, in order to produce a convincing semblance of something truly wild. This just appears to be animals living in controlled ranges, but otherwise fending for themselves as wild-living creatures normally do. Well, that's all I can deduce from the available information, anyway.

    Well, that's the media for you - really I wouldn't let it bother you. Wildlife photographers using animals in reserves is pretty much standard fare. The only things that bother me (slightly) about these images are firstly that some of the animals are obviously misplaced in terms of the habitat, and secondly that they demonstrate one of the things that has always bugged me about wildlife photography, which is that all too often the photographic aspects - things like lighting, composition, etc. - aren't that great, and merely getting close to the subject seems to be deemed sufficient.

    Anyway, one final point - I'm reminded of the recent kerfuffle over the BBC/NHM WPOTY 'winner'. And were these images deceitfully entered for something like that, with its rules on the declaration of captive animals, then by all means I would agree with you - it's wrong. But as it is, if it's just some newspapers showing their readers some dramatic close-up pictures of some pretty fearsome large predators, then, really, what's the problem?
  7. AndyTake2

    AndyTake2 Well-Known Member

    What beats me is that it really isn't worth trying to pass these off as anything other than what they are.

    I've got some cracking shots of wild beasties that are ...well, not wild.
    Zoos, wildlife parks can provide some great picture opportunities, and rather than try to bluff it that I was in the wild hillsides of the Congo or wherever, I, like everyone else here tell people where they were taken.

    It doesn't mean they're any less of a photo, but trying to pass them off as anything else would be ..well, just plain wrong.
  8. davidlloyd

    davidlloyd Member

    Huw, it's this:

    There's more to this story than you realise.

    The Metro story makes out the photos are of wild animals taken in the wild. There's no mention of trained animals released from their enclosures to pose for pictures for photographic parties who pay for the privilege. The implication also was that he was on his own. The photographer was also quoted: "I did not know what to expect – and they are very wild animals."

    Well, they are trained you know, not really that wild.

    But that's what they do in Montana. That's the industry. Thats what an awful lot of people are aware of (except perhaps yourself).

    Granted the other papers make mention of wildlife reserves, etc.

    Metro embellished the story for sensationalism, and implied that something occurred that didn't. That's appalling journalism, I believe.

    And that's apart from the morality of keeping such animals for these purposes, but I guess that's another story.
  9. TheFatControlleR

    TheFatControlleR :Devil's Advocaat: Forum Admin

    And that's where your ire should be directed, surely... :D
  10. davidlloyd

    davidlloyd Member

    And indeed it is.
  11. huwevans

    huwevans Not Really Here

    Well, perhaps you should present links that deal with that, rather than just the three you gave - are we supposed to be clairvoyant?

    Like I said - tigers and African lions in Montana? And leopards, for that matter. Just how ignorant are Metro readers?

    Well, TBH, I still can't help feeling you're making an awful lot of fuss about something of almost no importance whatsoever.
  12. davidlloyd

    davidlloyd Member


    I'm not really making any fuss. I just posted a reference to an article with an opinion and responded politely to your comments.

    If it's not important as you say, then I would have thought you'd let this go easily, but you do appear very defensive of this subject.
  13. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    If we go by the definition of Wildlife it is all non-domesticated plants, animals and other organisms.

    Therefore the lion although not in it's natural living space is still a wildlife animal.

    Did he put life at risk? To a certain level, yes.

    I have read that even the best trained wild animals like these predators can turn on the owners. He is not their trainer or keeper. I bet he had to sign a waiver that if any animal on the reserve did hurt him he would not sue.

    The only story that mentions wildlife is the Telegraph.
    So all the fact in the story are accurate and true. Therefore logically no deception has occurred.

    From a artist point of view they are very nice shots. Would I take them? NO. Because you never know with another lifeform what it is going to do.

    Finally I am fairly sure if they opened the lion enclosure at London Zoo and let them out we would all be running. Unless you think they are just big pussycats that you can stroke without a problem like in Born Free. :)
  14. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    In a way I agree with you David, natural history photography is about undisturbed subjects in a habitat of their own choosing doing whatever it is they do there.

    I never read the text but enjoyed the pictures all the same. They're clearly set ups.

    Pictures of insects flying are often done in lab-like conditions in order to show the world just how impressive something is. There's plenty scope to learn from these shots too...just enjoy them for what they are; spectacular and an achievement :cool:
  15. davidlloyd

    davidlloyd Member

    Some fair points, P_Stoddart, but the Metro make several references to wild animals: " wild beasts of Montana", "...and they are very wild animals", "...spending time at the zoo inspired him to take pictures of powerful predators in the wild".

    All of this strongly implies wildlife (not captive wild animals, if you like), particularly when no reference is made to trained animals or reserves.

    Of course we know there are no wild lions or tigers in Montana, but you'd be surprised what people believe what they read.

    I still believe deception can occur due to lack of a complete story.
  16. Jim Moriarty

    Jim Moriarty Well-Known Member

    Hardly life-threatening disinformation though, is it.

    It's a free rag, not National Geographic.

  17. Atavar

    Atavar Well-Known Member

    And as such it gets millions more readers. Metro circulation - 1.35 million. Of those copies many are read two, three or four times over on the national transportation network. I'd say readership is three or four million, maybe more. These are figures papers and magazines could only dream of.
    As for the Nat.Geographic getting a higher number of 'educated' readers over half of the metros commuter audiance are ABC1 on the sociodemographic scale.

    Perspective? ;)
  18. spinno

    spinno Well-Known Member

    not very good on some of the photos..... :D :D
  19. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    Photographs are photographs.
    You have to state the purpose of them to be able to decide if for that purpose they are valid or not.

    Even pictures of wild life in its natural habitat is often taken with tricks and subterfuge that some would consider inappropriate.

    It is perhaps the norm for extreme close ups of insects and other very small animals, to be collected in the wild and photographed in more controlled conditions.

    Zoos and parks are perfectly legitimate locations for photography of captive wildlife.
  20. Overread

    Overread Well-Known Member

    *adds fuel to the fire*
    if a camera is tripped using a remote wire/laser/sensor is the resulting image considered to the photographers own work - ie theri wildlife photo - or is the image just an image and not infact a photograph because a human did not press the shutter button?

    Also the shots he took, if taken close up, would indeed be dangerous - especailly for a stranger to these animals. A tiger or other big cat can kill a human with nothing more than a cuff to the head with a paw - the tiger might not intend to kill, but the big size and strength difference between humans and them leaves the human greatly lacking.

    As for if this is wildlife photography first you have to set a clear definiation for what wildife photography is and then measure this case to that. And wildlife photography for many of us has quite a broad scope of definiations - especailly when we get down into specific cases. Consider that many african shots are labled as wild but the animals are still enclosed (in massive parks ,but still enclosed by human construction).

    Myself I see an article that is drummed up and a photographer who has not tried to lie about what nor how he took the photos. So there is no lie occuring, just a few cheap newspapers embelashing and glossing over details for a bit of drama and also showing the photographers work. I can also agree that there are many photographers in this line who don't show fantastic control over lighting and other aspects and do just "get close" - the BBC wildlife shot of the year with the wolf is a great example of this - as a wild shot it stands up, as a tame shot I'd expect better lighting ;)

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